Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Matthew 22 - Final Confrontations and the Greatest Commandment

LINK: Matthew 22


BACKGROUND

Tuesday Morning of Holy Week


192. Wedding dinner: Matthew 22:1-14

The parable of the wedding feast is the third parable in response to the religious leaders and is only recorded in Matthew. In this culture, there were usually two invitations. This time, the king made three invitations, and the guests still rejected them and even killed some of his messengers! So, the king invited a broader group from off the street. He even provided the proper wedding clothes for these outsiders, but one person failed to wear what was given to him. That would have been a great insult to the host.  

Jesus was pointing to the nation's rejection of Him. His teaching had, for the most part, been rejected. The invitation for salvation has been extended beyond Israel, and individuals must choose to accept the "garment of righteousness" (Psalm 132:16; Isaiah 61:10; Zechariah 3:3-5; Revelation 3:4, 5; 19:7, 8)  that is freely given in order to enter the King's banquet of eternal life. 

Religious leaders question Jesus about . . . 

193. Paying taxes: Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26

Like the Sadducees and Pharisees in Matthew 16, these lifelong enemies united against their common enemy: Jesus. The Pharisees were purists who opposed Roman rule, and the Herodians were those who supported the rule of Herod the Great and favored change dictated by Rome. They knew if Jesus answered that it was good to pay taxes to Rome, most of the Jews would consider Him a traitor. If He said they should not be paid, He would be trapped as a rebel against Rome. He solved the dispute by saying that we have "dual citizenship" (1 Peter 2:17) by being a citizen under an authority on earth and a citizen of heaven which requires obedience and commitment to God.  He was saying that we all have political and spiritual responsibilities. He is so smart!!!

194. The Resurrection: Matthew 22:23-33, Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:27-40

The Sadducees were considered the religious liberals because they did not believe in the resurrection or angels or spirits (Acts 23:8). So, of course, they would try to trap Him in a question about the resurrection, but Jesus knew that they did not know the Scriptures because it taught of the resurrection and that God had the power to bring people back to life. Since the Sadducees believed only in the Pentateuch, He used Exodus 3:6 implying that their patriarchs are alive with God. 

195. The Greatest Commandment: Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34

The Pharisees had over 600 laws and were constantly trying to classify which ones were more important. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 and said all the rest would be fulfilled if they followed these two. 

Mark's gospel adds that loving the Lord with everything and loving one's neighbor as himself are more important than "all burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33). A love relationship with God that overflows with love for people is more important than ritualistic rules. We learned that in quite a few instances in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 21:3; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8). Mark also adds that Jesus said "You are not far from the kingdom of God" (Mark 12:34) if you understand the love dynamic.  

196. Religious leaders cannot answer Jesus' question: Matthew 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-37, Luke 20:41-44

He had silenced His interrogators. Now, He would question them by asking who they thought the Messiah (Christ) was.  Quickly they replied, "the Son of David." Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 to show that the Messiah would be greater than David. They did not understand He would be God. 

The Mark account adds that the "great crowd enjoyed listening to Him" (Mark 12:37). The Matthew account adds that "no one dared to ask Him any more questions" (Matthew 22:46).  Jesus had silenced all challenges from the different groups of religious leaders: the chief priests and elders (Matthew 21:23-27), the Pharisees and Herodians together (Matthew 22:15-22), the Sadducees (Matthew 22:23-33), and the Pharisees (Matthew 22:34-36).

REFLECTION


Just this morning, Jennifer and I prayed through the two greatest commandments in the Law:


First,


"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."


Second,

"Love your neighbor as yourself."


All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.


Really soak in and pray through these verses today. How can you grow as a result?


PRAYER


Lord, help us to love You with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbor. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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