Matthew 22:34-46: More Than a Question
March 5, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees get their heads together and decide to try a different tactic (22:34). They’ll test him on some of the more fundamental and essential aspects of the Law—what is the greatest commandment (22:36)—and they send another representative to do the testing for them (22:35). The righteous are as brave as a lion, but the wicked cower behind others to do their dirty work for them. Jesus, as ever, answers brilliantly. The Law—not the Bible, note, as this passage is often thought to say—the Law and the Prophets are summarized by a vertical love to God first, and then a horizontal love to each other (22:37-40).
Having finally stymied every question that they could think of throwing at him, Jesus now turns the tables and asks them a question (22:41-42). This question is not a trick question (like theirs were), but in Socratic method mode the question is designed to help them come to the truth—the truth about who Jesus is. He asks them about the Messiah, whose son he is. They give the traditional, and in one sense correct, answer: he is the son of David (22:42). Jesus then has a stunning comeback, another question, quoting from Psalm 110: how is it, then, that David calls his son the Lord (22:43-45)? Within their theoretical, theological framework there was no room for a son of David who was also Lord and God—and yet that is exactly who Jesus is.
After that, they dare not ask him any more questions (22:46).
There is a time for asking questions, especially when they are genuine. Unless we ask good questions, we cannot find good solutions. There is a place for such inquiring, if we do not want to be faithlessly inquisitional, but even the best of questions meet their match in the Divine Answer that is Jesus. Before him, there comes a point when not only are all questions answered, but we see him as The Answer and bow before him in awe.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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