Cutting to the Chase – Matthew 22:15-46

April 1, 2012
INTRODUCTION – Jesus has been speaking alot about the kingdom, and specifically about the authority of the King in this new kingdom He came to establish. Much of His teaching in these last chapters has been in response to a growing resistance movement against the King of Kings and His new kingdom – led by the religious leaders of Jesus’s Day.

You see these leaders – the Pharisees and Scribes – had developed a religious system over time that had guaranteed for them a very comfortable lifestyle, and a level of control over the masses. And all of this was being challenged because the kingdom of God was based on truth and righteousness; whereas the religious system these men had built was based on deception and lies and man made rules and traditions.
One thing we know for sure about these guys – they wanted to do away with Jesus as soon as they possibly could pull it off. Getting Him to say some things that could incriminate Him would really help their cause – or so they thought.

As we close out chapter 22 today, we are going to encounter 3 trap questions by different religious leaders; and then the chapter closes with a penetrating question by Jesus to these leaders.

While hopefully no one in this room is part of the resistance movement against the King of Kings and His glorious kingdom; there are some helpful lessons to learn from these interactions.

I. God & Government; The Government of God and the Government of man (vs. 15-22)
Because Jesus had never done anything that could incriminate Him; his enemies were hoping to trap him in something He said.

This cooperation of Pharisees and Herodians was somewhat historic; their long time dislike of one another paled in significance to their hatred of Jesus. Strange bedfellows for sure, but desperate times require desperate measures I guess.

A. The flattering introduction to the testy question: vs. 16b

B. The question: vs. 17 “tell us then, what do You think?” . Philosophers and religious leaders and talk show hosts love to tell people “what they think”. Jesus straightforwardly proclaimed the truth or the word of the Lord. He never needed to be heard. He just had to speak when God told Him to speak.

C. Jesus ignored their flattery and saw the true state of their hearts = malice: vs. 18

D. He called them hypocrites because while they told Him that He was “truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one” they were totally rejecting Him and His message and still looking for an opportunity and way to kill Him. (vs. 18) They were like those that David wrote of in Psalm 55, where he said, “His speech was smoother than butter, But his heart was war; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.”

E. Notice how Jesus switched verbs: They used “give” vs. 17; He used “render” vs. 21. This word translated “give” in the greek has the idea of a gift which might be withheld; the word translated “render” in the greek has the idea of the payment of a rightful due – something that is owed.

F. The answer: dual citizenship & thus dual responsibility. Even though Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and His kingdom broke into human history and civilization during His earthly life and ministry; and even though when we are born again by the Spirit of God – we enter into this kingdom, He still expects us to be responsible citizens of this earthly kingdom He has planted us in.

G. The kingdom of God isn’t limited by earthly governments; and Jesus never meant for it to supplant earthly governments.

H. We are to fulfill our responsibilities to both kingdoms.

I. Never think that your devotion to Christ and commitment to His kingdom gives you any leeway with your obligations to the gov’t or to the IRS. Caesar was not a godly or upright leader by any stretch of the imagination; but Jesus fully expected His disciples to fulfill their legal obligations to him. Peter in his first epistle says in ch. 2:13-17 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

J. Now Peter also – as we have seen in the book of Acts – at times refused to obey the authorities when their commands were in clear violation of God’s commands. More and more Christian leaders today are coming to grips with the fact that If the Supreme Court were to ratify Obamacare; and if President Obama were to be re-elected – – then when it comes to paying for someone else to have an abortion – – disciples of Jesus Christ –will have some tough decisions to make in this regard. And that’s one reason why Paul says we are to pray regularly for kings and all those in authority according to I Tim. 2:1f. so that we can lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

K. Pray for president and supreme court

II. Marriage in heaven; Life in heaven; Resurrection Realities – vs. 23-33

A. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection, nor angels or spirits, (Acts 23:8) They were the religious liberals of their day
Vs. 24 is from Deut. 25:5-10

B. The Sadducees were sad indeed thinking they could trick Jesus.
No argument or hypothetical situation can defuse or derail the truth. They were trying to make the resurrection look ridiculous and untenable.

C. Jesus rebuked them for 2 things in vs. 29: a. not understanding the scriptures they had read many times; b. developing their theology out of a very weak view of God. If you see God like He truly is – – what’s the big deal about believing He can resurrect our bodies?

D. As to the marriage question – – there will be no need for marriage in heaven for several reasons: 1. No need for procreation; 2. No need for companionship. We are all the bride and we have a new groom that promises to be to us way beyond what any human spouse could be.. 3. No need to express or demonstrate the oneness or likeness of God before a lost world

E. As to the resurrection question, which they didn’t ask, God’s very name – repeated in scripture – should have tipped them off that there must be a resurrection of the dead. Why would He want to be called the God of people who are dead? Not “I was”, but “I am” “spoken to you by God” (vs. 31) first spoken to Moses, but preserved in scripture for us. This is the way He chose to introduce Himself!

F. The crowds were astonished; the Sadducees were embarrassed

G. Pray

III. The Greatest Commandments or Expectations from God – vs. 34-40
A. Third test – this time from a Pharisee who was also a lawyer – which commandment in the law is the greatest/most important?

B. No rebuke in this reply; Mark’s account lets us in on the fact that this man was somewhat tender compared to the others

C. Jesus’s answer from Deut. 6:5 – Love God – vs. 37,38

D. Jesus went on and added the 2nd greatest one from Lev. 19:18

E. Jesus concluded that the whole law and prophets hang or depend on or revolve around these two commandments vs. 40

F. Several thoughts on this:
1. If the greatest commandment is to love God; then the greatest sin is not obeying this commandment. Very few people in our society or even in the church see this clearly.

2. If we are not making this commandment our highest priority, we will never be able to love our neighbors as we ought. Put more positively: The more we grow in our love for and relationship with God – – the more we will grow in our ability and commitment to love every person God brings us into contact with. Because as we get closer to God, He imparts His heart to us for others. Perhaps we could say, one of the best barometers of our intimacy and love for God is our love for our neighbors

3. This highest expectation and command of God needs to weave into our interactions with the lost more. My conv. with person in our region I’ve known for a long time. His hobby re: his sense of not doing enough good.

G. Pray

IV. The Deity of Christ – vs. 41-46
A. Since the Pharisees were still gathered – Jesus asked them a question

B. Whose son is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One?

C. They responded – Son of David; we’ve seen this title used a couple of times already in the gospel of Matthew. For sure Jesus did come through David’s line. But the Messiah would be far more than David’s son.

D. Jesus then challenged them – then how does David “in the Spirit” call him Lord? Vs. 43 reality of divine inspiration of scripture

E. Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1 in vs. 43
Both occurences of “Lord” in this verse are translated from the Hebrew adonay, which is used only of God.

F. Would David call his son Lord? “The Messiah though of Davidic ascent, was also of divine origin.”

G. Everyone was stumped and silenced after this

H. Most people who do not know the Lord, want to talk about all kinds of random issues. Jesus brings the discussion back around to the main one: Who He is! We need to do the same.

CONCLUSION – pray

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