Monday, May 4

Questioning Jesus

Scripture: 2 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles 20, Psalm 20, Matthew 22

Observation

All of Matthew 22, after the opening parable, is a series of questions put to Jesus by His opponents, and a final question that Jesus puts to them.  They asked their questions to test or trap Jesus (v. 15, 35). Each time they were hoping Jesus’ answer would bring Him into conflict with the governing authorities or the people—or both.  But Jesus answered them so brilliantly, so unexpectedly, that He emerged unscathed.  Here were the questions:

      • V. 15-22 A political question: Should they pay taxes to Caesar?  If Jesus said no—the popular answer—they would report Him to the Roman authorities as an insurrectionist.  If Jesus said yes, it would make Him very unpopular with the people.  Jesus asked for a coin, asked whose image was on it (Caesar’s) and then said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to him, and to God what belongs to Him.”  The inference, of course, is that you bear the image of God and so belong to Him.  Brilliant on multiple levels!
      • V. 23-33 A theological question: If a woman had been married to 7 men (all brothers), whose wife would she be in the resurrection?  This was asked by the Sadducees who didn’t believe in the resurrection, and were asking the question to make Jesus look foolish.  Jesus said that they didn’t know the Scripture or the power of God—a remarkable thing to say to Israel’s leaders!  He said there would be no marriage in heaven, but then went on to prove the resurrection by quoting God who said that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He is not the God of the dead, but the living!  
      • V. 34-40 Another theological question: Which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses?  I’m not sure what the trap was here, but Jesus answered, “Love God with all you’ve got and love your neighbor as yourself.  All the law and prophets are based on these.”  Who can argue with that!
      • V. 41-46 Jesus turns the table and asks them a question: Whose son is the Messiah?  They gave the standard answer: David’s.  The Messiah was to be a descendant of David, and like David, a conquering king.  But Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 where David says, “The Lord (God) says to my Lord (the Messiah), ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand.’”  How can the Messiah be David’s descendant (the ancestor was considered greater than the descendant) and still be David’s Lord?  Jesus was challenging their preconceived notions about the Messiah.  Jesus wasn’t coming as a conquering king, but a suffering servant.  After that, no one asked him any more questions.  

Application

Two things.

First, Jesus is brilliant!  Have you ever been asked a question that put you on the spot, and it was hours or days later that you came up with a scintillating answer?  I have.  So I marvel and Jesus’ ability in the moment to answer the most difficult questions and avoid being trapped.  And I am encouraged by Jesus’ promise in:

Matthew 10:19–20 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

When we are witnesses to Jesus, He promises to give us the answers we need—the Holy Spirit will speak through us!

Second, Jesus is happy to answer your questions.  I love that about Him.  If you ask a question to trap Him, you may, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, go away embarrassed by His answer.  But if you ask questions from an honest heart, I think Jesus loves to answer those.  So ask away!  He’s not afraid of your questions!

Prayer: Lord, You amaze me!  Help us to bring our questions to You, and listen for Your answer.