Day 220 | Sunday, 25 October 2020
The assigned Scripture readings for this the 21st Sunday after Pentecost are:
Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6; 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 and Matthew 22:34-46.
Matthew 22:34-46 Great Commandment – the Message
34 When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault.
35 One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up:
36 "Teacher, which command in God's Law is the most important?"
37 Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.'
38 This is the most important, the first on any list.
39 But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.'
40 These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
41 As the Pharisees were regrouping, Jesus caught them off balance with his own test question:
42 "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said, "David's son."
43 Jesus replied, "Well, if the Christ is David's son, how do you explain that David, under inspiration, named Christ his 'Master'?
44 God said to my Master, "Sit here at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool."
45 "Now if David calls him 'Master,' how can he at the same time be his son?"
46 That stumped them, literalists that they were. Unwilling to risk losing face again in one of these public verbal exchanges, they quit asking questions for good.
From the New Revised Standard Version
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sad'ducees, they came together.
35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him.
36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,
42 saying, "What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David."
43 He said to them, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
44 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet'?
45 If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?"
46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions.
Jesus makes demands upon those who would be his disciples. Sometimes his demands are simple and direct. And yet, Jesus has a way of making matters like “love” and “neighbor,” “God” and “discipleship” complicated and demanding. Part of the adventure of discipleship is that we are disciples of Jesus.”
“In remembering that Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, we also have to be reminded that Jesus did not leave us free to define either what love is or who our neighbors are! He made our enemies our neighbors to whom we owe forgiveness. He made love a costly and demanding affair.”
The following is a quote from Bishop William A. Willimon
“Jesus’ critics go on the attack. They attempt to engage Jesus in an argument about the Torah, the holy law of Israel. In response, Jesus quotes two traditional Jewish summaries – the commandment to love God (Deut 6:5) and the commandment to love the neighbor (Lev 19:18). Jesus’ answer is painfully obvious, because the answer to his critics’ theological question is simply a quote from a text that every practicing Jew recited each morning and evening.”
“In his summary of the Torah, Jesus brings together religion and ethics – the love of God and the love of neighbor. We would expect this sort of fusion of religion ethics in Matthew’s very ethical Gospel. Jesus has not stated anything new or creative – he has stated the heart of the faith of Israel. (Jesus’ answer is so unoriginal that it is the same answer that is found in Luke 10:27 when it is given not by Jesus, but from a “lawyer”!) One is also reminded of
I John 4:20-21 where we are told that the love of God cannot be separated from the love of neighbor.”
“Then, after answering them with this conventional Torah wisdom, Jesus goes on the attack himself in verses 41-46. He asks them what they think about the Messiah. To this Jesus’ critics respond by saying that the Messiah is a “Son of David” (verse 42).”
“The one who stands before the Pharisees and quotes the Torah is the Messiah. Therefore, he not only quotes the law but he embodies it. He is not only the one who reminds them of the way, but he is the way. He teaches with authority. It is an authority that is derived from being none other than the “Son of David,” the long-awaited Messiah whose teaching is integrally linked to his identity.”
“In today’s proclamation of the Word, let us hold up before the church the direct, demanding quality of Jesus’ response to his critics, as well as his teaching to us.”
“Dear Lord Jesus, you came to us showing us love we did not necessarily want, you stood beside us as the neighbor whom we did not ask for. Now strengthen us, we pray, to follow you where you lead us. Help us to hear you as you speak to us, speaking truth to us, that we might not be able to speak to ourselves. Help us to go with you into places that we would avoid going, if we were left on our own.”
“Preserve us from evading your claim upon us by oversimplifying your words to us. Enable us to encounter you in all your demanding glory. Keep us from listening to our own desires more carefully than we listen to you.”
“Preserve us from over complicating your words to us. Save us from taking your direct commands and debating them, discussing them, and arguing about them until they are no longer your direct commands to us.”
“Lord Jesus, you came to show us the way. Enable us more faithfully to walk your way. Amen.”