Matthew 22:41-42 (Jesus Questions the Pharisees, Part 1: The Power of Truth)

Recall that it is Tuesday of Passion week and Jesus has been confronted by the religious leaders who were seeking an occasion to seize Him by questioning Him about various things that they hoped would catch Him in something He said; cf. Mat 21:23-24, 22:15,23,34-35.  What does Scripture record was the result of Jesus’ answers that delivered Him in every instance?  See Mar 12:34b, Luk 20:39-40; cf. Mat 22:46.  Now that all their questions had been silenced, what does Matthew say Jesus did?  See Mat 22:41.  Was His purpose like theirs, to ensnare, or rather, was it to instruct?  What is the significance that it was after their mouths had been stopped that He could now ask them a question that might instruct them if they would but ponder it?  What does this teach us about the inherent quality of a teachable spirit: Is it to antagonistically question anything that is said, or to be quiet and give a fair hearing to what is said?  Who among the Pharisees who had gathered themselves together appeared to have a teachable spirit, and what indication do we have that it was with him in mind that Jesus asked them a question?  See Mar 12:28,34,35.  What does Jesus’ willingness to pose a question to the religious leaders at this point even after they had done all they could to ensnare Him remind us about God’s desire that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance?  What does it also teach us about His great grace to teach even the most hardened and intransigent of sinners if they will but give heed?  When the wicked are damned to hell, will it ever be because God was not merciful, patient, forbearing, and indeed that He did not plead with them that they might be saved?  Cf. Rom 10:21.

Consider the uneven nature of the conflict that had followed Jesus throughout His ministry and had now come to a head just before His crucifixion: one lowly carpenter turned itinerant teacher versus the most powerful, honored, well educated, and well-organized leaders of the most spiritually enlightened culture in the history of mankind.  Consider too that it was while the Pharisees, who had most opposed Jesus throughout His ministry, were gathered together that Jesus now asks them a question; in spite of the odds against Him from a human perspective, what was it on Jesus’ side that more than made up for the unfairness and made it impossible for them to prevail while ensuring that He could not help but prevail?  See Jam 3:14, Joh 18:37c, Rom 3:4; cf. Joh 14:6, Jer 5:22.  What does this remind us about the ultimate power of truth?  Why is that?  I.e., from where does truth originate?  Cf. 2Sa 7:28, Isa 65:16, and consider that for anything to prevail over the truth would require that it prevail over God: can that happen?  What does this also remind us about the importance of always siding with the truth, and why we should not be discouraged but have great faith to stand firm for the truth even though we stand for it alone against the whole world?  Cf. Psa 31:5[1].

What instructive question did Jesus ask the Pharisees who had gathered together against Him, and what was their answer?  See Mat 22:42.  Was their answer wrong?  See Isa 11:1-4, Eze 34:23, Joh 7:42.  Although not wrong, in what all important way was it incomplete?  I.e., was it only the son of David that the prophets foretold the Messiah would be?  See Isa 7:13-14, 9:6-7, Jer 23:5; cf. Mat 14:33, 16:13-16, Joh 1:49, 6:68-69, 20:28, Phil 2:6-7.  Although plainly taught in the Old Testament scriptures and understood even by Jesus’ less educated disciples, what was it that blinded the religious leaders from understanding this important truth?  Cf. 1Jo 2:15.  What additional questions did Jesus then ask to elucidate their understanding?  See Mat 22:43-45.

What is the significance that David was “in the spirit” when he wrote Psalm 110 that Jesus quotes?  See 2Sa 23:2, Act 1:16, 2:30-31, 2Pe 1:21 and think: was it just David himself who spoke, as if he might have made a mistake in his wording and didn’t really intend what he wrote?  What does this remind us about the inspiration of all Scripture, even in its incidental details, and what we mean by it being inspired?  Cf. 2Ti 3:16-17.

 


1. Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.  Abraham Lincoln.

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