Trick Questions – Matthew 22:15-46

This is exactly what my face looks like when someone asks me about something I don’t know.  I didn’t realize this until my son started making this same face when someone asks him something difficult.  Jesus can just rattle off the perfect answer without the eyebrows and eye rolls and stroke victim mouth.  I’d like to get to the point where I can imitate Jesus’ confidence instead of tugging at my collar and sweating profusely.

  • V15 – Rather than make any bold moves they’re going to try to make Jesus incriminate Himself.  The irony is, these are questions the Pharisees have been debating and haven’t been able to answer for years.
  • V16 – The ESV Study Bible says Herodians were “a loosely organized group that sought to advance the political and economic influence of the Herodian family.  Although the Herodians and the Pharisees were adversaries in regard to many political and religious issues, they join forces here to combat the perceived threat to their power and status.”

◊ Do Jesus and His message threaten anything that I hold dear?

  • V16 – If they thought He was true and taught God’s truth, why didn’t they believe Him?!  In a true feat of dizzying hypocrisy, they are lying their heads off but somehow manage to tell the truth.
  • V17 – This is a major hot button issue in Israel.
  • V18 – The ESV notes say that “Jesus’ questioners reasoned that if he answered that it was right to pay taxes, he would lose favor with the tax-burdened people, but if he answered that it was wrong, they could accuse him of insurrection.”
  •  V21 – “Caesar’s” image is on money and I am made in the image of God.  I must give to God what is His (me!)

◊ Am I more concerned with “Caesar’s” kingdom or God’s kingdom?  Is my time consumed with things eternal or things temporary?

  • V23-28 – Oh great, here comes Round Two.  The Sadducees come asking a hypothetical question that isn’t even relevant to what they believe!  They thought it proved their belief that there is no resurrection.

◊ Do I pose hypotheticals to God to justify my (often wrong) action?

  • V28 – The assume everything will be as it is in this life, but Jesus reveals some new information.

◊ Father, help me not to cling to what’s familiar when You have so much more in store for us – something more wonderful than we could ever imagine!

  • V29 – The Sadducees weren’t familiar enough with Scripture to know what it taught.

◊ Do I know the Scriptures and the power of God?

  • V30-32 – Jesus is making it clear He’s from God and is the Messiah.  He knows what the resurrection will be like and He has intimate knowledge of God’s Word and power.
  • V32 – The Sadducees only believed the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch) to be Scripture, so Jesus took a verse from the Pentateuch and proved there is resurrection.  He shut down an entire cult with one simple argument!  The Bible is living and active and doesn’t contradict itself!
  • V23-32 – My Study Bible points out that Jesus was considerate to answer their question – even though it was hypothetical and difficult – but then answered their root issues as well.  We can do the same for others when they ask us difficult questions.

◊ Loving Jesus, give me this kind of discernment.

  • V36 – The ESV says rabbis had been debating for ages which laws were “light” and which “weighty.”   They can’t trap Him so they decide to filibuster Him with and endless debate.  Jesus sums up all the laws in the entire Old Testament in two commandments, case closed.  They can’t think of one single law that doesn’t fall under these two.

◊ Are all my actions motivated by these two laws?

  • These are both “shalls” not “shall nots”.
  • V41 – Ooh, now it’s Jesus’ turn to ask a question.  Here’s what the ESV notes have to say about it: “”The son of David reflected the common understanding that the Messiah would be a royal descendant of David.  Jesus then quotes from Psalm 110:1, one of the most important messianic texts in the OT and the one most quoted in the NT.  The Pharisees would have recognized this psalm of David as a divinely inspired messianic prophecy… Because the Pharisees acknowledged the messianic import of the psalm, they did not dare to ask Jesus any more questions.  The fact that David’s descendant (Jesus) would have a more prominent role and title that the ancestor (David) further indicates the uniqueness of the Messiah and the greater honor that is due him as the Son of God…”
  • V45 – The Israelites didn’t realize the Messiah would be God Himself!
  • V46 – Finally!

Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:

  • Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
  • What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
  • Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
  • What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
  • What do these verses move me to pray for myself?

About knockinguntilitopens

I am a Christ follower, a wife, a mom, and a creator. I like to share my stuff.
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