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Matthew 22:34-36

Lesson # Matt. 22:34-36
Study Material - Matt. 22:34-36

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Matt. 22:34-36

34 But [de] when the Pharisees [Pharisaios] had heard [akouo] that [hoti] he had put [phimoo] the Sadducees [Saddoukaios] to silence [phimoo] , they were gathered together [sunago] [epi] [autos] .
35 Then [kai] one [heis] of [ek] them [autos] , which was a lawyer [nomikos] , asked [eperotao] him a question, tempting [peirazo] him [autos] , and [kai] saying [lego] ,
36 Master [didaskalos] , which [poios] is the great [megas] commandment [entole] in [en] the law [nomos] ? KJV-Interlinear

Matt. 22:34-36

34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' NAS

The third and final question put to Jesus was based on decades of debate over which of the various laws written in the scriptures were either great laws and therefore binding, and which laws were lessor laws and therefore not as rigidly binding on ones life. From my notes I have this excerpt:

'Over the years, the rabbis had supposedly determined that, just as there were 613 separate letters in the Hebrew text of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, in the book of Numbers, there were also 613 separate laws in the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses. Such letterism, as it is sometimes called, was extremely popular and was considered to be a valuable exegetical tool for interpreting Scripture. The rabbis had divided those 613 laws into affirmative and negative groups, holding that there were 248 affirmative laws, one for every part of the human body, as they supposed, and 365 negative laws, one for each day of the year. The laws were also divided into heavy and light, the heavy ones being absolutely binding and the light ones less binding.' MacArthur Commentary

So, in the first question they tried to pit Jesus against either the Romans or the Jews with their political tax question. The second question sought to bring Jesus down with apparent transitional problems between this life and the next life, which the Sadducees didn't even believe in anyway. So they ridiculed that which they had no proof of either way (the after life either exists or it does not).

Now for the third question. 'Which is the greatest of all the laws?' This question had not been answered, at least not in the minds of the Pharisees. They were more concerned with matters of protocol, with lining up and classifying various written principles, and of course this is just how all those many thousands of regulations came into being. The Bible was sent to the end of the line as the priorities of academics came to outweigh the principles of scripture.

This lawyer was a scribe, but as Matthew describes him as a lawyer, then this implies that he had an unusual talent, perhaps in his knowledge of the scriptures and of the regulations of Judaism. By asking this question, one which even they could not agree on, they hoped to bring swift charges against Jesus. There were thousands of passages. By selecting one could imply that the others were unimportant. The Pharisees and the Sadducees both held Moses in very high esteem. Even God has stated, that Moses has risen to such a high state, that he warranted face to face conversation rather than through dreams and visions, Num. 12:17. That would seem to imply that Moses ranked higher than the angels even as Moses was living here on earth. A very high honor indeed. Now lest any of us get high on our spiritual high horse, have any of us spoken face to face with God? No! That means that we all have a very long way to go in our spiritual lives. Again, lest you think that you have arrived.

The lawyer was very polite. I could put in a lot of those lawyer jokes here, but lawyers need a break from time to time. I guess the only question here is, just how to go about breaking them!!!!!!

Polite, but duplicitous. You can just see this man. Very well dressed. Very well poised. Quiet and confident in his demeanor. This Jesus has put down every approach and attempt to destroy him. But now the big guns are brought put. 'We'll attack the entire body of the scriptures and see where Jesus falls out,' or so they thought. Jesus could simply state that the entirety of all the scripture books are important, but then this would alienate those who followed Moses as the greatest of the prophets, and felt that only the first five books were the greatest, with the rest of the writings of the prophets as being lessor in importance.

Tomorrow, we'll see Jesus' response, but one more thing here. Jesus has been performing miracle after miracle for over three years now. He has been teaching salvation and the spiritual life and the importance of both. These legalists tried to make Him stumble time after time, never ever looking deeper into just who He was and why this was happening in their time of history. They could have arrested Him at anytime and taken Him before a court, but as is the nature of all unbelievers and all spiritually negative people, they are cowards. How do they finally get Jesus? They have one of His own, turn Him in to the arresting officers, and they will do it at night when the crowds are asleep. That night by the way is just hours away, as this is still Tuesday, the day before His crucifixion. In these last 24 hours, there has been challenge after challenge, and all of them failed miserably. Jesus has not and will not lose His temper, but continues to show their negative attitude toward the truth. He is the truth and is standing right before them. Instead of asking Him questions, that you or I would ask, were we standing before the Lord, they challenged His authority, they challenged His character, they challenged His patriotism, they challenged His wisdom.

How could anyone be more arrogant and more blind to the truth of life? This was the perfect generation for Jesus Christ's first advent, for they would be the ones who would fulfill Gods promise of a savior. Furthermore, when Jesus is finally taken before the courts, He will remain silent. Why? Because there will be nothing more for Him to say. They have heard it all on this day and on preceding days, and have remained uninterested.

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End Of Lesson

Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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