Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)
It was Tuesday. Jesus returned to Jerusalem with His disciples. On the previous two days, He had announced His authority by riding into town on a donkey, and then in righteous indignation, cleansed the temple by throwing out the money changers and turning over tables.
The religious leaders were incensed. They were breathing murderous plots.
The record of what Jesus did on Tuesday can be found in Matthew 22-23. For folks who shy away from conflict, this would not have been a fun day to follow Jesus. He waded right into it, and the religious leaders met Him in the deep end.
First came one sect of Jewish leaders that are identified as Saducees. They were the more liberal of the groups. They didn’t acknowledge much of the Old Testament’s authority, and they even denied the after life, claiming that a religious life was essentially a good, moral life. Live well in this life, because it’s all you’ve got.
They thought they had a irrefutable argument and approached Jesus.
After some dialogue, Jesus essentially said, “Not only do you not know/understand/believe the scriptures, but you also have no idea how powerful our God is.” (verse 29)
Oh, how smug the Pharisees were. They were ready to put Jesus in His place and belittle Him, but they were smugly glad that He had put the Saducees in theirs.
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
They wanted to split hairs with Jesus and were so ready to pounce. These legalists had little concern for the heart. All that mattered to them was religious rigorism and performance. Jesus’ answer astounded them:
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22.34-38)
Love is the foundation
Jesus’ response is known as the Great Commandment. Jesus sums up all of scripture and God’s will simply. God desires our love for Him (because He loves us first), and He desires that we love one another (even our enemies!). Our faith in God is not in a concept but in a compassionate, gracious, forgiving, powerful, humble and holy God. That loves us so much that He sent His only Son. Jesus gave His life that we might have life.
On this Tuesday, I want to encourage you to evaluate your loves. Consider for a few moments:
- Do you truly grasp how MUCH God loves you?
- Jesus went to such lengths for me and you, to reconcile us to His Father. He endured ridicule, rejection, suffering, and even death so that we might KNOW Him.
- Jesus’ love for you is unmatched and unequaled by any love you will encounter on earth.
- Jesus’ love for you is a pursuing love. He calls you into the light from your darkest places.
- How can you – today – demonstrate gratitude and joy for the love that God has shown you in Jesus?
Tell someone about the love of Jesus this Easter.
During these confusing and fearful days of COVID-19, Bible sales are way up. Anonymous viewers are watching livestreams of churches around the world. Many are hearing the gospel for the first time. While we may be sad about not being able to gather for Easter services, consider for a moment that GOD IS DOING SOMETHING BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS. He is calling people to Himself!
Share with someone joyfully and boldly about how you have trusted Jesus as your Savior and how much you want them to do the same. Tell them about the love of God in Jesus. Show them scripture. Gently encourage their faith.
I love verse 46 of chapter 22. After all was said and done, the wisest and staunchest religious leaders of Israel were silenced by Jesus. They had tried to confront Him, but in the end He confronted them, pronouncing “woes” on their hypocrisy. And then:
“No one was able to answer him at all, and from that day no one dared to question him anymore.”
Jesus is the answer. There is no other.