Archive for August 16th, 2010

Matthew 22

Matthew 22 begins with the parable of the king and his wedding feast.  As other writers told the story, he invited many but none came, so he sent his servants out to gather a crowd from the streets.  They came and filled the hall.  One of them there “had no wedding garment” – he was not prepared for the wedding.  When asked how he got in “he was speechless”.  We will need to be sure we are ready when invited to that final feast with Jesus.  We need to be able to answer the question of why we deserve to be there.  Can you answer that?   Do you know why you should be allowed into heaven?  It comes down to a personal relationship with Jesus that covers the penalty of our sin.  Be ready.  The Pharisees come to challenge Jesus.  They toss out a question about paying taxes to Caesar.  That is a great question – one I am sure many of us wish would be answered with the statement that we don’t need to pay any more.  But that is not what Jesus said.  As He always does – Jesus asks them a question about “whose likeness and inscription is this” when looking at a coin.  Of course it was Caesar’s.  So Jesus says ““Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”.  Jesus doesn’t tell us not to pay taxes.  He is clear that we have to be obedient to the political leaders.  The Sadducees follow up with their own question about seven brothers who all marry the same woman as one after the other dies and the next brother steps up to marry her.  They want to know who the husband will be in heaven.  Of course, they miss the entire boat.  “For in the resurrection they will neither marry nor are given in marriage”.  So there are no married folks in heaven.  We are not there to focus on others, but God Himself.  The Sadducees were unable to respond and the people in the crowd “were astonished at His teaching”.  In fact, “from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions”.  Jesus put them in their place.

But Jesus also answered one of the most important questions in all of scripture.  A lawyer asked which is the great commandment in the law.  He wanted to know what we needed to be obedient to.  Here it is – plain and simple – clear and pointed – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets”.  It can be boiled down to loving God and loving people.  Period.  But Jesus goes on here to say that everything else depends on these two commandments.  Want to understand the foundation of God’s world?  Here it is.  These two simple and straightforward commandments tell us how to live and also provide the key to God in every other area.  It all boils down to love.  If we can get these down we will be well on our way to walking as God desires and be in obedience to His Word!

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