October 20, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Monday after Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 2, 3, 2 Kings 6:8-14, 2 Tim. 1:1-14
Evening – Psalm 4, 8, Ecc. 5:8, Mt. 22:15-33

Commentary, Matthew 22:15-33

Tonight’s reading records two attempts entangle our Lord in His talk.  This is part of the religious leaders’ plan to destroy Jesus.  They hope to make Him say something that will cause the people to turn away from Him.  Once the people leave Him, He will be easy to kill, and they, so they think, will be rid of their problem.

The flattery of verse 16, meant to put Christ off guard, does not fool Him for a moment.  The question is meant to make the people believe He is not the Messiah.  The popular view of the Messiah was that of a warrior king, who, filled with power from God, will lead the people of Israel into a crush the Romans and Gentiles, and establish Israel as the capitol of the world, with all Gentile nations subservient to her.  If Jesus says it was right to give tribute (pay taxes) to Caesar, the people will think He is not the Messiah, and will abandon Him.  If He says it is not right, they will brand Him as an enemy of Rome, and possibly convince the Romans to kill Him.  He foiled their plans with His words in verse 21; “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things which are God’s.”

Next, the Saducees attempt to trick Christ.  These men are the chief priests, and do not believe in any form of resurrection.  Their question, regarding the woman’s marital status in the resurrection, is intended to confuse Christ and make the people laugh at Him.  In their minds, He will have to say the woman will be married to one of the men in Heaven.  No matter which one He says, they can confound Him with reasons why she might be married to another.  If He does not know the answer to their question, He must not be the Messiah, so the people will leave Him and they can kill Him.

Again, He easily foils their plan.  In the resurrection people are not married.  All of the ties of kinship are different in Heaven.  Our relationships with one another will be similar to the relationship of angels to other angels.

He pointedly shows the reality of the resurrection, saying God is God of the living, not the dead.  If He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they will live even though they have died.  When will they live?  In the resurrection.

Hearing the questions and the answers of Christ, the people are more convinced than ever that He is the Messiah.  They are astonished, meaning, surprised, overwhelmed, and awed, by His doctrine.  They go away with greater respect for Him. 

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