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174 - Two Questions. No three.

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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November 25, 2023 1:00 pm

174 - Two Questions. No three.

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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November 25, 2023 1:00 pm

Episode 174 - Two Questions. No three. (25 Nov 2023) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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Alistair Begg

You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Well, like last time we were together, the religious leaders are trying to embarrass Jesus in public by asking Him trick questions. Well, but today He's going to turn it around and ask them a question.

Right, and it'll be a question so profound that they will not be able to answer and they won't try anymore. Let's find out today what that's all about on More Than Ink. Well, good morning and welcome. We're so glad you're with us again. I'm Dorothy.

And I'm Jim. And we are sitting here at our dining room table with our Bibles open and we're ready to talk about... We're working through Matthew chapter 22. We are in the last couple of days of Jesus' life before He goes to the cross. And we've been listening to Him as He's telling parables and having pointed conversations.

And this is the point at which it begins to be very pointed in confrontation with the religious leaders. And that's because for about three years of Jesus' ministry, He's been up in the north. And so there hasn't been a large concentration of the religious leaders who were opposed to Him and who are hearing in a very alarming way that He's gathering a lot of public attention and admiration. And so when He finally does come down to Jerusalem where all these guys live, and it's for the Passover celebration, you know, one of the three celebrations you have to come back, He's in close proximity to these guys. They get a good look at Him.

He gets a good look at them. And we're in this process right now where they're trying to figure out how to take Him down, how to get Him out of this position of influential popularity because it's challenging their rule. And because even though they don't believe that He is Messiah, many of the people do. And they're asking that question because remember, just a couple of days before, He had ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey to great acclaim.

And they were singing, Hosanna, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Very messianic. So there's this very great messianic expectation.

Yeah. So the leaders are in a tricky position because if they take Jesus out the wrong way, they'll cause such a huge outcry from the people that they'll also be ousted as well. And it could cause a riot, and it could cause Rome to come in. I mean, with this kind of very powerful popularity, they've got to do it cleverly.

So they figure, since they're the experts on the Bible, let's ask Jesus some trick questions that He cannot possibly answer well enough. He'll be embarrassed in public. People will be disillusioned with who He is.

He'll prove Himself to be the imposter that we think He is. And then things will just all quiet down, and we'll just go back to normal life. So they're in the midst of asking hard questions. And we had just last week looked at the first question. So each kind of religious political party has their shot.

They get their good shot. And last time we heard from the Herodians who asked Him that question about taxes. Who do we give taxes to? And Jesus simply defused the entire conversation and turned it on its head, saying, this is not about taxes at all. This is about who is God and who are you? Yeah, and in the way that He so seemingly easily does, He takes a trivial trick question and turns it in such a way to talk about something much more important.

And He'll do that again today as we come into verse 23 of chapter 22. This time it's not the Pharisees or the Herodians. It's actually the guys that they disagree with a lot, but their leaders, the Sadducees.

There are a lesser number of guys, but they are the wealthy, the governing class. Nobody seemed to like them very much. No one seemed to like them, yeah. And they actually believed theologically different things from the Pharisees. And one of the things they did not believe is that there is no afterlife.

They say there is no afterlife after you die. And with that as a context, look at the trick question that they devised to try and trick Jesus. Well, and we should probably say that the Sadducees probably just believed exclusively in the Pentateuch, the first five books. And there is no overt reference to life after death in those first five books of Moses. But that was their scriptures. And so they regarded the prophets and all the historical books afterwards as less important.

And yet those ones that come after the Pentateuch actually do strongly talk about resurrection. That's why they hold the position they do. So there's the setup. There's the setup. Here's the question. Follow us in verse 23.

Here's the Sadducees bringing out their best shot. Okay, so it starts this same day. So right after the Herodians had their shot, the same day the Sadducees came to him who say that there is no resurrection and they asked him a question saying, Teacher, Moses said if a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So to the second and third down to the seventh and after them all the woman died. In the resurrection therefore of the seven, whose wife will she be?

For they all had her. Okay, stop there. So let's just summarize what they said. They're saying that if this woman marries seven guys, because they in sequence die and they're all brothers, and the brothers, it's kind of weird to ask.

It's a very unlikely hypothetical. Right. They're really going out on a limb there. But they're actually using, it's from Deuteronomy 25, it's called lever eight marriage. And so you're supposed to do this.

The brothers are supposed to do this. But that's not the question whether that's right or wrong. The question is if she marries seven guys and she dies, then in the resurrection which one is her husband? So they're presuming, number one, that there's marriage after death. Number two, they're presuming you can't have more than one spouse. And they're presuming that life there is just like life here. Right.

You have to be married or it's going to be the same. And against their own beliefs, they're actually promoting that there's an afterlife. But they don't believe it. They don't believe it. They're just setting up the question. In fact, a lot of people, a lot of people think that this was their best argument for why they believe that there is not life in resurrection because this situation would be impossible to resolve.

So there must not be a resurrection? Yeah. A lot of people think. That just does not play well. I mean, we just can't even make sense of that. I know. So anyway, so this is their question and it's based on Deuteronomy.

So here we go. Okay. But Jesus' answer is so interesting and actually quite confrontive. It's very confrontive. Are you ready to read on?

Yeah, 29. Yeah. But Jesus answered them. You are wrong because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. I love that. You are wrong. That is powerful. I know.

I know. For in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God? I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

Yeah. And Jesus was directly about the woman with the many men. And he says just really quite clearly, well, he says you're just wrong. You're wrong. Yeah, you are quite wrong. You are wrong because you don't understand the scriptures and you don't understand the power of God. Well, now that's offensive. That's an offensive answer.

It's in your face. You don't understand the scriptures. Well, of course they understood the scriptures. It's Jesus' way of saying you don't know what you're talking about.

Exactly. But why would he say you don't understand the scriptures or the power of God? Well, I think that applies to the resurrection because a lot of people would say, well, how can you live after you die? Your body rots and all that kind of stuff.

How is that possible? Well, the power of God can bring about resurrection. I think that was part of their problem with the resurrection was it just seemed too big. It seemed too supernatural.

It just can't be. So they neither really understand the scriptures nor do they really understand what God is capable of. Well, right. And they don't understand that the potential for living in a covenant relationship with God goes past the grave. Exactly.

Yeah. So in those two statements, neither the scriptures nor the power of God do you know about it. He's basically saying in the power of God, God is able to raise you from the dead and in the scriptures and he will raise you from the dead. So that's just how he completely dispatches that and then says, look, in the resurrection, things are different. Things are just very different.

They neither marry nor are given marriage, but they're like angels in heaven. So he speaks as someone who knows. Exactly. Like in the resurrection. I've been there. I've been there.

I've seen this. Right. Right.

And that right there shuts down what's supposed to be an impossible quandary. But then he decides we're not leaving it there. We need to go on to the fact that you guys don't believe in the resurrection because that's even more important. And then from 31, that's how he addresses that. And he talks about the fact that God said, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and not I was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

He's speaking in the present tense. So if God says that's who he is, then that means those guys in some way are actually alive. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the resurrection. Is he not God of the dead but the living? He's not God of the dead but the living. And so that's his point that basically squashes their entire denial of the resurrection of life after death is the fact that when God referred to himself, he referred to himself as the God of the living Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And it's clear that people listening in the crowd had never even thought about this.

They just knew they didn't have an answer for this agency's position. But they had never thought about the fact that God himself said to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as if they're still here with me. And he's not a God of the dead but of the living.

It's just really obvious. So here these guys come in thinking they have an impossible question to answer. And in the end, he posits this to them and completely turns the world upside down about what they believe about resurrection.

Well, and he says, it's not about your technicality, not about your legal technicality, it's about who is God. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Are we ready to go on?

We need to push on, yeah. That was the best question from the Sadducees. Isn't that interesting? And Jesus goes, instead of talking specifically about the resurrection from any other part of scripture where it's stated more clearly, he deals with them on the basis of the parts that they do accept right out of Exodus, right? Right, great. So he stays in the Torah. Right.

Okay, we need to read on. Okay, 34, but when the Pharisees, so we're back to the other guys now, the guys who do believe in the resurrection. When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, I like that a lot. They probably liked that a lot. So they gathered together like they had a huddle.

You see in football, they gathered together and one of them, a lawyer asked him a question to test him. So another test question, here he goes, 36, teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And then he said to him, 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 the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself and on these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets. Oh, okay. Well that's a very complete answer. It's very concise.

Yeah, it is. He asks them, the trick question is, what's the greatest commandment? Now you can get in trouble picking commandments. Well, but in Jewish thinking there's 600 and something of them. 614 I think or something like that. And there was a great deal of conversation about how to observe them accurately and which were the most important ones.

Yeah, they were graded in fact. There was lots of questions about that. So depending on how you pick which is what you think is your favorite or biggest commandment, you can get a lot of trouble right here. So this is another impossible question. You can't pick one and win. So he doesn't pick one. But what he does do is he picks basically what is the core of the law. The core of the law and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself. And in another place he says, well he says it here, these two commandments everything is built on this.

Everything grows from those. Everything follows. That's the core of the 10 commandments as well. Roughly half of them are about how you treat man and half of them are how you deal with God. And that all boils down to if we love God then that carries with it a concrete responsibility to love the people he loves.

Yeah I think that's what's key. Which is interesting because that really is in the Pharisees' face since they were actively plotting already to take him out. And Pharisees were very concerned with observing the law accurately and observing the minutia of the law lest they overlook anything that's important.

Meticulously. They would have long debates just trying to decide, well if I do this does that mean I do or I don't violate the Sabbath? It's interesting that they could even have a conversation about how to murder somebody and still claim to be observing the law accurately. It's just, how blind can you be? Yeah I know.

And I'll add a little color to this as well. We always say this, you need to read the parallel passages in the other gospels. Mark's gospel actually comes into this with this guy showing up on the scene a little bit differently than it does here.

And it says. You don't think that's a different person asking a question? No I don't think so. Okay.

I don't think so. Because what happens is that while they regroup here, it says in 34 that they're regrouping. In Mark's gospel it says, and one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another and seeing that he answered them well asked this question, which commandment is the most important? So it's as though the Pharisees pulled back into a huddle and then this guy heard the stuff going on and decided to step up and give it a shot himself. So he may not be someone who is actually sent by the Pharisees, it's the guy who hears what's going on. And another part of the response in Mark's gospel that really lines up here well is his response to Jesus at the end of this. And he agrees with Jesus, he says you know what, that's a good answer. That's right, you've answered well.

That's a good answer. And in all the other test questions you don't get anyone like the Sadducees just recently when we're talking about the resurrection, they don't come back and say you know that's a really good point, I've never thought about that. But this guy here in Mark's account of it says you know I think you got something there Jesus and Jesus is back to him, you're not far from the kingdom buddy. So it's a fascinating interchange between these two and it's a trick question but it's a trick question that the guy actually learns from when you look at Mark's gospel. It's one of the few cases where Mark's gospel gives us more information rather than less.

Mark is usually very thin and skinny, doesn't give us all the information. So anyway, trick question fails. But we do actually get a huge insight into the law and the issue is God's law is all about loving God and then loving the people that God loves. Well and the passage that Jesus quotes is known as the Shema, right? The Great Shema. Right?

Yeah. This is a passage that they would recite to themselves every morning and night and the instruction in Deuteronomy 6 was to talk about it when you're getting up and talk about it at the end of the day, talk about it when you're on the road, talk about it to your children. It should be permeating all of life and that love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, that's a statement of the whole person.

Everything about you is to be devoted to God. Why don't you tell people where to find that in the Old Testament? Okay well that's Deuteronomy 6, 5. Deuteronomy 6.

From the you shall love your neighbor as yourself is found in Leviticus 19, 18 and that's an interesting context there that Jesus would pull that out because in the surrounding verses it says you shall have no vengeance against your brother, you shall not hold a grudge, you shall not hate in your heart your brother. Which is very interesting because as I said before here we have the religious leaders actively hating Jesus, actively looking for a way to take him out. So I just find that fascinating. And then also I'm thinking about how often we kind of try to squirm out of our deepest obligation to love the Lord our God by focusing on trivialities.

Trivialities yeah. And it makes me think too this gives you such a good working basis to look at the law. Like for instance we mentioned a second ago that they would spend so much time talking about well you know can I do this and violate the Sabbath and not violate the Sabbath how far. But let's come back to these two questions. You say well does what I'm talking about how does that serve the intent of loving God with all of who I am or serving man with all of who I am.

How does that work into that? These are really great working models in case you wonder what it is that God desires of us. He desires hearts that are like his. Well he desires hearts like this. People who love him and love his people.

It's an easy way to actually capitalize the law. So although this guy asks him about what's the greatest commandment or the highest commandment or which one's on top in terms of priorities which is really what he's asking. Jesus actually sort of says I'll give you that but I'll give you what the core of it is. Right. Not what the highest. What the heart of it is.

Not the highest one. So that's how again Jesus has taken what is really kind of a trivial question and turned it into extraordinarily relevant responses to what we need to know about the kingdom. Well and going right to the core of the issue. Yeah.

Yeah he's really good at this. This is just a rhetorical exercise. This is where he's saying well while we're talking let's talk about something really important.

And again that makes a good question to be asking ourselves right as I'm ruminating on how do I walk in a manner that honors God or how do I obey God. Is my motivation to love the Lord God more with all of who I am and to love the people he loves. Yeah. Yeah. I mean it's so easy if you just put it in that context.

That's right. It's not easy but it is straightforward. No but I mean in terms of just determining.

Just determining what to do. Yeah. You don't have to go into well if I turn on a light switch is that violating the Sabbath? And I mention that because.

Because we know that. For most Orthodox Jews that it does violate the Sabbath to turn on a light switch and we won't get into that. No. Nope. Let's save that for another day. Let's push on. We got another section here. Okay. Fascinating section.

So 41. While the Pharisees were gathered together. Because they're all here. We're all here. Let's talk about something important. Let's keep going.

Yeah let's keep going. Now while the Pharisees were gathered together Jesus asked them a question saying, what do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he? And they said to him, the son of David. And he said to them, how is it then that David in the spirit calls him Lord saying, the Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet. If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son? And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Yeah this is a sticky one. Okay so he's quoting, he's asking him a question from Psalm 110. Psalm 110. Which is a very highly recognized Messianic Psalm.

Yeah, yeah. And that's the first statement in the Psalm. It's one of the most important Messianic Psalms.

Okay. So you know, it doesn't come across in English, but David even when he wrote it was using two different words for Lord. The Lord said to my Lord, right, the first one, and this is just for you Bible students. If you look at Psalm 110, any time you see Lord or God in all capital letters, this is an editorial thing that was agreed on a long time ago, that represents the personal name of God. We sometimes say Jehovah, we more commonly these days say Yahweh, but it's that what they call the tetragrammaton, right? It was just four letters that indicated the personal name of God, the I Am. So that's the first one that David says, the Lord said to my Lord. Well the word he uses there is Adon or my master, right? So he's clearly talking about two different personalities.

And Adon is actually the root of Adonai, which is another name that's used for God. Master or Most High. So Jesus says, you know, well, who's he talking about? And how can David call this master his son? What does that mean?

What is he after do you think? Well and clearly that sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under my feet, it's a profound statement of authority and power of sovereignty. So this really is, this is kingly from a divine perspective. So there's just no doubting that.

So they had always says, well, the Messiah is the son of David. Well okay, there's nothing wrong with that actually. No, that's actually true. That's actually true. From a genetic point of view. Right.

But there's more to it. And Jesus genetically, you know, biologically is from David. Descended from David, yeah.

So we can check that box without a problem at all. But how is it that his son is my Lord, the Lord says to my Lord, I mean, what is that all about? Well, and there's a hint, I wonder if Jesus is alluding to the entire Psalm because there's a hint farther down in the Psalm of this Messiah person is gonna be so much more than just a worldly king or just a political king. Because verse four of Psalm 110 says the Lord, and that's Yahweh, that's all caps, has sworn and will not change his mind, thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Well now we're talking about this one that David has said, my master, God is calling him a priest and a priest forever. Well David was not from a priestly house, the priestly line did not descend from David. So we're clearly talking about somebody who has a different set of credentials than David had. So Bible students, look up Melchizedek.

Look up Melchizedek. That's why Psalm 110 is such a pivotal- It's a puzzle. It's a pivotal Psalm about the Messiah, especially when you introduce Melchizedek. But for simplicity's sake, what you can say both here and there is that the passage strongly states that the Messiah is both simultaneously man and God.

Very much. And that's what it's saying. And so that's why when Jesus quotes it here, he says, have you put that together yet? How can David call his offspring Lord? David's the Lord of all the offspring that come after him, he's older than them.

So that's clearly, that's the bottom line. That's the plot spoiler if you look at Psalm 110 and even you look here. And in that particular case, they had never really thought about the fact that the Messiah was to come, he was going to be a powerful man and he was going to be a man who had special, I don't know, special something from God so that he could banish all the enemies and stuff. But had they ever thought about the fact that he might be God himself? Well it's possible that they had thought about that and rejected it because it was just so far outside of their normal understanding of who God is. But the only way that you can rectify this language in Psalm 110 is if they're both true. Right.

That's what he's trying to get at right here. Then David calls him Lord, how is he his son? And no one was able to answer, they had never thought about this before. And here in fact, what's really great about that, here is the man, the God, the divine God man himself in front of them asking them about his own identity as he stands right in front of them.

Have you put this together yet? Here I am. Well, you know, essentially that harkens back to earlier in the book when he said to Peter, you know, who do you say I am? Who do you say that I am? Right. And Peter's answer was, you're the guy, you're the Lord, you're the Christ, you are the Messiah. But even he at that point did not have any idea about him being literally God in the flesh. Right, right.

And it took some time for people to actually get around to this. But when you read the writings of the apostles later on, the epistles they write and stuff, well, there's no doubt in their mind. Just no doubt.

Well, after the resurrection. Yeah. Right. Even when he shows himself and Thomas falls to his knees and says, oh my Lord and my God. And my God.

Yeah. I mean everything seems to switch in the narrative about the apostles at the point of the cross. The cross and the resurrection.

And everything just switches all of a sudden. Which would make sense because if you saw this guy who you love die and then come back from the dead and then you think, gosh, all the stuff he said is probably true. Yeah, so he's not just a human miracle worker. Exactly, exactly. Or just a very charismatic leader or something like that.

They are convinced of so much more. Well we are almost out of time again. Next time when we push on, we'll still be in chapter 23, next time Jesus is going to go on the offensive with the Pharisees. I mean he's really going to, he's been doing a lot here.

They've been playing ping pong or a tennis match as they lob stuff at him and he lobs back even more important questions. But he's going to really, he's really going to go after them next time and talk about how far short they fall in terms of being the under shepherds of God's sheep, Israel. And it's a really famous section. So we're going to split that, split it into two sections next time. We'll get the first half of it next time. But Jesus, you know, we talked about the fact in this passage, he was very straightforward, very bold, very in their face.

And you think, boy, you can't get more in the face than that. Well he will. But here he gave them their best shot. That's right.

He gave them every opportunity. So boy, our time is just gone. Yeah, yeah. So read ahead. It's the section coming up is called the Seven Woes and we're going to hear what Jesus has to say to the religious leaders who are failing in colossal ways, not the least of which is because they don't recognize who he is. So I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And come back with us next time on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Oh, oh, oh, okay.

Okay. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Rhythm City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-25 14:17:22 / 2023-11-25 14:29:51 / 12

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