This section of Matthew is filled with questions. As I think I mentioned last week, these are a particular kind of question, the “gotcha” kind. In Matthew 22.15-46 Jesus deals with: a combined question about taxes from the Pharisees and Herodians, a question about marriage from the Sadducees and a question about the Law from the Pharisees. None of these questions were intended to facilitate dialogue, or answers for that matter, but were designed to embarrass or even endanger Jesus. The final question in the section is Jesus asking the Pharisees a question which, when they can’t answer it, shuts them up for good.
The question about the Law that we looked at today is interesting because Jesus’ answer does double duty. First it deals with the questioner. Second, and more important from our perspective, it lays out a principle for living for all of Jesus’ followers . . . including us.
When Jesus is asked “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matt 22.36 NIV) his response provides timeless guidance for everyone. Jesus says that loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind; and loving our neighbour as ourselves sums up all of the laws in the Old Testament. This sounds more or less like a missions statement; a good mission statement. A good mission statement is one which you can apply to everything you are doing to ensure that what you are doing supports the mission of the organization, business, school, church, family, person, or whomever/whatever has the statement. Jesus has given us a rubric that we can use as part of our decision making process to ensure we are doing what is best.
Knox Presbyterian More questions (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
St. Mark’s Presbyterian More questions (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
PS If you are wondering what is up with one sermon being half as long as the other, and about half as long as usual, don’t worry, you are getting everything the people there got. The service got off to a later than usual start and what with Holy Communion and all shortening the sermon was the way to make everything work.