It’s not a good idea to argue with Jesus. Throughout the Gospels, many people question and challenge Jesus. Leaders of his day felt threatened by what they perceived as unorthodox teachings and his apparent disregard for the law when strictly interpreted. At the same time, they can’t understand or explain the power Jesus has to heal, so they look for ways to destroy him. At first, their goal is defeat by humiliation. Many times his opponents thought they had trapped him. Each time, Jesus turned the tables, leaving them defeated and even embarrassed by his powerful responses.
Today’s text teaches us a lesson about Jesus’ divinity. By bringing up the lineage of David and David’s role as the greatest of Israel’s kings, Jesus makes it clear that the true Messiah has to be more than merely mortal. Though the Messiah is generations removed from the original King David, that person will be more powerful than David and will rule with more authority. David will be invited to sit next to the Messiah in a distinctly subordinate role. Such a ruler can only come from heaven. All earthly rulers will fall short of this standard.
The Pharisees strongly advocate for traditional order. All power flows from David. They can’t conceive of an earthly ruler with more power than their greatest king, nor can they accept the idea of a heavenly ruler coming to earth. The last point seems crucial since the Pharisees know Jesus is speaking about himself and they do not want to admit they stand on the wrong side of the argument, in opposition to God’s chosen Messiah. Jesus has silenced them. After this devastating defeat, the Pharisees decide that Jesus has to die.

Holy God, guide us by your Spirit that we may never find ourselves in a position opposite your beloved Son. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 22:34-46

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Lectionary Week
October 23–29, 2017
Scripture Overview

Deuteronomy 34 narrates Moses’ death and Joshua’s succession, both the end of Moses’ life and the continuation of his influence. Psalm 90 is ascribed to Moses, and the tone suits the setting portrayed in Deuteronomy 34. In First Thessalonians Paul continues his recollection of the relationship between himself and the Thessalonians. Paul and his coworkers acted out their love of neighbor, a love that is possible only because of their prior love of God. The Gospel places Jesus in a setting of controversy with the religious leaders of the day. The exchange about the greatest commandment demonstrates that the religious authorities in fact observe none of the commandments because of their inability to understand properly what Jesus calls the “ rst” and “second” commandments.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Deuteronomy 34:1-12. How is God speaking to you about your life? What endings seem imminent? What new beginning is God forming you for?
• Read Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17. Notice all the references to time. How do you experience time when you perceive God’s work in your life? How do you measure time when God seems absent?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8. What relationship is God using to form you spiritually? Who are you tenderly sharing the gospel and yourself with so that God is using you in someone else’s life?
• Read Matthew 22:34-46. The writer states, “It is impossible to love God without also loving those created in God’s image.” What are the implications of this statement on your life? the life of your church?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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