DAILY DISCIPLINE #178
By Colleen Donahue
In chapter 21 of Matthew Jesus has been on the offensive against the Jewish leaders. He told them the parable of the two sons and those leaders were like the unsatisfactory son. He told them the parable of the tenant farmers that were wicked and again the Jewish leaders saw themselves in that story. Finally came the parable of the condemned guests at the king's wedding feast for his son. Again they saw that they were the condemned guests.
It was time for the Jewish leaders to strike back. They did so with first the Pharisees and Herodians together, then the Sadducees and finally another Pharisee who was "an expert in the law". Their aim was to discredit Jesus in front of the people by asking Him what they felt were trick quesions. As we study the Lord's responses we'll learn that while we are citizens of this world we are at the same time citizens of Heaven and that makes a big difference as we live our life. Let's look in this study at the concept of .....
Studies continued from Matthew 22:15-46
Day 1- In round one of Jesus and the Jewish leaders they dealt with the issue of the poll tax. One denarius was paid by each man and woman to Rome from 12-65 years of age. Was it lawful to pay this tax?
Matthew 22: 15-17
If Jesus had said, "No", they would have turned Him right over to the Roman authorities as a seditious person. Arrest would soon follow. If he said, "Yes" Jesus would discredit himself with many Jews. They hated this tax and resented paying it. God alone was their king and paying this tax to Caesar galled them.
But Jesus, knowing their trickery, answered with an important principle that concerns us today as well.
Matthew 22: 18-22
Day 2- This is the principle of dual citizenship. The Jews were God's chosen people -- a part of a theocracy with God as their king. But like it or not, they had also become part of the Roman empire with Caesar as the king. Today, if we have committed our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ then we are part of the Kingdom of God. But each of us reading this also live as citizens of a country here on earth. So each of us have civic duties as well as our duty to God. They don't need to clash and indeed won't most of the time. Often a good king will want his citizens to honor God as well.
Ezra 7: 21-26
Day 3- What did the early New Testament leaders remind the people to do?
Titus 3:1 / 1 Peter 2:13-17
In Christ's time anyone that became a ruler would immediately put his face on the coinage. This was the sign of kingship and the coin was actually the property of the image stamped on it. So Christ's wise answer directed the people without dishonoring God.
Day 4- While being a citizen of both kingdoms don't need to clash we must keep in mind that the rules and principles in one kingdom don't necessarily transfer to the other. This was the error that the Sadducees made when they asked Jesus their trick question. Their question started from a basic error.
Matthew 22: 23-32
The Sadducees were the wealthy, aristocratic ruling class such as the chief priests. They only held to the Pentateuch as scripture (the first 5 books of the Bible) and didn't recognize the prophets or poetical books. They denied any life after death. The question they posed dealt with Levirite marriage.
Deuteronomy 25: 5-6
This question was meant to reduce the doctrine of the resurrection of the body to absurdity. God's law given through Moses were for life on earth, but the Sadducees assumed that earth's laws translated to Heaven. Heaven is not going to be just an extension of earth.
Day 5- Why were the Sadducees clouded in their understanding of all of this?
Read again in the same verse why ignorance was so deep seated in them.
Day 6- The Sadducees had taken bits and pieces of scripture to form their own opinion and doctrine. What description did they fit?
Proverbs 18: 2
Day 7- A final test for Jesus came from a Pharisee -- "an expert in the law". It is perhaps not so much a test to trip Jesus as it was a genuine desire to hear how Jesus would answer seeing that He had answered so well on the other questions.
Matthew 22: 34-36 / Mark 12: 28
Day 8- Without needing to think any length of time, Jesus lays out a complete definition of religion that falls into two parts. Here is the first.
Matthew 22: 37-38
Religion consists in a complete dedication of our life to God with love for Him as its base.
Day 9- If the first part is solid in our lives then the second part of religion must follow the first.
Matthew 22: 39-40
When we love our fellowmen we prove that we love God. For all men are made in the image of God.
Genesis 1: 26-27
Day 10- With these two laws the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Men are tied together. Love is the true test of sonship. If we do not love the people God has put into our life (whom the Bible calls our neighbors) then what is also true?
1 John 3:10, 14-16 / 1 John 4: 7-8, 11
Day 11- How do we know if we are loving God with our whole heart and soul and mind? As you read these verses write down each specific thing mentioned and notice the similarities.
Deuteronomy 10:12 / Deuteronomy 11:1 / Joshua 22:5 / Psalm 119:2 / Proverbs 3:5
Day 12- King Solomon summed up the whole duty of man in this verse.
To fear God here doesn't mean to be afraid of him. It means a reverential respect and love for God.
Day 13- If you say, "Yes I do have a love and respect for God, but how do I know if I am keeping ALL of his commandments?" The answer takes you back to Christ's summary of the whole matter.
Matthew 22: 37-39
For the first part of this summary Jesus is quoting from:
But the second part about loving your neighbor was a new addition.
John 15: 34-35
The point is, that keeping all of God's commands fall under these two umbrellas of loving God and our neighbor which are easy to remember. St. Augustine said once, "Love God and do what you want." When we truly love God and others we do what is right by them and thus fulfill the law of Christ.
Day 14- These rounds of questioning end with Jesus asking the Pharisees a final one and their quick response.
Matthew 22: 41-42
The term "Son of David" was the most common name for Messiah. Messiah was the one that would come to lead the Jewish people into victory over their enemies and ultimately conquer the nations. Jesus in his response to their quick answer is trying to get them to think in new terms.
Matthew 22: 43-45
Day 15- The Old Testament scripture (accepted as Messianic text) that Jesus leads them back to is where David, guided by the Holy Spirit says....
The first Lord mentioned is God the Father, the second Lord is the Messiah. If David is calling the Messiah "Lord" then the Messiah must be God's Son and not the other way around.
Day 16- A little later in Matthew's gospel Jesus is confronted directly by the high priests.....
"Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God!" How does Jesus respond?
Matthew 26: 63b - 64
Day 17- Jesus did not want the Jews to think of the Messiah in terms of an earthly kingdom. That is what King David had and he was revered for all his conquests. But Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God. From these verses, write down how the Kingdom of God will differ from any kingdoms established by men on earth.
Exodus 15: 18 / 2 Chronicles 20:6 / Isaiah 9: 6-7 / John 23: 5 / Daniel 7:14 / John 18: 37
Day 18- Christ's reign will not be measured in terms of earthly conquests. It will be measured in terms of divine and sacrificial love.
John 3: 13-17 / John 15:9 / Ephesians 2:4-5 / 1 John 3:16
And how will this affect us?
Colossians 3: 1-17
Day 19- When we accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah and His sacrificial death on our behalf, then the rules for all of life are changed as we "take off the old self and put on the new." (Colossians 3:9b-10a)
Christ's wisdom had put an end to this "trial by trick questions."
Matthew 22: 46
Jesus Christ has poured out His love by his sacrifice on the cross so that all of us can approach God the Father as His children. If you still have questions then ask God to show you the truth of his Son -- who is YOUR messiah.
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