This past weekend at Eastbrook, as we continues our preaching series during Lent entitled “Scandalous Jesus,” we looked at the final two in a series of questions-answer exchanges Jesus has in Jerusalem. Found in Matthew 22:34-46, Jesus first responds to a question about the greatest commandment from a Pharisee (22:34-40) and then poses His own question from Psalm 110 about whose son the Messiah is (22:41-45).
These questions bring us to an encounter with the question of Jesus we all must answer: “Who do you say I am?”
This message is from the ninth part of our longer journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” “Who Do You Say I Am?“, “‘Tis the Reason,” and “Jesus Said What?!“
“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’” (Matthew 22:35-36)
Questions and Jesus
The context of the questions: “the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words” (Matthew 22:15)
Question 1: Pharisees – “should we pay the Roman poll tax?” (22:16-22)
Question 2: Sadducees – “how does marriage work in the resurrection?” (22:23-33)
Question 3: Pharisees – “which is the greatest commandment?” (22:34-40)
Question 4: Jesus – “whose son is the Messiah?” (22:41-45)
The end of the questions: “from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions” (22:46)
Which is the Greatest Commandment? (22:34-40)
The nature of the question
- This was a common question
- Other answers given
- The centrality of love (not just certain activities)
- Drawn from the Torah (not elsewhere)
- Summarizing two tables of the Decalogue (relationship to God and others)
- The uniqueness of Jesus’ answer (no clear parallels)
Responding to Jesus’ teaching on the Greatest Commandment
Whose Son is the Messiah? (22:41-45)
The question Jesus brings
The context of Psalm 110 (echoes in the book of Hebrews)
The typical answer that Jesus sets aside
The redefining of the Messiah in Jesus
Responding to the identity of Jesus
This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:
- Memorize Matthew 22:37-40
- Dig deeper into this theme of love for God and love for others by reading 1 Corinthians 13 or 1 John (the entire book). What do these portions of Scripture tell you about God’s love and the calling to love others?
- Read Psalm 110 or the epistle of Hebrews to more deeply understand how Jesus comes as the answer to all Israel’s messianic longings.
- Consider reading Scot McKnight’s book The Jesus Creed for a deeper dive into Jesus’ distinctive teaching on the greatest commandment.