“When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.” (Matthew 22:34)
Often when talking about Jesus’ life and ministry the Pharisees and Sadducees get lumped together with the scribes and Jewish leaders making one large group that just could not stand Jesus (with a few exceptions). But as I found out (very easily actually) the Pharisees and Sadducees were two distinct groups, divided by the perspective of spirituality in religion. The Pharisees believed in heaven and hell, demons and angels and all the mystical things that make a faith system spooky and magical. The Sadducees did not. So when the Sadducees got stumped, the Pharisees waded in and tried their hand at stumping Jesus.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 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 greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Verses 35 – 40)
I don’t know if it was more of a Pharisee-type question more so than a Sadducee-type question, or whether it was the fact that a lawyer asked it (imagine that! A lawyer who believed in the mystical!). Whatever the Pharisees hoped to gain by the question, this portion of Matthew does not seem to “give points” to either side. However, Jesus had a question for them.
“Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by 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 David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” (Verses 41 – 45)
It is a sort of mystical supernatural question. How could David say to one that would be his offspring in the future do something that is in the present, or in the past? And, why would David refer to the Messiah as Lord if He were merely a human king that would follow King David? For all of their belief in the mystical component of their faith, they would not nor could not ascribe mystical traits to the Messiah. The biblical commentators I consulted were at pains to make sure I (and you, beloved reader) understood that Jesus was not asking them about himself as Messiah nor what the Messiah was like; but merely from whence did the Messiah come from in the timeline of humanity. The answer is, of course, that the Messiah being Divine is outside and above the timeline of humanity.
“No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.” (Verse 46)
The gospel of Matthew states that the Pharisees (and most probably the Sadducees) did not question Jesus again. But they did not cease their actions against him either. They tried different tactics, sneaky tactics, and underhanded approaches. They did not give up. Nor did they give in and believe. They pursued a course of action that would bring about Jesus’ death.
It is important to know, beloved reader, when you are beaten. To either give up, or give in. But that does not mean abandoning hope. In fact, when it comes to Jesus, it means embracing hope. That Jesus is an irresistible irrefutable Force that has existed for all of recorded time and will exist after all other time comes to an end. Give up trying to disprove faith and the Lordship of Jesus who came from the Divine & is the Divine. Give in to the invitation that the Divine gives to all humanity. Allow yourself to be transformed.
May you, beloved reader, come to Jesus anew and be renewed; and may you be blessed with all the “toys” of heaven! Shalom & Selah!