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Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #8 Matthew 27:38-44 – The Mob’s Abuse

Matthew 27:38-44 – The Mob’s Abuse

|| Mark 15:27-32; Luke 23:35-37

MT27:38 Two thieves[1] were put on stakes at the same time with Jesus, one to his right and one to his left. MT27:39 Now those traveling passed blasphemed[2] Jesus, wagging their heads,[3] [Psalm 22:7] MT27:40 and calling out, “The person who said ‘tear the Temple down[4] and in three days’ – save yourself! If you are a son of The God come down from the stake.” MT27:41 Also, the religious hierarchy made sport of[5] Jesus. The Scribes and [Jewish] elders said: MT27:42 “He saved others… but he cannot save himself! He is ‘king of Israel’! [If] he comes down from the stake we will believe in him! MT27:43 He trusted The God![6] Let [God] rescue him if He wants! Because he said,[7] ‘I am Son of The God!’” MT27:44 From their own stakes, even the thieves were reproaching Jesus, saying the very same things.

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[1] Thieves: Or, MON: robbers; PME: bandits.

[2] Blasphemed: The Greek is E-BLASPHEMOUN. Or, KJV: reviled; NEB: hurled abuse; MOF: derision.

[3] Wagging their heads: The Greek is KINOUNTES TAS KEPHALAS. Compare the third century Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX) at Psalm 22:7 – EKINESAN KEPHALEN, “They keep opening their mouths wide, they keep wagging their head.” Psalm 22 foretells a public execution where eyewitnesses make fun and attack the victim.

[4] Tear the Temple down: Clearly the erroneous accusation had spread widely.

[5] Made sport of: Or, MON: kept taunting him; MOF: made fun of him.

[6] He trusted The God: Compare Psalm 22:8, “He committed himself to Yehowah. Let Him provide him with escape!”

[7] Because he said: Mark 15:32 adds, “Let the Christ the King of Israel now come down.” Luke 23:39-43 adds, But one of the hung evildoers began to say abusively to him: “You are the Christ, are you not? Save yourself and us.” In reply the other rebuked him and said: “Do you not fear God at all, now that you are in the same judgment? And we, indeed, justly so, for we are receiving in full what we deserve for things we did; but this [man] did nothing out of the way.” And he went on to say: “Jesus, remember me when you get into your kingdom.” And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (NWT; compare Lamsa)

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Preceding

Death of Christ on the day of preparation

Matthew 27 – The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – Bible Students Intro

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #1 Matthew 27:1-2 – Priests Hand Jesus Over to Pilate

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #2 Matthew 27:3-10 – Judas Hangs Himself

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #3 Matthew 27:11-14 – “Are You King of the Jews?”

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #4 Matthew 27:15-23 – Barabbas or Jesus?

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #5 Matthew 27:24-26 – “His Blood Come Upon Us!”

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #6 Matthew 27:27-31 – Jesus Afflicted by Troops

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #7 Matthew 27:32-37 – Executed at Golgotha

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Related articles

  1. Answer the Question!
  2. Forgiveness Beyond Comprehension
  3. The Death of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:32 – 44; Mark 15:21 – 32; Luke 23:26 – 43; John 19:17 – 27)
  4. Matthew 27:33-54
  5. NTBDC: Matthew 27:44 How can we harmonize Matthew who says both thieves reviled Jesus while Luke says one thief reviled and the other defended Jesus?
  6. Jesus, remember us.
  7. Psalm 22, Part 2
  8. Psalm 22:7
  9. Psalm 22:8
  10. The ‘Good’ Criminal (Shepherd’s Echo)
  11. Musings on Christianity 20
  12. You Will Be with Me in Paradise

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #3 Matthew 27:11-14 – “Are You King of the Jews?”

Matthew 27:11-14 – “Are You King of the Jews?”

|| Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:2-5; John 18:28-38a

MT27:11 When Jesus stood in front of the governor, Pilate inquired of him, asking, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered: “You said it.”[1] MT27:12 In the process of being accused by the religious hierarchy and [Jewish] elders, Jesus would not answer MT27:13 Then Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you not listening to how much they are testifying[2] against you?” MT27:14 Still Jesus did not answer Pilate with a single word. Pilate began to marvel very much[3] about Jesus.

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[1] You said it: See notes at Matthew 26:25.

[2] How much they are testifying: Or, RIEU: do you not hear what a case they are building up; WEY: mass of evidence. Mark 15:3 adds, “… the chief priests proceeded to accuse him of many things.”

[3] To marvel very much: RIEU: leaving him completely at a loss; NEB: great astonishment. John 18:34-38 adds, Jesus answered: “Is it of your own originality that you say this, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate answered: “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you up to me. What did you do?” Jesus answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Therefore Pilate said to him: “Well, then, are you a king?” Jesus answered: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him: “What is truth?” (NWT)

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Preceding

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #13 Matthew 26:59-68 – False Witnesses and the Charge of Blasphemy

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #14 Matthew 26:69-75 – Peter’s Denial

Matthew 27 – The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – Bible Students Intro

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #1 Matthew 27:1-2 – Priests Hand Jesus Over to Pilate

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #2 Matthew 27:3-10 – Judas Hangs Himself

Next

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #4 Matthew 27:15-23 – Barabbas or Jesus?

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #5 Matthew 27:24-26 – “His Blood Come Upon Us!”

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #6 Matthew 27:27-31 – Jesus Afflicted by Troops

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #7 Matthew 27:32-37 – Executed at Golgotha

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Additional reading

  1. What is the truth asked also Pontius Pilate

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Related articles

  1. Broken Beyond Repair
  2. Matthew 27
  3. Preview: Jesus’ Trial Before Pilate
  4. Matthew 27: The Death of Jesus. The Triptych Enigma.
  5. Pilate Questions Jesus (Matthew 27:11 – 14; Mark 15:1 – 5; Luke 23:1 – 4; John 18:28 – 38)
  6. Pontius Pilate Who Was He?
  7. Pontius Pilate
  8. Pontius Pilate’s Politics
  9. Another Son of God? Pilate’s Tiberieum at Caesarea Maritima
  10. Defense
  11. The King of the Jews
  12. Mark 15:12
  13. Behold the King
  14. King Of The Jews
  15. Behold Your King!
  16. Matthew 2 – More Oddities. Already Fulfilled Prophecies?
  17. K is for King of the Jews

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:31: The Son of man shall come in his glory

“ “Further, when the glorious Son of Humankind returns with all his angels, at that time he will sit down upon his glorious throne of judgment.” (Mt 25:31 mhm)

See Calvin_Bible 05094

Matthew 25:31. Now when the Son of man shall come in his glory.

Christ follows out the same doctrine, and what he formerly described under parables, he now explains clearly and without figures. The sum of what is said is, that believers, in order to encourage themselves to a holy and upright conduct, ought to contemplate with the eyes of faith the heavenly life, which, though it is now concealed, will at length be manifested at the last coming of Christ. For, when he declares that, when he shall come with the angels, then will he sit on the throne of his glory, he contrasts this last revelation with the disorders and agitations of earthly warfare; as if he had said, that he did not appear for the purpose of immediately setting up his kingdom, and therefore that there was need of hope and patience, lest the disciples might be discouraged by long delay. Hence we infer that this was again added, in order that the disciples, being freed from mistake about immediate and sudden happiness, might keep their minds in warfare till Christ’s second coming, and might not give way, or be discouraged, on account of his absence.

This is the reason why he says that he will then assume the title of King; for though he commenced his reign on the earth, and now sits at the right hand of the Father, so as to exercise the supreme government of heaven and earth; yet he has not yet erected before the eyes of men that throne, from which his divine majesty will be far more fully displayed than it now is at the last day; for that, of which we now obtain by faith nothing more than a taste, will then have its full effect. So then Christ now sits on his heavenly throne, as fir as it is necessary that he shall reign for restraining his enemies and protecting the Church; but then he will appear openly, to establish perfect order in heaven and earth, to crush his enemies under his feet, to assemble his believing people to partake of an everlasting and blessed life, to ascend his judgment-seat; and, in a word, there will be a visible manifestation of the reason why the kingdom was given to him by the Father. He says that he will come in his glory; because, while he dwelt in this world as a mortal man, he appeared in the despised form of a servant. And he calls it his glory, though he elsewhere ascribes it to his Father, but the meaning is the same; for he means simply the divine glory, which at that time shone in the Father only, for in himself it was concealed. {1 }

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{1 } “Pource qu’en Christ elle estoit cachee et ne se monstroit”;  — ” because in Christ it was concealed, and was not exhibited.”

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Preceding

Matthew 25:14-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep Busy until the Parousia

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #1 Matthew 25:31-34

Calvin looking at Matthew 25:1-12: The kingdom of heaven and foolishness

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:15: To every one according to his own ability

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:20: And he who had received five talents

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:24: A harsh man

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

In our previous post you could read how Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives and talked to his disciples who had asked him to tell them when this destruction of the temple, about he talked earlier, would take place, and what would be the sign of his coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?

Jesus answered their question, telling about days or moments and things as the prophets had foretold it, and to make sure that no one would mislead them, but at the same time warns us to be careful not to be deceived and not having us lead into error. (Matthew 24:4) We may not forget that many will so come in Jesus his name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to the sent one from God], saying,

‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. : after the distress of those days, (Matthew 24:5)

Jesus told his disciples that they would continually hear of wars and rumours of wars, and that is also what happened throughout the ages. Several students of the Bible were not at all frightened, because they knew and we know that those things must take place (Matthew 24:6)

Throughout the ages we have seen that nation rose against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Throughout the ages there have always been wars and lots of problems, like droughts, famines, heave destructing storms, earthquakes in various places. Jesus told his disciples generations would encounter such things, but them would all be merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble]. (Matthew 24:7-8)

Jesus told us in advance about many signs which shall occur at certain times. It would be to his followers and readers of the Scriptures to come to know those signs and not to be left in the dark. What should bring us out of the dark is what Jesus further told:

“29 “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Mt 24:29-30 NIV)

Even when the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not provide its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken it should not be a time of distress for us, whilst it might be for many in this world.

For Students of the Bible it shall be that time to be recognised as the sign of the Son of Man [coming in his glory] for which many of us waited such a long time. For centuries fellow members looked forward for signs to appear in the sky, when they would come to see all the tribes of the earth and especially Israel to come to mourn [regretting their rebellion and rejection of the Messiah] (Matthew 24:30)

We still wait and look forward to that day when we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliance and splendour] (Matthew 24:30). Waiting already such a long time we should not be weary, the return of the Christ is imminent.

When looking at what is going on in the world we may be sure that one day, not so far in the future, the sun will grow dark, and the moon will not give its light, people coming to see the stars falling from the sky [heaven] (Matthew 24:29).

When Jesus was talking about all this he had already told them that he was going to have to go to Jerusalem to have his final days there, because him being betrayed, falsely accused, tried, beaten, and eventually put to death. He had spoken about his reason for his (first) coming to earth. He told about his primary mission being to serve as the sacrificial offering for the sins of mankind. Having told them that he would be killed he also assured them that this would not be the end of him, because he would be restored to life and there would come a day when he would return to earth a second time.
But there was much that would have to take place before that return. And the date of his second appearance was and would be a mystery for many years. He told the disciples,

“No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mt 24:36 NIV)

Yes, even Jesus himself did not know the day. He as a son of man, not being like God, an all-knowing god, was in darkness about the moment God would allow him to come back to earth to fulfil his task.

The short time Jesus had his public life, he warned people to return to God and to prepare themselves to be worthy for entering the Kingdom of God, because everybody had to know there would come a day of death, or end of living, and a judgement day, when it would be all too late to change anything. All choices for the way of living have to be made whilst living, so before the moment of death arrives.
Jesus has warned those around him several times,

“ So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Mt 24:44 NIV)

The point Jesus seemed to be making had to do with preparedness. He wanted not only his disciples to live with a sense of eager expectation, anticipating that his return could happen at any moment. Jesus wanted to warn everybody and tried with his many parables to show what the Torah implicated and how there would come a time we would have to come before the Elohim to justify us.

People had to come out of the darkness of the world before another sort of darkness would frighten them even more than all the previous events. This led Jesus to tell a few parables to drive home his point. As such people could hear him tell a story about the wedding banquet or ten virgins who were anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom. In the story, all ten virgins share a common expectation of the bridegroom’s arrival. They are eagerly anticipating his coming, but five of them are prepared, while five are not. In the story, the bridegroom has not shown up as expected. But, as part of the welcoming party, they were to have been ready, because, as Jesus had said, the groom was

“coming at an hour you do not expect.”

With the parable of the fig tree Jesus is attempting to open the eyes of his disciples and wants to help them (and us) develop a long-term perspective regarding his Kingdom. From the books of the Messianic writings (1st and 2nd part of the New Testament) we can clearly see that the apostles were focused on the here-and-now, and having trouble understanding that the talk of their master teacher his coming death in Jerusalem was anything but bad news or something to be avoided at all costs.

This entire 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew contains the surprising and difficult-to-comprehend words of Jesus as he reveals the bigger picture regarding God’s plan of redemption. Jesus’ death on the wooden stake would be just the beginning of the much larger, comprehensive Plan of God. It would also include his resurrection, God calling him out of the hell where he was for three days, as well as his return to his Father’s side. Jesus to be taken up in heaven to sit at the right hand of God. But, even more importantly, it would require his eventual return to earth as the conquering King.

Jesus trusted his God, the God of Abraham, and knew very well his position and his task here on earth. But he also had confidence that what was written in the scrolls all would become a reality. Jesus knew that there would be a long delay before his return would take place, and therefore he wanted to assure his followers that they should not worry too much but should always prepare themselves, always being ready for when the moment would be there.
Jesus wanted his disciples and followers to live with a sense of eager anticipation. If they expected it to happen and kept their eyes open, looking for the signs of its approach, they would be able to endure the struggles that were coming their way.

Jesus used the visual lesson of a fig tree in order to help the disciples understand that there would be visible, recognizable signs associated with His coming. The budding of a fig tree is a natural indication that summer is near. It is unmistakable and irrefutable. In the same way, Jesus stated that the signs of his return will be undeniable. He even assures his disciples that

“ I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Mt 24:34 NIV)

From the Scriptures we do know that Jesus always wanted to do what God wanted. He even put his own will aside to do the will of God. From the Scripturues we also do know that Jesus was without fault, i.e. did not sin and as such always told the truth.

In this chapter he was not saying that the events associated with the end times would take place during the lifetimes of his disciples. But while they were alive, they would already begin to see the early signs of his return. The budding of a fig tree provides a premonition or portent of something to come. The buds do not mean summer has arrived, but that it is coming. In the same way, the disciples would live to see signs that would point to Jesus’ coming.

In a sence they would be alive when he returned, because after his death he appeared to them. But the signs he warned them about would not be then, but much later. Jesus gave those warnings so that those who would come after the disciples could see clear indications that it was going to happen.

Each generation of believers has been given signs that Jesus his coming is imminent and inevitable. These signs act as assurances of God’s faithfulness and are meant to encourage us to continue to wait eagerly and hopefully.

The earth would continue to go through all kinds of struggles, including earthquakes, famines, floods, disasters, and even wars. The apostle Paul reminded the believers in Corinth:

“ those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1Co 7:31 NIV)

The apostle John wrote,

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.” (1Jo 2:17 NIV)

This gives already something to have hope for. Because even when we die, there shall be the prospect for that time coming, when Jesus would call the living and the death to raise and to come before his judgement seat. When having lived according to God’s Law the lover of God should not have to worry, because all promises of God shall come true.

In this world of darkness, not many intereted in the Only One True God, Who is One, for many, the second coming of Jesus will be a surprise. Because the majority not being interested in God, His commands nor His Words, the second coming of Christ will catch the majority of people living on earth at the time completely off-guard and unprepared.
Jesus used the days of Noah as an apt point of comparison. In a way, Noah’s building of the ark was a clear sign that something was coming. And Peter seems to indicate that Noah warned his neighbours of God’s coming judgment and the availability of salvation made possible by the ark.

“ if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;” (2Pe 2:5 NIV)

From the Scriptures history telling we know that the people in Noah’s day ignored the signs and refused the message of Noah. Instead, they busied themselves, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark (Matthew 24:38). Like in the days of Noah, today we also see how people continue their way of life like they want to enjoy life. They go on with their lives, oblivious to the warning signs and ignorant of what is about to happen. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that the same thing as in Noah’s time was going to happen when he finally shall return. It would catch the world unprepared and completely off-guard.

Let us make sure we are prepared!

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

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Find also to read

  1. Today’s thought “They flattered … they lied” (February 14)
  2. Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
  3. Will There Ever be Peace on Earth?
  4. Looking into the Future
  5. Looking forward for what is to come
  6. The resurrected Lord
  7. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  8. Jesus Christ will return to earth
  9. You know neither the day nor the hour
  10. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
  11. The New Testament and Judgement
  12. Prophecies over coming days
  13. Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
  14. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  15. Signs of the Last Days
  16. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  17. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  18. Today’s thought “Sun, moon and stars” (January 22)
  19. Today’s thought “And they feared greatly” (February 6)
  20. Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
  21. To be prepared and very well oiled
  22. Preparing for his coming
  23. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  24. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  25. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  26. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  27. As you see the Day approaching
  28. The Rapture Wars
  29. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  30. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 3 Mythic theme 2 Hebrew story of the flood
  31. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 12 Corrupted earth
  32. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 13 Noah’s ark and the flood
  33. Today’s thought “A Damaged and Wicked World” (January 03)
  34. Today’s thought “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark” (January 04)

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Ordeal of questions {Matthew 22:15-46 }

II —The Ordeal of questions. {#Mt 22:15-46 }

The open challenge has failed; but more subtle weapons may succeed. The Pharisees have found it of no avail to confront their enemy; but they may still be able to entangle Him. They will at all events try. They will spring upon Him some hard questions, of such a kind that, answering on the spur of the moment, He will be sure to compromise Himself.

1. The first shall be one of those semi-political semi-religious questions on which feeling is running high — the lawfulness or unlawfulness of paying tribute to Caesar. The old Pharisees who had challenged His authority keep in the background, that the sinister purpose of the question may not appear; but they are represented by some of their disciples who, coming fresh upon the scene and addressing Jesus m terms of respect and appreciation, may readily pass for guileless inquirers. They were accompanied by some Herodians, whose divergence of view on the point made it all the more natural that they should join with Pharisees in asking the question; for it might fairly be considered that they had been disputing with one another in regard to it, and had concluded to submit the question to His decision as to one who would be sure to know the truth and fearless to tell it. So together they come with the request:

“Master, we know that Thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest Thou for any man: for Thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest Thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”

But they cannot impose upon Him:

“Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?”

Having thus unmasked them, without a moment’s hesitation He answers them. They had expected a “yes” or a “no”—a “yes” which would have set the people against Him, or better still a “no” which would have put Him at the mercy of the government. But, avoiding Scylla on the one hand, and Charybdis on the other, He makes straight for His goal by asking for a piece of coin and calling attention to Caesar’s stamp upon it. Those who use Caesar’s coin should not refuse to pay Caesar’s tribute; but, while the relation which with their own acquiescence they sustain to the Roman emperor implied corresponding obligations in the sphere it covered, this did not at all interfere with what is due to the King of kings and Lord of lords, in Whose image we all are made, and Whose superscription every one of us bears:

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Thus He not only avoids the net they had spread for Him, and gives them the very best answer to their question, but, in doing so, He lays down a great principle of far-reaching application and permanent value respecting the difficult and much-to-be-vexed question as to the relations between Church and State. “O answer full of miracle!” as one had said. No wonder that

“when they had heard these words they marvelled, and left Him, and went their way.”

2. Next come forward certain Sadducees. That the Pharisees had an understanding with them also seems likely from what is said both in ver. 15, which seems a general introduction to the series of questions, and in ver. 34, from which it would appear that they were somewhere out of sight, waiting to hear the result of this new attack. Though the alliance seems a strange one, it is not the first time that common hostility to the Christ of God has drawn together the two great rival parties. {see #Mt 16:1 } If we are right in supposing them to be in combination now, it is a remarkable illustration of the deep hostility of the Pharisees that they should not only combine with the Sadducees against Him, as they had done before, but that they should look with complacency on their using against Him a weapon which threatened one of their own doctrines. For the object of the attack was to cast ridicule on the doctrine of the resurrection, which assuredly the Pharisees did not deny.

The difficulty they raise is of the same kind as those which are painfully familiar in these days, when men of coarse minds and fleshly imaginations show by their crude objections their incapacity even to think on spiritual themes. The case they supposed was one they knew He could not find fault with so far as this world was concerned, for everything was done in accordance with the letter of the law of Moses, the inference being that whatever confusion there was in it must belong to what they would call His figment of the resurrection:

“In the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”

It is worthy of note that our Lord’s-answer is much less stern than in the former case. These men were not hypocrites. They were scornful, perhaps flippant; but they were not intentionally dishonest. The difficulty they felt was due to the coarseness of their minds, but it was a real difficulty to them. Our Lord accordingly gives them a kindly answer, not denouncing them, but calmly showing them where they are wrong:

“Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Ye know not the power of God, or ye would not suppose that the life to come, would be a mere repetition of the life that now is, with all its fleshly conditions the same as now. That there is continuity of life is of course implied in the very idea of resurrection, but true life resides not in the flesh, but in the spirit, and therefore the continuity will be a spiritual continuity; and the power of God will effect such changes on the body itself that it will rise out of its fleshly condition into a state of being like that of the angels of God. The thought is the same as that which was afterwards expanded by the apostle Paul in such passages as #Ro 8:5-11, 1Co 15:35-54.

Ye know not the Scriptures, or you would find in the writings of Moses from which you quote, and to which you attach supreme importance, evidence enough of the great doctrine you deny.

“Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?”

Here, again, Jesus not only answers the Sadducees, but puts the great and all-important doctrine of the life to come and the resurrection of the body on its deepest foundation. There are those who have expressed astonishment that He did not quote from some of the later prophets, where He could have found passages much clearer and more to the point: but not only was it desirable that, as they had based their question on Moses, He should give His answer from the same source; but in doing so He has put the great truth on a permanent and universal basis; for the argument rests not on the authority of Moses, nor, as some have supposed, upon the present tense “I am,” but on the relation between God and His people. The thought is that such a relation between mortal man and the eternal God as is implied in the declaration

“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”

is itself a guarantee of immortality. Not for the spirit only, for it is not as spirits merely, but as men that we are taken into relation to the living God; and that relation, being of God, must share His immortality:

“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

The thought is put in a very striking way in a well-known passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews:

“But now they the patriarchs desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.”

Our Lord’s answer suggests the best way of assuring ourselves of this glorious hope. Let God be real to us, and life and immortality will be real too. If we would escape the doubts of old Sadducee and new Agnostic, we must be much with God, and strengthen more and more the ties which bind us to Him.

3. The next attempt of the Pharisees is on an entirely new line. They have found that they cannot impose upon Him by sending pretended inquirers to question Him. But they have managed to lay their hands on a real inquirer now — one of themselves, a student of the law, who is exercised on a question much discussed, arid to which very different answers are given; they will suggest to him to carry his question to Jesus and see what He will say to it. That this was the real state of the case appears from the fuller account in St. Mark’s Gospel. When, then, St. Matthew speaks of him as asking Jesus a question, “tempting Him,” we are not to impute the same sinister motives as actuated those who sent him. He also was in a certain sense tempting Jesus — i.e., putting Him to the test, but with no sinister motive, with a real desire to find out the truth, and probably also to find out if this Jesus was one who could really help an inquirer after truth. In this spirit, then, he asks the question,

“Which is the great commandment in the law?”

The answer our Lord immediately gives is now so familiar that it is difficult to realise how great a thing it was to give it for the first time. True, He takes it from the Scriptures; but think what command of the Scriptures is involved in this prompt reply. The passages quoted lie far apart — the one in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, the other in the nineteenth of Leviticus in quite an obscure corner; and nowhere are they spoken of as the first and second commandments, nor indeed were they regarded as commandments in the usually understood sense of the word. When we consider all this we recognise what from one point of view might be called a miracle of genius, and from another a flash of inspiration, in the instantaneous selection of these two passages, and bringing them together so as to furnish a summary of the law and the prophets beyond all praise which the veriest unbeliever, if only he have a mind to appreciate that which is excellent, must recognise as worthy of being written in letters of light. That one short answer to a sudden question—asked indeed by a true man, but really sprung upon Him by His enemies who were watching for His halting—is of more value in morals than all the writings of all the ethical philosophers, from Socrates to Herbert Spencer.

It is now time to question the questioners. The opportunity is most favourable. They are gathered together to hear what He will say to their last attempt to entangle Him. Once more He has not only met the difficulty, but has done so in such a way as to make the truth on the subject in dispute shine with the very light of heaven. There could not, then, be a better opportunity of turning their thoughts in a direction which might lead them, if possible in spite of themselves, into the light of God.

The question Jesus asks (vv. 41-45) is undoubtedly a puzzling one for them; but it is no mere Scripture conundrum. The difficulty in which it lands them is one which, if only they would honestly face it, would be the means of removing the veil from their eyes, and leading them, ere it is too late, to welcome the Son of David come in the name of the Lord to save them. They fully accepted the psalm to which He referred as a psalm of David concerning the. Messiah. If, then, they would honestly read that psalm they would see that the Messiah when He comes must be, not a mere earthly monarch, as David was, but a heavenly monarch, one who should sit on the throne of God and bring into subjection the enemies of the kingdom of heaven. If only they would take their ideas of the Christ from the Scriptures which were their boast, they could not fail to see Him standing now before them. For we must remember that they had not only the words He spoke to guide them. They had before them the Messiah Himself, with the light of heaven in His eye, with the love of God in His face; and had they had any love for the light, they would have recognised Him then — they would have seen in Him, whom they had often heard of as David’s Son, the Lord of David, and therefore the Lord of the Temple, and the heavenly King of Israel. But they love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil: therefore their hearts remain unchanged, the eyes of their spirit unopened; they are only abashed and silenced:

“No man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”

+

Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 22:15-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Caesar’s Things and God’s Things

Matthew 22:23-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sadducees Question on the Resurrection

Matthew 22:29-33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Resurrection Proof from Moses

Matthew 22:34-40 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Which Is the Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

Additional readings to Matthew 22:41-46

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Marriage Feast {Matthew 22:1-14 }

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