The Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 22:41-23:12; Mark 12:35-40; Luke 20:41-47

A Taste of Their Own Medicine

Jesus has now responded to three questions in a row, four counting the earlier one about his authority.  After he answers, we read that the people marveled or were astonished at his teaching.  Indeed, after his last answer concerning the great commandment, we read that no one dared ask him any more questions.

But Jesus had a question to ask them.  Interestingly, it seems like an academic question, something a teacher would ask in seminary class.  I say, interestingly, because we expect Jesus to ask a practical question like the lawyer did in the passage just before.  So what is the purpose of Jesus’ question?  I suggest that one purpose is to teach something about the Messiah that the scribes and Pharisees had ignored (which makes the question practical), but, second, to publicly stump the Pharisees in order to: a) give them a taste of their own medicine as they had just finished drilling him, and, b) to humble them before the people.  As to the first purpose, Jesus asks the Pharisees, “What do you think about the Christ?  Whose son is he?”  They answer, as any Jewish schoolboy of that day would, “The Son of David.”  Jesus responds quoting Psalm 110:1: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.’”  And then Jesus asks the logical question following the Pharisees’ earlier reply, “If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”

Jesus was not denying that the Messiah would be of David’s lineage, as both genealogies make clear (Matthew 1:6; Luke 3:31), as well as the apostles (Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 5:5; 22:16).  He was adding that divine element which David teaches in the psalm, which element the Jewish leadership misunderstood, seeing the Messiah as more of a national leader.  So Jesus once again declares his divine sonship, but in a veiled way.

But I also believe that Jesus was “taking the Pharisees to school,” as we would say today: “You like to debate minutiae about the law? Here’s one for you.”  And in doing so, he further condemns their hypocrisy: Their tying heavy burdens on people with their excruciating interpretations of the law while they go about in nice clothes, receive flatteries, and crave the honor of men.  Jesus reminds his followers that they must obey where the Pharisees are correct, but are not to copy their manners.  Instead, Jesus’ disciples are to prefer humility over honor and Christ as their teacher.  I imagine the Pharisees pouted, but may we be proud to be “taken to school” by Jesus.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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