September 22, 2008 - Monday of the 18th Week after Trinity

Today's Reading: Matthew 22:34-46

Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 7:1-4; 8:1-18; 1Timothy 5:1-16

And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask Him any more question. (Matthew 22:46)

Ask a Law question and you will get a Law answer from Jesus, and even more than you expected. The Pharisees were playing tag team with the Sadducees, with whom they had little in common except that they both wanted to trap Jesus in His own words with their questions.

“Which is the great commandment in the Torah?” the Pharisee asked Jesus. They saw 613 laws in the Torah, so which did Jesus think was the greatest one? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” Jesus says. This is the first great commandment. And there’s a second, though no one asked for it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The entire Torah and prophets hang on these two.

Now it was Jesus’ turn. “What do you think of the Christ? How can He be both David’s son and David’s Lord?” On this question hangs forgiveness, life, and salvation.

The Pharisees, according to their tradition, were interested in keeping commandments as the way of the Torah. And in their preoccupation with commandment-keeping (what St. Paul calls the “righteousness of works”) they were in danger of missing the key and central figure of the Torah and the Prophets, the One to whom Moses and the Prophets pointed and prefigured, namely the Christ, the Messiah, whom they were questioning.

We have many questions, too, many of them like the Pharisee’s. Is this a sin? Is that a sin? What can I get away with? How much? How little? Which is the greatest? But Jesus would turn our questioning minds and heart toward Him and His death and resurrection, the Christ of God come in our flesh to save us from our sin, from our death, from the condemnation of the commandments. And from our endless religious questions.

No one dared ask Jesus any more questions after that day. He is the end of all questions, and the beginning of all praise, for He is the Christ, the Son of David, the Son of God. He came to save you.

Lord Jesus, teach us to confess You and grant that we trust You, for Your Name’s sake. Amen.