October 3, 2021 A+D
St. Matthew 22: 34-46
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus is the God of the living, not of the dead. The Sadducees, like the dead and like the guards at the tomb, are silenced by this. So the Pharisees discern an opportunity. This is their chance. They will not only take down the upstart Rabbi who is misleading the people, but they will also demonstrate their intellectual and spiritual superiority to the Sadducees. One of them sets a clever trap. He will engage Jesus in a debate about the Law. These guys can talk about the law for days on end and never get anywhere or come to any conclusion. But it fails completely. Jesus answers too well. He ends the debate before it begins. And then, like the Sadducess before them, the Pharisees are silenced.
But Jesus doesn’t want them silenced. He wants them to actually read the Bible carefully, deeply. He wants them to speak about the Law and the Messiah piously, reverently, and intelligently. He wants them to embrace and embody the compassion of God and the mercy that endures forever. Therefore He asks a question of His own. Unlike the Lawyer’s question, it is not a trap. He is not throwing down a gauntlet or entering into a contest. He simply asks, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
They say “The Son of David.” That isn’t false, but it is not the full truth. A partial truth is often more damaging than a full falsehood. So Jesus asks another question. He means to lead them to green pastures: “How is it then that David, not according to his lust or his pride, but in the Spirit, calls His Son, His Lord?”
All of the Law and the Prophets hang on the twofold command and duty of mankind: love God and love neighbor. If this moral precept is obeyed, the Law is never broken. Perfect morality is obtained. But the two commands, love God and love neighbor, hang on the God is who is love. He loves the world in the giving of His Son, by lifting Him up from the earth on a cross to be roasted alive in His wrath. How is it that this Sacrifice is both a Man, descended from David, bone of our bones and flesh of flesh, weak and mortal, and at the same time the eternal God who created the world, omnipotent and all-wise? That is the question of all questions. It doesn’t silence men, shutting down the conversation, or finally solving some puzzle so that now we may move on. Rather it opens men’s lips to praise God.
Let us then praise God this morning by briefly considering the two natures of Christ. He is our God and our Brother. He fulfills the Law and pours out His Blood to make us His sons and then to strengthen our faith.
Why was it necessary for Christ, Our Lord, to be David’s Son? That is, why is it necessary that Our Christ be a human being, with a body and soul?
Active Obedience: the Law was written for man, not God.
Passive Obedience: the Law’s punishments were written for man, not God.
Shows us how to be men, that is how to love.
Why was it necessary for Christ, Our Lord, to be David’s Lord, that is, why is it necessary that Our Christ be the eternal, uncreated God, equal to the Father and the Spirit?
Sufficient sacrifice for all people, can actually do what He says, make atonement for all and overcome death.
Exaltation: can bring the fruits of His sacrifice to us in real time, as a Man, because He is true God and Man.
Reveals the Father to us men, for only He has seen the Father.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.