Matthew 22:15-46 | Shaun LePage | November 11, 2007
A. Writing a book on evangelism built around 3 new methods (try these out on 3 of you): 1) Unbiblical view of God say, “You don’t understand God!”; 2) Tell people “You’re wrong—don’t understand Bible!”; 3) Frequently say to people, “You hypocrite!”
B. Actually not new—how Jesus dealt with religious leaders of His day; makes me nervous—I’ve been taught and taught (early on) not to bother with some; not to debate, not to fight.
C. As I read Matthew 22:15-46, I wrote this question: Why bother to debate these clowns? He had refused to answer them before; few days “silent, like a lamb to slaughter”; Why now?
D. Context: entered Jerusalem, presented as King, Son of David, Messiah, cleansed temple, cursed fig tree; authority challenged—told 3 parables (1-rejected Father’s messenger; 2-are rejecting the Son; 3-will reject the Holy Spirit-led apostles and church); read 21:42-46
II. Body—Matthew 22:15-46 (typical Rabbinical debate; questions and answers)
A. Question 1: Give taxes? (15-17)
1. (15)“Plotted” rather than repent; “Trap” rather than seeking truth
2. (16) “Pharisees (disciples) with Herodians” only thing in common, hatred for Jesus; “truth talk” (“…You are truthful…way of God in truth…defer to no one…not partial”) perfect picture of “hypocrite” (wearing mask), but motives to “plot…trap”
3. (17) “Poll-tax to Caesar”—the “trap”! If “no king but God” Herodians could arrest; if “pro-Caesar” it would end His ministry / following (“head tax” Lu 2 census; not largest tax, but most resented; paid for occupying forces); trap—2 cups iocane powder
B. Answer 1: Yes, but give the real King the real treasure! (18-22)
1. (18) “Jesus perceived their malice” (NIV “evil intent”) didn’t stop being omniscient; knew they were “testing”; called “hypocrites”—clearest description in 23:27 (preview)
2. (19-20) “Show Me the coin…denarius”—one day’s wage for working man; “Whose likeness and inscription?” Laughter! Most offensive coin to Jews [show] back shows Caesar seated on throne, dressed in robes, inscription: “High Priest”; first emperor Augustus (“son of God”) minted a denarius in honor of his father (still in circulation) w/ comet “The Divine Julius”; Confident their trap had worked, shouted “Caesar’s”
3. (21) Laughter and celebration screeched to halt with v.22; “render” (pay back) to Caesar…to God the things that are God’s”—Jesus taught obey authorities (yes, pay taxes!); but Caesar is not God! What are “the things that are God’s”? Ps 24:1; Col 1:16; Caesar’ s image on coin, give it to Caesar—God’s image in humans, give self to God
4. (22) “amazed…went away”—says it all; there was no response
C. Question 2: Whose wife? (23-28)
1. (23) “Sadducees”—key distinction given: “say there is no resurrection”; accepted only Pentateuch as Scripture, found no evidence there for a resurrection
2. (24-28) “questioned”? like “how many angels fit on the head of a pin”; hypothetical situation (based on “levirate marriage” practice which made sure a man’s name was carried on) that mocked resurrection; didn’t even really expect an answer
D. Answer 2a: Stupid question. (29-30)
1. (29) Stupid = ignoring / neglecting Scriptures and didn’t understand power of God;
2. (30) explanation new revelation: We—like angels—don’t marry in heaven; for this life
E. Answer 2b: There is a resurrection! (31-33)
1. (31-32) The real point: There is a resurrection! Points to Ex 3:6 (Pentateuch!); “God of the living”—though Abraham, Isaac & Jacob are “dead” actually alive somewhere, awaiting the resurrection (Note: biblical argument based on tense of a word)
2. (33) “Crowds…astonished”—important: crowds listening to this exchange (more later)
F. Question 3: Greatest Commandment? (34-36) “Pharisees” back; “testing” again; great ?
G. Answer 3: First, Love God; Second, Love Neighbor (37-40)
1. (37-38) No rebuke—straightforward answer: “Love the Lord your God with all…heart…soul…mind…”—whole person (“render to God what is God’s”?)
2. (39) “second” unsolicited; Pharisees need to hear this one? Inseparable! Perfect answer
3. (40) “…whole Law and prophets”; 7:12; Rom 13:8; 10 Commandments
H. Question 4: Son Lord? (41-45)
1. (41) Pharisees done? Jesus tired? Jesus took the offensive—“asked them a question”
2. (42) 2-part ?—1st part: basic, no brainer for Pharisees: “Whose son is the Christ”? Once again, the question is: Who is Jesus? His identity as Messiah! Central truth!
3. (43) “son of David”—remember children: “Hosanna to the son of David”? worried?
4. (44-45) To the text, Ps 110—quoted 5 other times in NT; disciples remembered—question: how can “son of David” also be David’s Lord?
I. Answer 4: Silence (46)
1. We know: Messiah would be God incarnate, born of virgin descendant of David
2. Pharisees were silent. “No one was able to answer Him a word…”; Not understand? Did they see His point but refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah? What about you?
A. Again, why did Jesus fight? Eccl 3:7: “..a time to be silent and a time to speak…”; requires wisdom—no one modeled better than Jesus; This was time to speak—5 Reasons:
1. For His own sake— silenced enemies to establish His authority and identity, reveal innocence; He was King/Messiah—leaders rejected the clear evidence provided by HS;
2. For the hypocrites’ sake—still time to turn; many “wear mask” of truth seeker / spiritual, but teachers more accountable; James 3:1; 2 Cor 2:15-17 (some “peddling the Word”—not most entertaining preacher, but I will “speak in Christ in the sight of God”; don’t be surprised; don’t pretend we can have unity with everyone)
3. For His disciples’ sake—soon send to “make disciples” in His “authority”; Debate taught truth is vital part of mission, Jesus is central truth; silence false teachers
4. For the crowds’ sake (v.33); innocent by-standers needed Jesus to expose these false teachers; 3,000 added at Pentecost were in those crowds; perhaps the best reason to boldly speak up when false teachers / hypocrites are spreading misinformation.
5. For our sake Matthew: who Jesus really was/is! Jesus stood up to false teachers, brought debate down to primary issue: Himself! Nothing to be afraid of in proclaiming good news to the arrogant, anti-God culture around us. Don’t overestimate the pagan community—they ain’t that smart! We don’t have to fear their questions and arguments—just distractions; attempts to avoid the real subject: Jesus Christ! King, Lord, Savior, God—the only Solution to our sin and the only hope of salvation.
B. Don’t say “hypocrite”; careful with “you’re wrong” (not sovereign / omniscient) but church is “pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15)—we must speak! Abraham Kuyper: “When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” (in Counterfeit Revival, p.11)—False teaching “winning the day”; 2 Pet 3:15; “silenced”?
C. There is a time to be silent and there is a time to speak. God help us to keep our mouths shut when it is time for silence. And God help us to be prepared and then be bold when silence is sin and speaking is our calling.