Lesson 96: No More Questions/ Some Words from Jesus
Matt. 22:41-46, 23:1-9, Mark 12:35-40, Luke 20:41-47
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome to lesson #96. We won't take the time to review. I hope to get through Matt. ch. 23. That's a lot of material. So, let's read quickly, Matt. 22:41-46. Are you ready, beginning in Matt. 22:41? "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, HOW then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions." The council committee had approached Jesus first that morning about his authority. Jesus gave the three parables. Then, they tried to trap Jesus in his words. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and then came the lawyer which Jesus said got close to the kingdom. The multitude was spell-bound. Jesus answered, every question of the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. These groups were obviously giving up on their attempt to catch Jesus in his words. It was at that point, Jesus asked the question we just read about David's son. Jesus did not ask this question with the vengeful attitude with which they tried to trap him. But, there is a great principle behind Jesus' question that the Scribes and Pharisees needed to learn. Thus, "while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them" v.41 said. Now, what was the principle Jesus wanted them to think about? While you are thinking about it; let's read Mark and Luke. Mark's account is in Mark 12:35-37, three verses. Please turn there, Mark ch. 12, beginning in v.35, let's read. "And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly." O.K. Luke's account begins in ch. 20, v.41. Luke uses four verses. Luke 20:41 beginning, let's read. "And he said unto them, How say they •that Christ is David's son? And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?"
O.K. the scribes, lawyers and doctors of the law grilled Jesus all morning, trying to stump him. But, Jesus had answered every question, just BANG, BANG, BANG. They concluded it was time to quit, or they would lose credibility. So, as they began to back down, Jesus ask them a soul searching question while he had their attention. They simply couldn't fathom the idea that Jesus was both human and divine. It's the question that bothers the liberal theologians of today. What about you? They looked at Jesus as a man; but did not see him as God. Jesus wanted to show them they were missing that point. When Jesus said, "What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?" He didn't use the •word "Christ" necessarily to refer to himself. The word "Christ" was a title, like the word "king"; it meant "the anointed one of God." David used the word "Lord." They understood that a messiah would come. They understood that David referred to the messiah in the passage Jesus quoted (Psalm 110). They understood he would be a descendant of David, but, they were missing the point that David referred to this same messiah as "Lord." Jesus simply asked the doctors of the law, how could that be? Thus, in answering that question they were forced to see both sides, i.e. the human side as well as the divine side. Jesus' conclusion is stated as a question. Look at Matt. 22:45! "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?" Then (v.46), "no man was able to answer him a word..." You see, it was the divine side of Jesus that was talking to them that day; because, Jesus had not learned those things in the theological schools of Jerusalem. If you remember John 7:15, the Jews marveled that Jesus knew letters, having never learned. Jesus told them: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." It's the same point.
Alright, you need to adjust your thinking TO REALIZE that AT THIS POINT the scribes and the high ranking Jewish leaders left. Then, Jesus began to speak to the common people and to his disciples; which Matthew calls the multitude. Matthew ch. 23 was Jesus' concluding speech on that occasion and was the last public address that Jesus ever made. Mark and Luke used three verses each to abbreviate what Matthew took 39 verses to cover. So, let's read Mark and Luke first and try to get a broad view. Mark's three verses begin in Mark 12:38. This is a summary, let's read beginning in Mark 12:38. "And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the market places, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: which devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation." O.K. on to Luke. That's the last three verses in Luke ch. 20. We'll begin with v.45. Are you ready? Luke 20:45, let's read. "Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; which devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation." O.K. notice that Luke said in v.45, "in the audience of all the people." At this point Jesus began to direct his words to everybody. You see, up until then, the discussion had been a dialogue form. The scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees had asked Jesus questions and Jesus answered. Jesus ask them the question about David's son; but, now Jesus directed his speech to the multitude that had been looking on. It was still Tuesday morning in the temple. As the scribes went marching out in their long flowing robes; Jesus said in essence, you'll have to BEWARE of those people. Jesus pointed to their egotistical attitude. They expected devotion, praise and esteem. They were pretentious. Not only that, they extorted and expropriated the property of little old ladies, widows and destitute people. That's the short version, now let's read Matthew's longer account quote by quote. Matt. ch. 23, beginning in v.l and we'll read down through v.36. Are you ready? Matt. 23:1, let's read. "Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be born, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the alter, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the alter that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the alter, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. Woe unto you,, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zechariah son of Berechiah, whom ye slew between the temple and the alter. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation."
All right, that is not the end of the speech; but, let's break here and come back to this point later. We've already read Mark and Luke's summary of Jesus' speech. The people were obligated to listen to and follow the scribes because they were the only teachers they had. So, Jesus told the people to listen to what they said; but, not to do as the scribes and Pharisees did. Keeping the 10 commandment law was a great yoke; but, the teachers of the law added to the burden, rather than help ease it. Phylacteries are usually thought to be head bands with a bible verse written on it; usually worn on the forehead. Jesus in this sermon condemns the use of robes and special clothing for his disciples and bible teachers. Christians are not to be called "Master" or "Father." For God is our heavenly Father and Christ is our "Master." We are servants of Christ our Master and children of God, our Father (v.7-10). "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant." (v. 11). Do you remember the little speech Jesus gave the apostles after James and John's mother came wanting special favor in Matt. 20:25ff? There is rank among the Gentiles, "But it shall not be so among you." Then here in v.12, Jesus said, "whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." That was the conclusion to the wedding feast parable back in Luke 14:11 in the house of the chief Pharisee. It was also the conclusion to the parable of the Pharisee and publican that went up to the temple to pray (Luke 18:14). Jesus taught humility over and over. In v.13, Jesus began a sort of outline form of denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees. The word "woe" [W-O--E] was an O.T. term used by almost all the prophets in the O.T. It was meant to pronounce a most solemn accusation or denunciation or recrimination against one. Jesus used "woes" in the sermon on the mount, you will remember, in Luke account. Jesus used it here in ch. 23, seven time as a way of outlining the evils of the scribes and Pharisees. Some of the strongest language in the N.T. is in this chapter. Number one, in v.13, Jesus used the figure of a doorway to represent the kingdom or church. He said the scribes and Pharisees would not go in themselves and would not permit others to enter. They did this, in that they opposed Jesus. Number two, v.14, Jesus said they devoured widow's houses; an accusation that Mark and Luke both mentioned. Number three, in v.15, they worked hard to make proselytes, i.e. converts; but, after they were made they consigned them to hell by misguiding them. In v.16-22, Jesus gave a more thorough discussion of the views of the scribes and Pharisees on oaths; than, he gave in the sermon on the mount, Matt. 5:33-37. The Pharisees had delineated their own set of rules on oaths, i.e. a statement confirming the truth. For example, they said it was all right to swear by the temple; but, NOT by the gold of the temple —the altar but NOT by the sacrifice on the altar —it was all right to swear by heaven but not by God's throne. Jesus said this was foolishness; say "yes" or "no" and be honest. I paraphrasing Matt. 5:37. Number four, v.23-24, Jesus said they penny-anted around and made a big deal out of nothing. Mint, anise and cummin, were little garden plants like pepper or some seasoning spices. Jesus said they gave 10% or that stuff; but, left undone the weightier matters if the law, faith, mercy and judgment. He summed it up in a cliche in v.24, they "strained at a gnat, and swallow a camel." Can't you just hear a little giggle or two after that? Number five, six and seven, v.25, 27 and 29 have to do with other hypocritical acts. I'm going to leave that with you. But, I would like for us to read v.37-39. Put your eyes on that! "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." That was Jesus' great public farewell. I commented upon Jesus' chicken analogy once before back in Luke 13:34. Their house was left desolate, v.38. That would make another good sermon topic. Have you ever seen an old empty house? weeds growing, roof caving-in, no life? That's the picture Jesus painted of the temple and the Jewish system. Remember, the kingdom vas going to be taken away from them (Matt. 21:43). It was too bad, they had not welcomed the messiah; but, instead they insisted in staying with a desolate broken down system of religion that God was abandoning. Some in that audience would not see Jesus again until the Judgment. What a sad call. Have a good day!