Read Matthew 21:23-46, Matthew 22:1-25, Mark 12:1-37, Matthew 22:26-46
The religious leaders needed to get rid of Jesus without causing a stir with Rome, so they hit Jesus up with a bunch of questions. The goal was to trick Jesus into blaspheming, so they could prove He was not the Messiah, but a lunatic.
If Jesus was merely a man claiming to be a god, He would be a traitor to Rome and a heretic among the Jews. But Jesus answered every question with wisdom, and His popularity grew instead of shrinking (Matthew 22:33).
It’s easy to judge the religious leaders, but we often do the same thing. Think about the last time you demanded answers from God. Was it to gain understanding? Often, we pretend we’re looking for understanding when we’re hoping to find justification. We need a reason to do what we want to do, and we hope we can “trick” God into giving us one.
This rebelliousness breaks God's heart the same way the religious leaders' questions broke Jesus' heart.
Proverbs pleads with us, “call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding ... look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure” (Proverbs 2:2-5).
Jesus tries to get the religious leaders to see their error and repent. He tells stories designed to correct their thinking — the parable of the two sons, the parable of the evil farmers, and the parable of the Great Supper. But they don't give up. They ask whether they should pay taxes to Caesar, how marriage works after the resurrection, which is the greatest commandment, and whether Jesus believes the Messiah will be King David's son.
Jesus laments for the religious leaders, saying, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees” (Matthew 23:13, NLT).
God is a good Dad who knows when He's being manipulated. He doesn’t begrudge us for asking questions. He welcomes our worries, our fears, our questions, and our concerns (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7). But if we’re not looking for honest answers, we’ll walk away disappointed just like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day.
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