Formations lesson for March 10: Teacher
February 22 2002 by Steve Zimmerman , Matthew 22:23-33

Formations lesson for March 10: Teacher | Friday, Feb. 22, 2002

Friday, Feb. 22, 2002

Formations lesson for March 10: Teacher

By Steve Zimmerman Matthew 22:23-33

It was the middle of 1945 and World War II was coming to an end. The super powers opposing Hitler's regime were a strange lot. On one side were Great Britain, France and the United States representing democracy. The other giant was the Soviet Union under Stalin's dictatorship. Ten years earlier no one would have dreamed of all these countries coming to a conference table to discuss anything much less war. But a common enemy had brought them together. Their survival was in jeopardy.

Two thousand years earlier two Jewish religious groups that did not care for each other found themselves working together to oppose their perceived foe - Jesus. Prior to this passage from Matthew, we find the Pharisees trying to lay a trap about allegiance to either Caesar or God to discredit the growing popular spiritual leader. After their embarrassment to Jesus' answer, it now became the Sadducees' turn to unseat the power that threatened their existence.

The Question(Matthew 22:23-28)

The Sadducees were the most powerful religious sect at the time. They were a small yet wealthy priestly aristocratic party. Their beliefs had no room for resurrection, angels or oral tradition handed down from generation to generation. The Pharisees, on the other hand, did accept these scriptural viewpoints.

The purpose of the question to Jesus was to damage the credibility of this new upstart teacher. If He truly favored Moses, who was seen through their eyes as righteous, He must believe in the law given by Moses that mentions no reference to resurrection. If Jesus did approve of the idea of life after death, then He would have been at odds with Moses. For that reasoning, they felt they had Him in a corner.

It is interesting to note that the ancient leader of the Hebrew people made no provision for anything heavenly. Moses' main concern in Deut. 25:5-6 was for life after death. He left the supernatural to God.

The Answer(Matthew 22:29-32)

Jesus gave a two-part answer to this pious group of leaders. In verses 29 and 30 we see Him address the matter of resurrection in a positive way. He does say that there will be a resurrection. This point is critical for the Easter story that He will demonstrate later with His own life. He hints of things to come!

However, what the religious leaders see as important now will not be on the same plain when resurrection occurs. Somewhere along the way, to the Sadducees' way of thinking, they had overlooked the aspect that the God they serve does not play by the same rules as humans. God is not bound by our human limitations or understanding.

Jesus, the teacher, saves His best point for last. He makes sure these learned men go back to what Moses said in Ex. 3:6. God shares with Moses the key verb - "am." In Hebrew this simple word portrays the Almighty as present in the past, in our lives now, and in the life to come. He is forever. If that is the case even for Moses, the Sadducees missed a fundamental concept that the God they serve is as real today as He was in the patriarchal times.

The Responses(Matthew 22:33)

Two groups came away from this teaching encounter with different results. The Sadducees were placed on the same level of frustration as the Pharisees. Neither group could contain this new leader. Their defeat in front of the people only fueled the flames to take further steps to get rid of their common enemy.

The second group was the crowd who was seeing this story unfold. Their response to Jesus was astonishment. They knew what He said was different and more relevant to them. He struck a nerve in their souls that made them aware of God's presence in their lives.

If you think about it, that is exactly what we strive to model each week when we share the good news about the master teacher.

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2/22/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve Zimmerman , Matthew 22:23-33 | with 0 comments
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