Tuesday: Prophetic Disputation

On Tuesday of Holy Week, we observe Jesus having conversations with Sadducees and Pharisees. Their motivation in engaging Jesus was to test or trap Him. Instead, Jesus used three interactions to demonstrate His complete knowledge of Scripture, the completeness of Scripture, and His complete identity in Scripture.

1. Matthew 22:23-33: Jesus has complete knowledge of Scripture.

The Sadducees did not believe in bodily resurrection. They construct a complicated question that they think will stump Jesus. Jesus tells them that despite their lofty position, they do not know what the Holy Scriptures say. In Matthew 22:29 Jesus tells them “You are wrong because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”

Wow! Here is Jesus, whom many thought was a mere prophet, publicly calling out these esteemed leaders about being wrong about a doctrinal position. He identifies Himself as the greatest teacher. He shows them that resurrection is taught in the Bible by quoting the Old Testament (Exodus 3:6) in verses 31 and 32: “And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

2. Matthew 22:34-40: Jesus confirms the completeness of Scripture.

Now a different leadership sect, the Pharisees, appears to test Jesus. One of them tries to get Jesus to fall into a trap by either depending on one verse or ignoring some laws by asking Jesus which of the Old Testament laws is the greatest.

Jesus shows us that the Old Testament law was not just a random collection of do’s and don’ts. He demonstrates perfect unity of the law being held together completely by two commands. Look at what Jesus said to them in verses 37-40:”And He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

3. Matthew 22:41-46: Jesus has complete identity in Scripture.

Sometimes people can fall into the misbelief that Jesus just appeared in the New Testament out of nowhere. The real story is that the Old Testament clearly points to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Son of David, and our Savior, the Christ.

Jesus’ third interaction with Israel’s leaders in Matthew 22 is once again with the Pharisees. He points out to them that the prophesied Son of David is both a descendent of David (as Jesus was) and is Lord God over David at the same time. Listen to what Jesus said in verses 42-46: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He?” They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls Him Lord, saying,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

If then David calls Him Lord, how is He his son?’ And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask Him any more questions.”

Summary: we can trust Jesus!

In these three interactions, Jesus shows us that we can trust Him as the greatest teacher and source of knowledge about Scripture, that Scripture itself is unified, and that He alone is the promised Son of David, Son of God, and Savior for anyone who would believe in Him.

And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”z