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The Real Question
by Pastor Jeff Morlock
Today's reading reminds me of an encounter that occurred at a dinner party between a Christian and an atheist. At one point the atheist tried to engage the believer in a debate, rattling off a long list of reasons why he didn’t believe in God. He got more and more worked up as he went along, and soon all the rest of the guests found themselves listening in on the exchange. At the end of the diatribe, the believer asked, “If I can answer every one of your questions and rebut every one of your arguments, will you become a Christian?" The man responded honestly, “No,” which prompted the believer to look around the table and ask, “Does anyone have any real questions?”
In Matthew 22, the Pharisees and Sadducees have been asking Jesus questions. Questions about taxes, questions about marriage in the resurrection, questions about the greatest commandment. But they're not real questions. Rather, they are traps designed to catch Jesus in some sort of theological error so that they can accuse him, have him arrested, and ultimately crucified.
However, Jesus turns the tables on these opponents and asks them a question. Knowing their plans, he still loves them and longs for them to come to a knowledge of the truth. So the question he asks is designed to baffle their hard hearts. At the same time, this question is designed to speak to the seekers in these hostile groups and ask them to look deeper into his Davidic and Messianic claims and discover that his authority really is from God. The groups that are trying to trap Jesus are silenced and shamed at being tripped up in their own game. On the other hand, the seekers have a seed planted in their hearts that will hopefully germinate when the Springtime of faith comes into full bloom and warms their hearts with hope at his resurrection.
What real questions do your have for the Lord? In what ways is Jesus softening your heart today?
Gracious God, thank you that we can always come to you with our real questions. You are mercifully patient, and more ready to give than we are to receive. Soften our hearts to believe in the One you have sent, who took on human flesh and was pierced for our transgressions. Soften our hearts to join him where he is at work and to receive all that he has promised. In the name of David’s son and our Lord. Amen.