Matthew 22:41-46

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by 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 David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. Matthew 22:41-46

What does it take to change your mind about something? When was the last time that you can remember changing your mind, your opinion, your perspective? I asked that question on Facebook the other day, now I’m asking it again in the face of the question Jesus posed to the Pharisees.

Jesus asked them a question about the Messiah. For the Pharisees, their expectations regarding the Messiah are not much different than those branches of modern Christianity that take the Bible’s promise of Jesus coming again very literally. He will come out of the air, at the sound of a trumpet, leading an army of warrior angels. It is helpful to remember that not all Christians interpret such poetry in literal terms. But my experience tells me that there is little, if any, hope of convincing someone to change their point of view on such matters.

Jesus tries to reach them by appealing to the very scriptures that they thought holy. He pointed out to them what their holy texts actually said – but they couldn’t see it. Their presuppositions, their own strongly held opinions, blinded them to plain words of the text. They couldn’t see what was right in front of their eyes. In the text, and in the flesh.

This is an important dynamic in our lives today. We hear about people being divided from one another. Peoples’ dismissive and mistrustful reactions to rationality and facts. We are suffering from cultural hardening of the arteries and that won’t end well for the body.

We would all do well to spend as much time thinking more clearly and openmindedly about our own closely held positions. To listen before speaking. To listen without judgment, seeking first to understand rather than to be understood.

Repentance here has less to do with apologizing and more to do with opening ourselves to a new point of view, a new way of looking at things.

The worst part of today’s text is how it ends. It says “nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.” That is a tragic ending. They had the Messiah right there in front of them. The physical incarnation of the Creator of the heavens and the earth…but they quit talking to him. They quit asking him questions. They didn’t seek his counsel.

At that point they had nothing left to do with him except kill him to shut him up.

That’s tragic. For the Pharisees. But for God, even their closemindedness, their murderous turf defending, and their tribal-battening-down-the-hatches could not stop God from loving them to the very end. And beyond the very end to the very very end – whatever that might look like.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, again and again we pray that you open our hearts and minds, that you keep us honest and curious, non-judgmental, and non-reactive. For we need all of that and more if we are to truly love and serve our neighbor. You are our Savior, the Messiah, our search for love is over for love is found in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Matthew 22:41-46”

  1. Carolee Groux Says:

    Thank you for that beautiful prayer. I say Amen. “Let it be so”.

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