Matthew 22:15-22: Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.
Jesus was rejected by His own people, especially the Jewish leaders. They were used to having power over the people. What the leaders were expecting in their Messiah was a powerful king who would overthrow their Roman oppressors and free them to establish their own government.
But, Jesus didn’t come to do that and didn’t even come in that way. He didn’t come with armies before Him or trumpets heralding His arrival. He came humbly, riding on a donkey. The Jewish rulers weren’t prepared for that and when they saw the truths He was teaching, threatening their rule over the people, and exposing their hypocrisy — so they plotted to kill Him.
In one particular exchange, they attempted to trick Him to say things that He could be, at the most, arrested for, and at least discredited for, but of course, He saw right through it. We read about this exchange in Matthew 22: 21. When presented with a coin that had Caesar’s image stamped on it, Jesus responded, ““Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
When I read about this all those years ago, it became clear to me that, as Christians, we do have a responsibility to be involved in government and that includes voting. As such, the Bible also directs us to obey our leaders and pray for them (Romans 13:1-2.) There are a few other places where we are instructed in how to be good citizens. One responsibility of citizenship is voting; informed voting -Jan Rogers; From My Mountain: Should Christians Vote? 11.4.22
But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.
35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
They said to Him, “The Son of David.”
43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:
44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’?
45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”
46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
Feb 24, 2022: Kentucky Today: FIRST-PERSON: Love your neighbor
Jesus, when asked by the Pharisees which is the great commandment in the law, answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
“The Lord’s reply is especially irksome, that the everyday routine works which people are commanded to do, namely, that they are to love God and the neighbor, supersede all other works, regardless of how they shine and glitter. The fact is, not only the Pharisees among the Jews, and the hypocrites under the papacy, have regarded human traditions as more important than God’s commandments; for there is a little monk that sticks in all of us from youth on. We, too, regard the ordinary works God has commanded as insignificant, but the special, diverse works done by the Carthusians, monks, and hermits, about which God has commanded nothing, as especially noteworthy.”
“However, our Lord God is averse to such distinction. He does not prefer one before another, nor does he exclude anyone from serving him, no matter how lowly he might be. Instead, he enjoins upon everyone to exercise love to God and his neighbor. Since God seeks nothing extraordinary from us and tolerates no distinctions, we must conclude that when a maid, who has faith in Christ, dusts the house her work is more pleasing in service to God than that of St. Anthony in the wilderness. That is Christ’s meaning here. This is the highest commandment: to love God and one’s neighbor. God is not concerned about the rules of the Franciscans, Dominicans, or other monks, but wants us to serve him obediently and love the neighbor. They may consider their monastic rules to be something wonderful and special, but before God they are nothing. The very highest, best, and holiest work is when one loves God and the neighbor, whether a person is a monk or nun, priest or layperson, great or small.”
“…We, therefore, must learn to think and answer like this: Not something extraordinary, but to love God and your neighbor, that is the best way of life! If I do that, I don’t have to be searching for another way. It is so very true that loving God and the neighbor is the greatest and best work, even though it appears to be so very ordinary and insignificant.”
Martin Luther, Luther’s Sermons, vol. 7, pages 75-6.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
The spirit of intolerance and hatred toward so many people is such a great evil in our world. The Bible says to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbor as ourself. How very simple but so very profound these truths are. The well-known “Lord’s Prayer,” which ends with forgiving those who trespass against us and deliver us from evil, is the path to follow. How we need more of God’s love in our hearts and minds for one another, especially for such a time as this when our social structure, the way we knew it, is crumbling before our eyes.