Sunday, October 29, 2017

Birthday Fundraiser

Behold, a Tip Jar!

This isn't a sermon.  But it does involve a page from the Bible which came my way this morning.

I figure the state of your soul is your own affair, just as what you believe or do not believe is your own affair.

However, if you ever wondered why the Sunday Showz (for example) almost never invites anyone to tread their boards who might make the establishment pundits who have reserved Sunday Showz seating look stupid, Matthew 22 has a sneaky little lesson just for you.

As we join our story (already in progress),  ABC, NBC and CBS the Pharisees and the Sadducees are trying to trip our hero up over some critical points of legal and scriptural interpretation.  This was terribly important and freighted with potentially lethal consequences for our hero because the power wielded by the priesthood -- by the Pharisees and the Sadducees -- was derived entirely from their position as the final arbiters of biblical law. 

There is no water-into-wine stuff here -- just a verbal duel over whose rabbinical kung fu was strongest.  And I have added emphasis to underscore the public consequences of each round of this bout:
Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Marriage at the Resurrection

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died.  Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

The Greatest Commandment

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’[e]
If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were savvy enough to recognize that, left unchecked, Jesus' message was a grave threat to their authority.  And because they were certain of their own superiority, they decided to shut him up by taking him on on their ground, and in public. 

And he whipped their asses.  In public.

Because they made the fatal error of stepping into their own arena with someone who understood their area of expertise -- its letter and its spirit -- far more deeply than they did.

This is one biblical lesson which the powerful have definitely learned, which is why you will almost never see a Beltway pundit let themselves get rooked into a venue where there is any chance they may have to stand toe-to-toe with a smartass Liberal who knows all their little run-out-the-clock tricks and deflections

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliance; rendered. Yours and His.

In my humble opinion.