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encouragement theology

What is the Greatest Commandment?

Thoughts from Matthew 22…

“Hear, O Israel:
The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 
You shall love the LORD your God 
with all your heart 
and with all your soul 
and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-5

During a time of great controversy, a lawyer came to Jesus Christ with this question, “What is the greatest commandment?” The Lord had just answered the leading religious thinkers of His day, silencing His critics, when the man came with this request. The Pharisees had hundreds of laws and they debated heavily regarding which laws were important to keep. How would this teacher answer this great debate? Would He weigh in on which laws were most important?

Jesus’ answer was immediate: the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. But also, don’t forget the second commandment — to love your neighbor as yourself! Every other one of the laws point to these two commandments. Every other law is to instruct you to love God or love your neighbor.

The Pharisees and Sadducees in Jesus’ day failed both of these commandments. They were so caught up in their rules and their power that they totally missed when God himself walked by! They showed no love for God when they refused anything other than what fit their own agendas. They showed no love for their neighbors when they refused to show forgiveness or compassion to the needy multitudes around them.

Both of these religious factions came to Jesus that day, hoping to entrap him with their difficult questions. The Pharisees put the first question to Him, whether they should pay taxes to Caesar’s Roman government. The Lord‘s answer brought them back to the greatest commandment. They showed love for their fellow man by submitting to the government and giving them their due service. They showed their love for God by likewise submitting to God and giving Him His due service.

The Sadducees approached Him with the next question, expecting to find a hole in His theology. Since they didn’t believe in the resurrection, they had created a scenario where it conflicted with the laws on marriage. Seven brothers were each married to the same widow before they each died, so who would be her husband in the resurrection?  But in this question they show their ignorance and a lack of a love for the Lord. A love for the Lord would have brought them to His Scriptures, where they would have better understood the resurrection. We will be changed, with no longer a need for marriage relationships like we currently have on earth.

The lawyer had then come to Jesus with his question regarding the greatest commandment, hoping to test Him and to push Him into controversy. If He weighed in on this religious debate, He would surely make enemies among the dissenting factions. But rather than angered, this young man was stunned by the Lord’s reply. Unlike the great religious leaders, he showed a genuine desire to understand his answers. And for that Jesus said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:34).

Jesus started out His ministry teaching that He came, not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law. As shown in the post on Matthew 5:17 here, the Ten Commandments are an expression of love. The first four are about love for God, and the final six are about love for each other.a 

Jesus then showed how we show love for God and for each other when we keep the commandments:

  • We show love when we show forgiveness toward those who offend us (Matthew 5:21-26)
  • We show love when we show purity in our thoughts and actions (Matthew 5:27-30)
  • We show love when we show faithfulness in our marriage (Matthew 5:31-32)
  • We show love when we show honesty in our word and our promises (Matthew 5:33-37)
  • We show love when we show humility and refuse to retaliate when we are hurt (Matthew 5:38-42)
  • We show love when we show kindness to our enemies as well as our friends (Matthew 5:43-48)

May we remember to love God and to love others!

Previous post: The Rejected Capstone


Matthew 22:15-46
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 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.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 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.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “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.

Mark 12:13-37
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘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. You are quite wrong.”

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

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

David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

Luke 20:20-44
So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”


Paying Taxes to Caesar

Matthew 22:15-22
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Mark 12:13-17
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

Luke 20:20-26
So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

This passage shows an attempted counter-attack by the Jewish religious leaders. Both Mark and Luke’s accounts show that this was an extension of the previous scene, where the chief priests and elders confronted Jesus, asking Him for His source of authority. Jesus had responded with the three parables, showing their guilt and their coming judgement (see here).

Now, the religious leaders seek to trip him up in debate. They know they cannot harm Jesus in front of the crowds (see Matthew 21:45-46, Mark 12:12, Luke 20:19), so they look to discredit Him. If they can isolate Him in shame, then they can have Him properly arrested and destroyed.

All of Jesus’ enemies converge on the scene. The chief priests and scribes sent spies to try and catch Him (Luke 20:19-20). Most of the chief priests would have been Sadducees, who personally came to confront the Lord (Matthew 22:23, Mark 12:18, Luke 20:27). 

This first question came to Him from the Pharisees and Herodians (Mark 12:13). It was only a common hatred of the Lord Jesus Christ which united these rival groups. 

  • The chief priests and scribes were the political leaders in Jerusalem. This is a general reference to members of the Jewish ruling body in Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin (see here).
  • The Pharisees were the religious conservatives who held tightly to every one of the laws in Scripture. However, they added several of their own laws until their beliefs were steeped in abject legalism. They despised Herod, because he was a Gentile ruler who held himself up as a king of the Jews (see details of Herod’s family here). They were constant rivals and enemies of the Sadducees, who believed very little of the law and were focused on power and wealth.
  • The Herodians were the political faction who supported Herod’s power, and by extension, the occupying Romans. They were normally enemies of the Pharisees, but had joined with them against a common enemy.
  • The Sadducees were the religious liberals of the time. They did not believe in miracles, the resurrection, nor any Scripture beyond the five books of Moses (Genesis – Deuteronomy). The Sadducees ruled the temple and would have been the most angered by The Lord’s actions the previous day, when He drove out the money changers from the temple courts.

The constant debate between the Pharisees and the Herodians was over respect for government. The Pharisees refused to recognize any authority outside of their own people, and they longed for the Messiah to come as a king and drive out the invading Romans. They hated everything about taxes and tax collectors, and would only pay taxes by compulsion. The Herodians, on the other hand, supported Herod’s rule over them and paid homage to the Romans who dominated their world. They strongly believed that every good citizen should pay his taxes.

Further complicating the debate over taxes was the fact that every Roman emperor stamped his image on the national currency. You could only pay taxes with Roman coins, each bearing the image of Tiberius Caesar. This was a further affront to the Pharisees, who looked on the Roman coins as graven images, and a violation of the Ten Commandments.14

Long had the Pharisees and the Herodians debated the value of taxes, until Jesus came to Jerusalem. Now that they were united against Him, asking Him to weigh in on their debate. They started with flattery but moved quickly to the central question: should they pay taxes to Caesar?

This is one more attempt for them to entrap the Lord. If He sides with the Pharisees, saying not to pay taxes, they can have Him arrested by the Romans and branded as an insurrectionist. But if He sides with the Herodians, commanding them to pay their taxes, then He would have broken the Ten Commandments (in their opinion) and infuriated the crowds. 

“How great the danger was which threatened Jesus, may be gathered from this, that, despite His clear answer, the charge that He prevented the nation, forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, was actually among those brought against Him before Pilate.” – Edersheim7

But what was His answer? In looking at the coin, He shows that it is a coin of the Roman government. While you are under the government, you must give to that government the duty that is due it. And while you are on earth, you must also give to God His duty that is owed to Him.

Marriage in the Resurrection

Matthew 22:23-33
The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.” But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 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.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

Mark 12:18-27
And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘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. You are quite wrong.”

Luke 20:27-38
There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”

The Pharisees and Herodians had failed to trip up the Lord Jesus Christ with their question about taxes. Next the Sadducees came with their question about marriage in the resurrection.

They had contrived a scenario according to the laws of Levirate marriage (see Deuteronomy 25:5-6). According to the law, if a man dies childless, his brother must take his widow as his own wife, thus raising a child in his brother’s name. Thus the man’s family line and inheritance would not be destroyed.b Now, the Sadducees ask how this law about marriage would work in the resurrection? In their scenario, there were seven brothers who each successively died after failing to raise a child with the original brother’s widow. Since she was married to all seven brothers, whose wife would she be in the resurrection?

This was a perplexing question to the devout Jews of the day. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection, so this was a clever way to discredit their supernatural beliefs. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but they saw it only as an exalted form of their current lives here on earth.c But if that is the case, how could they answer this question about marriage?

Jesus started out His answer by chastising all of them for failing to understand God and His Word. They don’t know the answer because they don’t understand God’s Word! There is no need for reproduction nor the intimacy of marriage in the resurrection.d We will be totally changed, including our relationships with each other (See also 1 Corinthians 15 for more details about the resurrection).

The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection and only believed the five books of Moses (Genesis-Deuteronomy). So Jesus then used a scene from Exodus (part of their accepted canon) to show their error. God spoke to Moses at the burning bush, stating that “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:15). This scene refers to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the present tense, hundreds of years after their death. The Lord’s point is that these patriarchs were still alive and looked after by God, even after their physical death!

The Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:34-40
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 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.”

Mark 12:28-34
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Luke 20:39-40
Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

After Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees regrouped and sent out a young lawyer with the next question to test Him. Pharisees had sent this man to Jesus as another chance to entrap Him, but the man’s response to the Lord was genuine. Although the man may have been started with ulterior motives, Jesus commends Him for his wise and thoughtful response.

The Pharisees had codified the laws of the Old Testament, added in many of their own interpretations, and had produced a list of 613 commandments to be kept: 248 positive (“do this”) and 365 negative (“don’t do this”).4 This list was much too great for even the most devout believer, so they further divided the list into the “heavy” and the “light” laws. The “heavy” commandments were the most important laws to keep while the “light” ones could be safely ignored. But which laws were the “heavy” ones? This was an endless debate among the rabbis, who constantly argued over which laws were the most important. 

Note that this practice of dividing up the laws is the opposite of what God teaches in Scripture. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.4

But in the middle of all the controversy on that Tuesday, the Pharisees sent their young lawyer to Jesus Christ, asking Him to weigh in on this eternal debate over the heavy and light commandments. Since He has just silenced the Sadducees, they ask the big question: which law is the most important? Which is the greatest commandment?e

The Lord’s response sets aside the hundreds of rabbinical laws. The greatest commandment is to love The Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (This is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 6:4-5). But then of second importance is to love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). If you follow these two laws — love God first and your neighbor second — you have fulfilled the purpose of every other Old Testament commandment. 

“What does it mean when a person is ‘not far from the kingdom of God’? It means he or she is facing truth honestly and is not interested in defending a ‘party line’ or even personal prejudices. It means the person is testing his or her faith by what the Word of God says and not by what some religious group demands.” – Warren Wiersbe5

Whose Son is the Christ?

Matthew 22:41-46
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “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.

Mark 12:35-37
And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

Luke 20:41-44
But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”

After answering all of their questions, Jesus asks a question of the Pharisees. They knew that the Messiah was the Son of David, so The Lord directed them to Psalm 110, a well-known Psalm about the Messiah:

Psalms 110:1
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

David, the writer of Psalm 110, wrote about the Messiah, calling him his Lord. So if the Messiah is David’s Lord, how can He also be David’s descendent?

The Pharisees prided themselves on being experts in the Scriptures, but they failed to understand what it said about their coming King. They failed to understand that the Messiah would be both God and man. As God, He is the eternal Lord, and as man, He is the son of David.

“It is a solemn thing to be so determined to take one’s own way that the heart refuses to bow even to the plainest words of Holy Scripture.” – H.A. Ironside2

“There is only one answer to this question. As God, Messiah is David’s Lord; as man, He is David’s Son.” – Warren Wiersbe4


References

[1] Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold The King, Kregel Publications, 1980, Matthew 22:15-46 pages 256-260

[2] H.A. Ironside, Ironside Expository Commentaries, Matthew 22, The King and His Opponents

[3] H.A. Ironside, Ironside Expository Commentaries, Address 68, Jesus Confounds His Questioners, Luke 20:19-47

[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Matthew 22:15-46, pages 65-67

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Mark 12:13-37, pages 123-124

[6] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Luke 20:20-44, pages 207-208

[7] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book V, CHAPTER III: THE THIRD DAY IN PASSION-WEEK, THE EVENTS OF THAT DAY, THE QUESTION OF CHRIST’S AUTHORITY, THE QUESTION OF TRIBUTE TO CAESAR, THE WIDOW’S FARTHING, THE GREEKS WHO SOUGHT TO SEE JESUS, SUMMARY AND RETROSPECT OF THE PUBLIC MINISTRY OF CHRIST (St. Matthew 21: 23-27; St. Mark 11: 27-33; St. Luke 20: 1-8; St. Matt. 22: 15-22; St. Mark 12: 13-17; St. Luke 20: 20-26; St. Matt. 22: 41-46; St. Luke 21: 1-4; St. John 12: 20-50.), https://www.ccel.org/ccel/edersheim/lifetimes.x.iii.html

[8] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book V, CHAPTER IV: THE THIRD DAY IN PASSION-WEEK, THE LAST CONTROVERSIES AND DISCOURSES, THE SADDUCEES AND THE RESURRECTION, THE SCRIBE AND THE GREAT COMMANDMENT, QUESTION TO THE PHARISEES ABOUT DAVID’S SON AND LORD, FINAL WARNING TO THE PEOPLE: THE EIGHT ‘WOES’, FAREWELL (St. Matt. 22: 23-33; St. Mark 12: 18-27; St. Luke 20: 27-39; St. Matt. 22: 34-40; St. Mark 12: 28-34; St. Matt. 22: 41-46; St. Mark 12: 35-40; St. Luke 20: 40-47; St. Matt. 23.), https://www.ccel.org/ccel/edersheim/lifetimes.x.iv.html

[9] Doug Bookman, Life of Christ, Audio Series, Lecture 11, https://www.christianity.com/jesus/life-of-jesus/harmony-of-the-gospels/31-jesus-silences-his-enemies-and-the-olivet-discourse.html

[10] John MacArthur, Our Obligation to God and Government, Matthew 22:15-22, Jan 15, 1984

[11] John MacArthur, The God of the Living, Matthew 22:23-33, Jan 22, 1984

[12] John MacArthur, The Great Commandment, Matthew 22:34-40, Feb 5, 1984

[13] John MacArthur, Whose Son Is Christ?, Matthew 22:41-46, Feb 12, 1984

[14] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson, 2005, Matthew 22:15-46, pages 1166-1168

[15] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson, 2005, Mark 12:13-37, pages 1240-1243

[16] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson, 2005, Luke 20:20-44, pages 1322-1323

[17] D.A. Carson, Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Zondervan, 2010, Matthew 22:15-46

[18] John MacArthur, Who Is an Adulterer? Part 1, Matthew 5:27, 5/6/1979


Notes

[a] Repeated from the post here: https://sapphiresky.org/2018/08/25/what-did-jesus-say-about-the-law/:

The first four of the Ten Commandments are about love for God, and the final six are about love for each other:

  • Commandment 1: Love is loyal — You shall not have any gods before me
  • Commandment 2: Love is faithful — You shall not make any carved image
  • Commandment 3: Love is reverent — You shall not take the name of God in vain
  • Commandment 4: Love is set apart — Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy
  • Commandment 5: Love is respectful — Honor your father and your mother
  • Commandment 6: Love is humane — You shall not kill
  • Commandment 7: Love is pure — You shall not commit adultery
  • Commandment 8: Love is unselfish — You shall not steal
  • Commandment 9: Love is truthful — You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  • Commandment 10: Love is contented — You shall not covet

(Source: John MacArthur, Who Is an Adulterer? Part 1, Matthew 5:27, 5/6/1979)18 

[b] For more details about Levirate marriage see the link here: https://www.gotquestions.org/levirate-marriage.html

[c] The Pharisees believed in the resurrection based on Old Testament passages such as Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2. But their materialistic outlook shaped their beliefs to the point that they simply saw the resurrection as an extension of their current lives on earth. They expected to have the same bodies, the same possessions, and the same family members as before they died.17

[d] In Matthew 22:30, Jesus did not teach that we would be angels in the resurrection; he said that we would be like angels, in that we will not marry, nor will we die. 

[e] Luke 10:25-37 records a similar conversation, earlier in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Another lawyer had come to Him, asking for the way to eternal life. Jesus directed the man to the law and the man quoted these same two commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. But this earlier lawyer showed no desire to listen to Jesus, but was instead more concerned with his own image. Jesus then told the parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate what it truly means to love your neighbor. By contrast, the lawyer in this later scene here responds with understanding and is close to belief. There are no follow-on parables needed here to further clarify questions.

One reply on “What is the Greatest Commandment?”

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