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April 2014 Issue

The Gospel of Matthew: Kingdom Instructions from the King

Devotions

  • Yesterday

    Jerusalem and the Temple
  • Today

    Parables and Controversies
  • Tomorrow

    Judgment on the Religion of the Pharisees
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Devotion for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Parables and Controversies

Read Matthew 22

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All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:40

This past Sunday, many Christians feasted together in celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Imagine the implication if invited guests refused to join in that celebration! Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet was similar. With all the preparations made, the king sent word to join the feast. Those who were invited, however, refused to come and even mistreated the king’s servants! Later, one guest tried to appear in his own clothes rather than the wedding garments typically provided by ancient banquet-givers. The meaning of the parable is clear: the kingdom of God is only for those who respond to God’s call and do not try to gain entrance on their own terms.

An air of self-justification and reliance continued as Jesus encountered a series of questioners who tried to trap Him. First Jesus was asked about paying taxes. Either answer risked losing popular support: would He side with Rome, or be arrested as politically seditious? Instead, Jesus pointed out that we give earthly things to earthly rulers, but we give ourselves (as bearers of God’s image) to the true King.

Second, the Sadducees (who did not believe in the resurrection) offered a hypothetical case to try to make belief in the resurrection look foolish. Jesus simply rebuked them as ignorant of both Scripture and the power of God. Finally, an “expert in the law” (v. 35) asked Jesus to identify the greatest commandment. Jesus, however, pointed us away from rule-keeping and turned us toward love of God and neighbor as the centrality of God’s law.

Finally, Jesus turned the tables and asked about the Messiah. Most Jews anticipated a political ruler, but Jesus showed them that the Messiah is both Davidic and yet divine, the Lord Himself. Resisting Jesus was tantamount to resisting God Himself.

Apply the Word

Jesus summarized the entirety of God’s law as love for God and love for neighbor, and the two go hand in hand. Whether by helping a neighbor in need, washing the dishes for your spouse, or giving your time to really listen to someone’s problems, our love and care for others demonstrate our love for God. Determine today to love God by tangibly loving someone.

Pray with Us

Every employee at Moody Publishers contributes to making it “The name you can trust.” Today, our prayers go to God on behalf of Moody Publishers’ Editorial department: James Vincent, Pamela Pugh, and Elizabeth Newenhuyse.

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