We have reached the third question of the leaders of Judaism that is designed to trap Jesus. The first question had to do with paying taxes to Caesar the second question had to do with the resurrection and now the third question is focused on what is the greatest of all the commandments. Now we are back to the Pharisees.
The first question had political emphasis now this question is mainly theological in nature.
Which is the greatest commandment? They were not asking this question in reference to only the Ten Commandments, Judaism recognized 613 commandments from the books of Moses. It is the massive number of commandments that Judaism recognized that they have in mind when asking this question.
During Jesus’ day the Rabbis and Pharisees engaged in discussions concerning these commands seeking to determine what they called heavy and light commands. This means about what you think it means. According to them there were some laws that were central and some that were fringe or some very important while others not so important.
Jesus has already taught us His view of the law of God…Read More
So far everything is going great. God said Aaron would help and there he is ready to help. The Elders, that Moses said wouldn’t believe him actually believe and a worship service begins. Everything seems to be going according to plan.
Now, Moses and Aaron are off to tell Pharoah what God said to tell him…let My people go so they can worship Me.
Pharoah says sure, sounds like a good idea…No, he says He does not know God nor will he let the people go…
1. I Do Not Know the Lord… a Delusion of Deity
5 Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’ ” 2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” 3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens!” 6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”
Here, we are shown the central focus of Exodus again, who is the Lord? Pharoah thinks he is the Lord. The Egyptians think Pharoah is the Lord. In their worship of many gods including Pharoah, they think they are all gods to be worshipped.
Yet, God has already told Moses at the burning bush that He is the Lord. Who is the Lord? He’s the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. He is the Great I Am. He is Yahweh, the God of the covenant. He is the self-existent, eternal God. He is the Father of Israel. That’s who God is, not Pharoah.
Truth Taught- Jesus teaches that the Resurrection is truth found in both Old and New Testaments
Today, we are going to look at a second question put forth from those religious elite to entrap Jesus in His words. Just like last time, they would be astonished at His answer. Last time it was the Pharisees who asked Jesus about whether or not they should pay taxes to Caesar. We learned that part of Roman practice was to worship Caesar as God and that was placed on the coin they used to pay the tax. Jesus, replied that they should pay but that’s it, never worship Caesar. Worship is rendered unto God alone.
Our current passage has the Sadducees trying to ensnare Jesus with yet another question. In order to better understand what’s happening here, we need to understand a little more about who the Sadducees were. They were the liberal theologians of the day. They didn’t believe in anything supernatural, angels, or the resurrection of the dead. One other thing that is relevant to the text today is that they only recognized the first five books of the Bible as Scripture…the Books of Moses.
They were like many of our modern so-called theologians who teach basically the same things or at least many of the same things.
Theological Liberalism today denies the authority and inspiration of the Scriptures, Supernatural, Angels, Resurrection, Miracles of Jesus, and objective truth.
It’s a movement that interprets Christian teaching by taking into consideration modern knowledge, science and ethics. It emphasizes the importance of reason and experience over doctrinal authority.Read More
God has laid out His plan, who He is and how it will be executed. Now the attention in Chapter 4 focuses on Moses. Moses gives God two reasons why this is a bad idea. I wonder have you ever been reluctant to follow God? Have you ever read in the Scriptures what God’s will is in a certain area and then been stubborn to obey? Well, we must seek to follow God in whatever He commands and yet we can understand a little of Moses’ hesitancy.
Here’s his first objection…
1. Moses’ First Objection…The Israelite Elders Will Not Believe Me
4 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’ ” 2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 3 And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. 4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” 6 Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. 9 If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
Moses is very reluctant and even offers God his objection…they will not believe me. Moses is very concerned that they will not listen to him. Perhaps it’s because of his past history in Egypt being the adopted son of the King who has enslaved them? Perhaps they will think it’s a trap. Maybe, his further reluctance had to do with how he left Egypt after he was seen as a murderer and the fact that Pharoah was hot on his trail to kill him as well?
We are not specifically told why he thought they would not believe. Maybe the news would just be too good to be true. The Israelites have been slaves for 400 years.
Truth Taught- Jesus tells us that we are to financially support the government God has placed over us but we must never worship it. Worship is God’s alone
Last time we looked at the Parable of the Wedding Feast. That was the third of a series or trilogy of three parables that Jesus told about the Kingdom of Heaven. The general conclusion or point to each parable was that the current caretakers were not producing the fruit of the Kingdom and God was about to remove the Kingdom from them and give it to new tenants who would produce the appropriate fruit, namely Justice and Righteousness.
Now, we are moving on to a trilogy of questions. The religious elite are going to put Jesus to a test or as Matthew tells us, a trap. We must realize something here, they are not asking out of genuine concern or desiring to know what Jesus has to say, they have formulated these questions so that whatever answer He gives, they can trap Him in His words.
The first question we will look at today.
The Jews, like it or not, were under Roman control. Rome was in charge and any freedom the Jew had was a benevolent gesture from the Empire and could be rescinded at any time. The patriotic Jew hated Rome. There was the occasional outbreak of Jewish defiance even a revolt or two sprung up over the years. The longer they were under Roman control the more they detested the pagans with their idolatrous symbols that they had displayed all over the Holy City. Some had even been hung in the Temple from time to time. The Jews hated Rome.
One freedom Rome had given the Jews was that they still had the freedom to worship in their temple the way they saw fit. The only thing Rome was really interested in was that the Jews paid their taxes. So, there was the taxes everyone had to pay to Caesar then there was the Temple Tax. The taxes paid to Caesar was paid in Roman coinage. Rome allowed the Jews to mint their own coins to be used in the Temple.
The Jews refused to allow Roman money to used in the Temple area because, mainly, the coins had the profile of Caesar, in this case Tiberius, and had the inscription, Divi Filius or Son of God. These coins went against everything the Jew stood for. They reminded them that they were in subjugation to Rome, they went against all they saw as right, they went against their tradition to not have a graven image.
1. Go Tell Israel…
16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17 and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.” ’
God had told Moses what He wanted him to do. Moses had two questions for God: who am I that I should go? God basically told Moses that it really didn’t matter all that much who he was but the key God said is that I will be with you. Then, Moses asked God who He is? God replied
Exodus 3:14 (ESV)
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
God then makes Moses a promise saying that He would bring them up out of Egypt to the land flowing with milk and honey.
Here is the picture of salvation for us. God not only saves us from our sin but saves us to something. He brings us up out of slavery to sin into His Kingdom. God did not save them from Egypt to let them alone but brings them up and into the land.
Truth Taught- Israel has rejected her Messiah and judged herself to be unworthy of eternal life
Jesus has condemned the Jews and their works religion. He has the authority and has passed judgement on those who were leading Israel’s religion.
Our Lord has told two parables picturing the fact that the Kingdom of God has been taken away from them and given to others who will produce the fruit God seeks.
There is a progression with each of these stories. The first was a Father and two sons, one working in the vineyard and the other saying he would but never did. The second parable moved from a Father to a rich Landowner who leased his vineyard out to tenants but they refused to give the owner the fruit of the vineyard that should have been His. He sent His servants and they were killed. Then He sent His Son saying they will respect My Son. Sadly, they killed His Son too.
Now, we come to the third Parable of condemnation. The religious leaders have crossed the point of no return. Judgement is coming and there is nothing they can do about it.
This Parable is elevated even more as we see that Jesus is speaking now of a King.
It’s appropriate that as we look at this final parable of this trilogy that we make sure what Jesus’ purpose is in speaking in Parables…Read More
Exodus 3:10–15 (ESV)
10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
If you remember from last time, we left Moses at the burning bush with his sandals off with his head covered as he would not look at God. Remember, also he was on the Mountain of God we said was actually Mount Sinai where God would eventually lead His people. God told Moses He was the God of His fathers, He had seen the affliction of His people, had remembered His covenant and was about to do something about it.
1. God Calls Moses to Bring His People Out of Egypt
10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
We don’t really know why God does the many things He does. Why didn’t God rescue His people Himself? Why did He use Moses? This is as some tell us, a paradox of divine grace. Why does God use sinful men to do His work of salvation? Why does He use humans?
He used Mary who was herself a sinful person to give birth to a sinless Savior which would secure our redemption. Why did God use sinful men to write a perfect inerrant Bible? All 66 books are God’s Word and God’s pen touched not of the pages and all of it is His Word complete and perfect. No portion of it more or less authoritative than any other. All Scripture is profitable and useful.
Truth Taught- Jesus is the rejected and murdered Son. His rejection and murder on the cross have sealed the fate of fruitless Judaism and created a new people who will produce the fruit God desires.
Jesus has entered His City. The rightful heir to the Davidic throne has come. The King, the Messiah, the Son of David, the long awaited One is here and some believe but many do not.
He came in prophetic fulfillment. As He entered on the colt. He then cleansed the Temple which, as we saw, was another Messiah prophecy. He then declares that at His return, the Mount of Olives will be split, again showing a prophecy fulfilled. In response to these things, the leaders of Judaism ask Jesus by what authority do You do these things and who gave You this authority?
Jesus will not play their game. In response, He asks them a question about John the Baptist. Did his baptism come from God or from man? In other words, was John’s ministry given to him by God, was he a real prophet or was he a self-appointed swindler? In rabbinic tradition, if they would answer Jesus’ question then they would have the answer to theirs. However, they refuse to answer. Then Jesus tells them He will not answer their question either.Read More
Last time we saw in Chapter Two, three snapshots of Moses’ life. We saw how God rescued him from Pharoah’s decree, how Moses understood that he was actually an Israelite and we saw that God had given Moses compassion for his people and their situation. Now is the time when God calls Moses to obey Him and rescue His people.
Since Moses had fled Pharoah and Egypt settled in with Jethro and his family and marrying Jethro’s daughter, Zipporah he has become shepherd of Jethro’s flock.
Exodus 3:1–9 (ESV)
3 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.
1. A Bush That Burns But is Not Consumed (3:1-3)Read More