Lectionary Year A
October 27, 2002
Matthew 22:34-46

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

(JFC) This lection seems to record two different conversations. The first tells of Pharisees' questioning/testing Jesus, re: His opinion, re: the greatest of the Ten Commandments. The second one tells of Jesus' asking them of their opinion, re: the Messiah and His lineage. The verbiage is rather straight forward, almost a verbatim of conversations as if tape-recorded and transcribed. They sound right normal and natural. The descriptions of the conversing parties seem also ordinary and unaffected. The real dilemma comes when Jesus silences the Pharisees. That point might be the crux of the matter. It certainly leaves questions in today's readers/hearers.

B. Personal Interaction

(JFC) We have to wonder whether the seemingly two conversations really happened, one right after the other. How had Jesus' silenced the Sadducees? Why did the Pharisees' lawyer have to test Jesus? Did Jesus' answering more than He was asked bother the questioners/testers? Did Jesus' question to the Pharisees put them at an unfair advantage? Did Jesus' second question help or hinder the Pharisees' attempt to answer Him? Did the exchange really prevent any more questions of Jesus, ever?

C. Organization

(JFC) The seemingly second conversation begins in verse 41. Jesus' silencing the Sadducees is reported in the 34th verse. The Pharisees' lawyer questioned/tested Jesus in verse 36. Jesus' answering more than was asked covers the 37th through the 40th verses. Jesus' first question to the Pharisees is in verse 42 and His second one is in verse 43. The concluding verse (46) claims Jesus was never again asked another question.

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