I am not too sure I clearly understand what actually took place in the arena of Jesus dialoguing with the Pharisees. I see the argument and I can see why apologetics gets so much interest these days as I see Jesus winning the argument. Something tells me that He did more than just win the argument.
When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” – Matthew 22:34-36 MSG
The Pharisees decided to get together, choose their champion, and find a way to challenge Jesus’ honour, Actually, I believe they wanted to do more than that – they wanted to shame Him.
I am amazed that the Pharisees would ask this question in a public setting, among people where honour and shame were a part of everyday life. Everyone there understood that this question was asked in the context of an honour-shame challenge. The Pharisees must of thought the possibility of winning was very high. I hope it is not too funny, but I like Westerns, and it reminds me of a gun fight with four or five against one.
In a more religious context, it was probably more like an inquisition of sorts where a trap was laid out for public viewing, and the thought was that the audience would see Jesus stripped of His honour.
As the Pharisees were regrouping, Jesus caught them off balance with his own test question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said, “David’s son.”
Jesus replied, “Well, if the Christ is David’s son, how do you explain that David, under inspiration, named Christ his ‘Master’?
God said to my Master,
“Sit here at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
“Now if David calls him ‘Master,’ how can he at the same time be his son?”
That stumped them, literalists that they were. Unwilling to risk losing face again in one of these public verbal exchanges, they quit asking questions for good. – Matthew 22:41-46 MSG
I love how the Message translation calls this – “As the Pharisees were regrouping, Jesus caught them off balance with His own test question.” Jesus is saying that if you want to play the game, let’s play. In doing so, Jesus is elevated to a place of honour and He shames the Pharisees, by winning the challenge.
Great story, with a great ending. I am not an apologetics person and I do not want to be. I will be in situations where there will be those who want to shame me – what do I do? I trust the Holy Spirit to give me the words, the prayer, the faith and boldness, even the courage just to stand. Is that enough? It will have to be.
Father, I do not doubt the work of the Holy Spirit – He is enough. Thank you for sending Him to walk with me.