Rev. Choi’s Reflection for this week

Weekly Reflection

25th October 2020

Matthew 22. 34-46

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’

37 Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 ‘What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?’

‘The son of David,’ they replied.

43 He said to them, ‘How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him “Lord”? For he says,

44 ‘“The Lord said to my Lord:
    ‘Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.’”[c]

45 If then David calls him “Lord”, how can he be his son?’ 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.


Reflection

“Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” It might have sounded like a genuine question, but it was another testing question, trying to catch out Jesus. Then, we see him say very plainly, “Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbour”. Very simple. They must have been disappointed by this answer. The problem was they didn’t understand the scripture properly, and they were reading the Word of God differently. They never denied God, and their disciplined life-style couldn’t be compared to any other religious groups. Nevertheless, the trouble was they regarded the Word just as the law, by which people were judged and punished. And, they classified over 600 laws from the scripture, and tried to distinguish the more important from the less important. That’s why they asked this question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” But, that was a question, which missed the point. They didn’t have to put them in the order from more important to less important. It’s because they are to be summed up in one sentence, as Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” That’s it. They should have noticed that at the heart of Israel’s law is ‘Love’ which embraces the whole world.

But, they didn’t perceive that point, and they were just reading the scripture backward. It is so important, how we read the Word of God and how we interpret and understand it. People find life and freedom from the scripture, but often we see some people find trouble, and struggle with it by reading it differently. As we see from this passage, for Pharisees, the problem was they knew the Scripture and they learned every word in the Scripture, but they didn’t grasp the point of God’s Word, therefore couldn’t follow the way God had shown to them.

The point is if you know the Word of God, do it, and obey it. I remember when I was at the college, one of the tutors often said, “Don’t struggle with what you don’t understand. Do what you understand.” That is exactly what the Bible says in many places. For instance, James 1. 23 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Jesus also says in Matthew 7, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

The Bible is about transformation, not just information. The word we’ve heard must be applied to our lives, so that they may be transformed. If not, it can be even dangerous, and its result could be disastrous.

Then, how can we love the Lord our God? Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” Yes, by obeying his teaching and doing what he says, we are to prove that we love the Lord our God, and his Son, Jesus. Jesus wants us to be doers of the word, not just hearers. He wants us to obey his word, not just know the word. When we are willing to obey it, God will unlock the real meaning and blessing of His Word, and we will be able to taste the great sweetness of His love. Amen.

Prayer

Lord, we are thankful to you for the gift of your Word to us. We thank you for lives changed through the centuries as people have come to know you, the Living Word. Lord, we are thankful to you for your gift of perfect love. Help us to put on the virtue of love, that you may use us to work towards perfect unity.

Lord, we are thankful to you for your gift of Jesus, the living Word. We pray that as we read the Bible and allow your Word into our hearts, you may dwell richly in us through your Spirit. And we pray that we may have opportunities to share your Word with those in our own communities, and with those around the world, that your kingdom may grow here on earth. And whatever we do, in word or deed, may we do it in your name, Jesus Christ, in the power of the Spirit, giving thanks to God our Father. Amen.

Read Choi’s reflections for earlier weeks here