Genesis 23, Matthew 22, Nehemiah 12, Acts 22

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Genesis 23, Matthew 22, Nehemiah 12, Acts 22. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Nehemiah 12:1-21. Just kidding, read Matthew 22:34-40.

As the passion week continued in Matthew 22, Jesus found himself dodging one trap after another from the religious leaders of his generation. In verses 15-22, the Pharisees tried to get him to take a position on taxes; both sides of the position were losers which is why they felt this would be an effective trap. After Jesus stymied the Pharisees, the Sadducees gave their best shot and tried to trip him up with a technical and legal question on marriage in the resurrection (vv. 23-32). While their question seemed clever, they were asking him about a subject they knew nothing about and he knew everything about. Not only did Christ tell them why their question was non-sensical, he devastated them with a one-liner about the resurrection. Since Sadducees did not believe in any kind of resurrection, they had no answer to what he said (v. 33).

With two outs against them, the Pharisees tried again in verses 34-40 by asking him which of the commands is the greatest. His answer was “Love God” and the second command was “love others as you love yourself.” Without the new life given by the Spirit of God, it was and is impossible for anyone to keep either of those two commands. Since the whole law hangs on them (v. 40), any violation of God’s moral law violates at least one of these keystone commands.

Once we know the new life that Christ gives, however, these two great commands move from being impossible to becoming our key objectives in life if we know what it means to follow Christ.. Growing in God’s grace in salvation means loving God more completely and loving others more unselfishly. 

But love is a difficult word. We think of it as primarily emotional, but the Bible tells us to love in ways that are anti-emotional—for example “love your enemies.” So love isn’t merely emotional; however, it would be incorrect to see it as non-emotional because “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” certainly requires the emotional dimension of the heart. So, what do you think it means to “love the Lord your God with all your heart… and your neighbor as yourself.” Is it merely self-sacrificial action? If not, then what does it mean?

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.