Love is to be the Interpreter of the Law

Matt. 22:34-46

     I preached so many times on the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul” that I’m tired of it. However, you can read a centuries old method that teaches you How To Love God With All Your Heart, as soon as it’s released. I don’t have a definite date yet but it will be soon.

    Instead, I thought I’d make some comments about the last half of the text for this Sunday.

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?”

They said to Him, “The Son of David.”

43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:

44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’?

45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

man on the throneBy tradition, no father calls his son, or offspring, “Lord” (Master).

My question is this: Why did Matthew think this was an important message to put in his gospel? What are we to learn from it – that Jesus outwitted the Pharisees with his own biblical proof-texting?

Is there any practical lesson for us to glean that can be used in our lives today?

On one hand: Isn’t there a time when a parent should call his/her son or daughter (which is pushing the biblical envelope further!) “master”? Is a father always wiser than his son (or daughter)? Is a father superior in all things to the ones who come after him?

Shouldn’t wisdom and maturity directed toward the good of all be given more weight than birth order?

It’s a wise father/mother/preacher/employer who recognizes the gifts of his/her children and lets them take the lead when they can do a better job.

It’s a wise father/mother/preacher/employer who recognizes that their memory, their knowledge, their physical skills are no longer superior to their offspring’s. There’s a time to give up the illusion that you are in complete control of your life or your church or your business.

This approach begs the question:

What are you insisting on, thinking your way is better than your children/members/ employees/partner, when you might be wrong – and instead, your need to be in control is slowing the progress of the work that needs to be done?

On the other hand, the dialogue comes after Jesus has named the great commandment: “Love the Lord your God…and your neighbor…”

Give honor and dedicate your efforts to the Creator God, and your neighbor as well. “This is what the Law and prophets are about.”

How the tradition understood the Law and the prophets had evolved away from the purpose for which the Law was given. Human interpretation had swayed toward worshiping the Law and demanding obedience to it so people could be kept under control.

The Hebrew Scriptures were King. Loved, revered, and worshiped. The purpose for the law, to guide persons toward loving God and neighbor, were made subservient to the written words from antiquity.

Yet there comes a time when the elder (King David, and Moses) must become subservient to the Son, the revelation of the Creator, for the purpose of loving God and your neighbor.

Since the Christ who came after the King revealed God as love, we should love love with all our heart, mind, and soul…and our neighbor, more than we love law.

Martin Luther said it this way: “Love is to be the interpreter of the law.”

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If you are planning ahead for using the text for “All Saints Sunday” on Nov. 2 (Matt. 5:1-12 the Beatitudes) – I wrote about each of the Beatitudes in my book that is on Amazon, The Beatitudes: Finding New Meanings in the Language Jesus Spoke.  There are some new ways of understanding them from an Aramaic interpretation – and for the ridiculously low price of 99 cents!

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