As October draws to a close, so too does our brief stop over in conflict land. The ongoing and ever heightening debate between Jesus and the various religious powers-that-be in the Temple has had us dealing with difficult parables, theological nuance, and socio-political background. At every turn, Jesus has silenced his interrogators with wisdom and conviction. Finally, in the Gospel lesson for Proper 25A, he brings the conversation to an end. The problem is, I can’t tell if it ends with a bang or with a whimper.
By now Jesus has silenced the Chief Priests, the Elders, the Pharisees, the Herodians, and the Sadducees: just about everybody who was anybody in First Century Israel. Not to be undone, and most likely because they were stuck in Matthew’s craw, the Pharisees come back for one more tête-à-tête. Their final question, regarding the greatest commandment, we’ll deal with later in the week. Suffice it to say for now that they seem to have given up on tricking Jesus by now.
In response, Jesus asks them one, final question. “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” Everybody knows the answer to that question. Clearly the Messiah is the Son of David. Jesus then quotes from Psalm 110:1 and finishes with these words, “If David thus calls him Lord, how can be be his son?” Boom!?! Fizz!?! Pflmpt…
Matthew tells us that no one was able to answer his question and that from then on, no one dared ask him anything else. Why? Were they as confused as I am about the whole interaction? Were they amazed like they had been after the whole paying taxes encounter? Did they finally realize there was no beating Jesus at his own game? I honestly don’t know the answer here, so if any of my wise readers wants to weigh in, I’m glad to hear your thoughts.