Your God is Too Small

A reading for Tuesday, December 10, 2013: Matthew 22:34-46

Sometimes I wish I could see the dialogue that happens between the verses of scripture.  It seems to me that often there is more conversation going on then the writer of the scripture has decided was important enough to include.  Today's lesson is a perfect example...

The rabbis, including Jesus, are having a healthy debate about faith and scripture and the meaning of all things.  They have asked Jesus a fundamental question about the greatest commandment and Jesus has answered them exactly as they would have expected.  Every faithful Jew would have know that this is the greatest commandment.  Jesus does not have to pick from a multiple choice list and hope for the right answer.  The answer Jesus gives is the answer, at least for the Sadducees.

But then Jesus asks a fundamental question of the Sadducees.  From where does the Messiah come?  Again, as turnabout is often fair play, the Sadducees give the expected response.  Every Jew knows that when the Messiah comes, it will be out of the root and line of Jesse and King David.  Everybody knows that...

But then I imagine Jesus saying, and this is the dialogue that is not included, "Yes you are right, but your God is too small."  The Sadducees are still only able to imagine a human king, and a warrior Messiah who would deliver the enemies of God's people to them in defeat.  Jesus wants them to see something bigger.  The Messiah is not simple a human king, but is instead the very presence of God in the world.  It is beyond their imagination.  That is why, says Jesus, that even the greatest King David calls him Lord.

What about us?  As we imagine again the coming of Christ in the incarnation of Christmas, what dialogue is missing?  Is our God big enough?  Do we too quickly put God in our convenient boxes, where we can control the uncontrollable Spirit of the Living God?

The Sadducees and the Pharisees stopped asking Jesus fundamental questions.

I am grateful to God that we have not stopped asking those questions...


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