"The Law and The Promise!" Matthew 22:34-46

October 08, 2023
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

The Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity 8-October-2023 Sermon Text: Matthew 22:34-46 Sermon Theme: “The Law and The Promise!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert I. The Law Given By Moses Exposes Our Sin! (Vs.34-40) II. The Truth Given By David’s Lord Rescues Sinners! (Vs.41-46)

Episode Notes

The Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity                   8-October-2023
Sermon Text: Matthew 22:34-46
Sermon Theme: “The Law and The Promise!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert
I. The Law Given By Moses Exposes Our Sin! (Vs.34-40)
II. The Truth Given By David’s Lord Rescues Sinners! (Vs.41-46)

I.N.R.I. Psa 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD." King David sang a hymn of joy entering the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. For centuries faithful Jewish pilgrims joined in singing his hymn recorded in the 122nd Psalm as they journeyed to Jerusalem. Faithful Joseph of Nazareth taught his step son Jesus and their other children to sing the hymns of the Faith in their home preparing them to one day join them on festival journeys to the Temple.
      What hymns have you taught your children to sing? As one of my seminary professors pointed out - all songs are hymns worshiping the popular idols of our day. Hymns of the flesh scatter us from the joy of gathering in the House of the Lord every Sunday segregating us by generations. Hymns of the Faith unite people in the Truth - in Jesus - uniting Jews and Gentiles, young and old, male and female, slave and free as the living breathing body of Christ - the true Temple of the Lord.
      Jesus rejoiced to go into the House of the Lord. His first journey to the Temple was as a 40 day old infant. The Redeemer of the world, firstborn Son of the Virgin Mary, would be ceremonial redeemed by the sacrifice Moses commanded. The aged Simeon saw the Messiah in Baby Jesus. He sang a hymn of praise, “Lord, now let your servant die in peace! Your Promise is fulfilled! My eyes have seen Your Salvation!” Death lost its sting, the grave was robbed of its victory - in the flesh and blood of Jesus present in the House of the Lord. The Church still sings Simeon’s hymn in the House of the Lord after receiving Christ’s body and blood in bread and wine with the mouth of our bodies.
      “I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the House of the Lord.” Jesus sang every Passover for the past twenty-one years approaching Jerusalem. From twelve years old He sang the hymns of the Faith at home, in the local synagogue, and in the Temple. The final Passover journey was no different. The pilgrim crowds rejoiced in their Messiah King - “Hosanna” - “Lord, Save us!” “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” Jesus enters His Temple teaching the Truth. His own reject Him. He will not be silenced - He preaches the Truth in love calling them to repentance and the Faith.
      Today we join Jesus on Holy Tuesday in His Temple. He teaches us:
“The Law and The Promise!” I. The Law Given By Moses Exposes Our Sin! (Vs.34-40) II. The Truth Given By David’s Lord Rescues Sinners! (Vs.41-46)
I. The Lord God in our flesh - Jesus - is being investigated in the Temple. The Pharisees in league with the Herodians tried to trap Jesus as a rebel refusing to pay taxes to the Roman government. To their question of the lawfulness of paying Caesar taxes, our Lord responded, Mat 22:21 "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Then the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection of the body, assail Jesus with their scenario showing the foolishness of believing that the dead will live again. Jesus rebukes them - they don’t have true wisdom - they know neither the Scriptures or the power of God. The Truth teaches, Mat 22:31-32 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, (32) 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB' ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
    Matthew accurately records the history of Holy Tuesday. (Mt.22:34) The Pharisees gather together to plot yet another attack against the Preacher. They refuse to listen to the Scriptures and only seek to murder Jesus. (Mt.22:35-36) One of them, a lawyer, an expert in all that was written in the Old Testament and well studied in the writings of the ancient rabbis and their 613 additional laws to keep the faithful from breaking the original ten commandments, asks Jesus for His opinion. The Pharisees often debated for days which commandment was the greatest. Was it circumcision? The peace offering? Corban? The Sabbath?
      The One Who Gave the Law through Moses. The One Who spoke from the midst of the dark cloud on Sinai to the freed Hebrew slaves. The Lord in His Temple speaks! (Mt. 22:37) Moses repeated this great commandment after confessing the Creed of the Faithful. Deu 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! “ The first table of the Law calls us creatures to love our Creator from the center of our being. We are body and soul creatures - created either male or female from the moment of conception by the Creator’s will written on our chromosomes. We are to love our Creator - the Lord - Yahweh - “Your” God - the Almighty God who personally created and knows your sitting down and rising up, even every word before you speak it. We are to love Him alone with all our mind - taking our reason, our thinking captive to His Word as He reveals Himself and His will for our lives. This is the first and great commandment.  
      Have you kept it? Before you answer listen!(Mt.22:39-40) Our sinful fallen human nature twists this command into the lie that I can’t love others unless I love myself. The cult of individualism, self-determinism, narcissism, the cult of selfie - ism, isolates, mutilates, and murders those who dare to get in the way of my love for self. Love is never self-serving. Love cares for the neighbors needs in the light of the Creator’s will. It isn’t love to allow people to rest comfortably in their beds while their house is on fire. It isn’t love to allow children to drink any liquid they find under the kitchen sink. It isn’t love to not care that our neighbor is destroying their bodies and lives with lies, surgeries, drugs, or the like.
Do you love God above all things? Or do you ignore His will to fit in with the times? The Spirit of Truth teaches, “1Jn 4:20-21 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (21) And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
  The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. The Law exposes us as idolaters, sinners, under God’s wrath, deserving only the just judgment of eternal hell fire. The Law of God isn’t at fault - we are - from Adam’s rebellion we hate God and our neighbor - living only for self. We cannot save ourselves from our sin. We have no hope within!
II. “I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the House of the Lord.” Moses preaches the promise of Christ Jesus to the children of Israel. The Lord set His heart in love on their fathers - He elected to save them - as sinful, stubborn, and rebellious as they were through His Son! Paul, the great Pharisee lawyer, preaches a greater doctrine to his troubled congregation at Corinth, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!” Grace - in Christ Jesus our God gives us what we haven’t earned or deserved. Peace - restoration in the flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ!
    Behold the mercy of our God! Jesus will not allow the Pharisees to end with the Law. He preaches the greater doctrine - the Promise- the Gospel. Listen! (Mt. 22:41-42) Both Pharisees and Sadducees hoped for the Messiah - the Anointed One - the Christ. The Pharisees were certain they had fulfilled God’s Law - they didn’t need a Messiah to rescue them from their sins through forgiveness. The Sadducees had no need for a Messiah to rescue them from death. They both longed for a Messiah to free them from Roman rule and elevate Jerusalem and the Jews as rulers over the world. They wanted the Son of David - an earthly King to set up an earthly kingdom for their glory.
    David, the shepherd king, rejoiced in Jesus! (Mt. 22:43-44) David sings this hymn of Jesus in the 110th Psalm. His descendant the Messiah is the Lord. God in our flesh. The eternally begotten Son of God humbles Himself to be born of the Virgin Mother - descended from David, yet David’s Lord. Listen to this comforting Gospel! God doesn’t take on our flesh, become our Brother to damn us. He comes to give us what we don’t deserve. He comes to rescue us from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil. He ransoms us sinners with His Holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.
    The Gospel shuts all our mouths! (Mt. 22:45-46) The Pharisees cannot answer. Dear Christian - be glad to be here in the House of the Lord. He suffered and died for your sins. He rested in your grave. He is risen. He has ascended and rules over all things in heaven and earth. Your Brother rules at the right hand of God the Father. Where is the Father’s right hand - everywhere - for creation is upheld by His powerful Word.  
    David’s faith fills us with joy. Dr. Luther wrote, “If we had David’s faith, this joy would surely be in us; and with joy we would have certain comfort and the strength to defy all the attacks of sin, death, the devil, and the world. For whoever believes steadfastly that he has as his Lord Him who sits on high and Who is of our flesh and blood, cannot despair and be intimidated by sin.” Christ’s Kingdom is surrounded by His enemies, but even now He is making His enemies His footstool. Until the last enemy - death is put under His feet - in His glorious return - the resurrection of our bodies and the life of the world to come for all the faithful.
      Here is our comfort in all trials. Luther wrote, “This is the kind of joy and comfort St. Bernard had in his heart, so that he could say, on the basis of this article: “How can I ever become sad and mournful or discouraged? After all my flesh and blood sits in heaven above, I expect He will not be my enemy!” Facing the cross and paying hell for our sins - Jesus sang David’s hymn of joy - it echos in His trial before Caiaphas Mat 26:63-64 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" (64) Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."....When the Sanhedrin were murdering Stephan for preaching the truth - David’s gospel hymn comforted him -Act 7:55-56 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, (56) and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"...Act 7:59-60 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (60) Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the House of the Lord - prepared for us by Jesus in the Father’s house. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life - He alone brings us Home by His flesh and blood. Amen.

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