In the reading from Deuteronomy, Moses sees the promised land, and then he dies. He does not get to live in the land which God has promised God’s people.
Is the promised land a place or a condition? Is Jesus living in the promised land?
In the reading from Matthew, Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees. He’s already been questioned by the Sadducees and won that round, but the Pharisees aren’t ready to concede defeat. And so they ask him some questions specifically designed to trick him into saying something damaging.
The questions don’t trick him, and Jesus comes back with an answer that has become one of the central verses of our faith.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39and a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
And then, the tables turn and Jesus asks the people some questions, questions so well designed that Matthew tells us they end this kind of “gotcha” questioning.
And that’s really the point of this passage, the questioning and Jesus’ inability to be out-smarted.
Is Jesus living in the promised land?
What does it mean to live in the promised land?
I’m also thinking about the election, and how many supper tables have declared politics off-limits- too decisive and a topic too difficult to navigate safely.
Are we like the Sadducees in our questioning and taking answers out of context when it serves our beliefs and chosen candidate?
Is being able to talk and listen connected to neighborly-ness?
Are our enemies our neighbors? How are we doing on that count?
Paul Tillich wrote, “The saint is not a saint because he is good, but because he is transparent for something that is more than himself.”
Just some thoughts for this week. What are you thinking?