The Rev. Jon Roberts
Calvary Episcopal Church
Indian Rocks Beach, FL
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Whose Son Is the Messiah? 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
The Pharisees Question Jesus, James Tissot 1886-1894
Lordy, Lordy, looks who’s forty.
His life was not lonely and his life was not shortie.
He had to go down so that others could rise up.
These things he shared
A little bread and a cup.
Who was he.
Riddles. Everyone loves a good riddle. Here is another. It goes…
“A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies on the spot. The son is rushed to the ER. The attending surgeon looks at the boy and says, ‘I cannot operate on this boy. He's my son!’ How can this be?”
Who was it?
Many of you have heard this. The answer: it was the boy’s mother. A study has been done over the years using the responses to this riddle to understand cultural stereotypes. In the 1970s, this riddle entered American culture for the first time on the comedy show, “All in the Family.” A study afterwards showed that 80% of the respondents failed to give the answer. Why was that? It is because men dominated the field of surgery. Their role made it nearly impossible to imagine it could be a woman, even though a woman, a mother no less, would seem the likely person to claim he is, “My son.”
Riddles and roles are throughout the Bible, through several generations. The main reason for the use of riddles in the Bible was to hide information from the hard-hearted who rejected the truth while revealing it to true believers. This is why Jesus spoke in parables and why he riddles the Pharisees. Many assumed Jesus was living into the defined role of the Messiah, the prophesied deliver of the Jewish nation. Others could not and most likely would not. The culture perceived the Messiah as a male, someone who was religious (highly versed in scripture from the Torah) and one who could do miracles. Jesus checked all the boxes, but for some reason, the Pharisees could not see it. This is why they tested him. Lordy, Lordy.
They asked Jesus a question and Jesus gave them two answers. Jesus asked them a question and they had no answer. They began: “What is the greatest commandment in the Law (Torah)?” Jesus answered by taking from the Law, the Torah, that we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul, AND the second is like unto it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. They are inseparable as one is the catalyst and the other becomes the inhibitor. How we relate to the Father, loving Him, is gauged by how we relate to the neighbor. It is how we are presented the riddle. Jesus came to the Pharisees as the neighbor, and they did not love him. He offered them nothing in exchange. He added no benefit in their opinion. His two, inseparable answers, gave proof to his knowledge of scripture, knowledge of the Law that they practiced, religiously. Citing from both Deuteronomy (6:5) and Leviticus (19:18), they had nothing to say, nothing to receive because they already condemned him. Jesus turned into an inhibitor for them rather than a savior. Lordy, Lordy.
They huddled, in the hopes to give a counterargument, but Jesus was too quick. He gave the catalyst with his parable, a riddle if you will. “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son, is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
How was that possible? They failed to know the answer, but Jesus knew. He was there. With the Holy Spirit and the Father, as One, Jesus, The Lord, was there speaking to David. Lordy, Lordy.
“Look who’s forty”: It is interesting to ponder the coming of the Messiah as it relates to the number forty. There were forty generations from the life of Abraham to Moses, Moses to David and David to Jesus. Roughly, about 1800 years. There have been forty generations, roughly from the life of Jesus to his disciples, to their disciples, to their disciples, the church, and to the formation of the United States, one nation, under God. He told David to sit at his right hand until he put his enemies under his feet. He did so, but it didn’t last long. David and his descendants took their sovereignty for granted, let down their guard and got weak. How long do a people of God think they have, when they no longer recognize the Father, because they WON’T recognize the Son? Lordy, Lordy.
Jesus knew this when he spoke to Abraham, to Moses, to David and all the others, including those in our present day; Us. Our leaders had better recognize when a “reckoning” is coming. God, the Father will certainly catalyze that meeting and Jesus will be the inhibitor of pride. How much time is left? It may be ‘shortie’ but it is not intended to be lonely. One came down so that others may rise. Who went down so that we have a chance of going up? Who is willing to teach you how to worship the Father, to follow His ways, His design, His world, His kingdom? It is the one who shows you each time you gather how to pray and receive some bread and a cup. If you do not see him as the neighbor, you won’t get the riddle. If you fail to see Jesus in your own life, how will you show Jesus to others? Who is the Messiah, this Savior of the world? Who is this Son of God? Well, it is Jesus of course. Lordy, Lordy.
 The Rev. Jon Roberts
 When a stereotype dumbfounds: Probing the nature of the surgeon = male belief Volume 3, 2022
 Matthew 22:34-46
 Fourteen Generations, January 4, 2008.