If They Really Knew…Then They Wouldn’t Ask

Rabbi Eric Tokajer Biblical Topics 1 Comment

In Matthew chapter 22, we find the Sadducees attempting to trap Yeshua (Jesus) by asking Him a loaded question about the Torah or Laws of Israel. I am not going to recount the entire event in this article, but it takes place between verses 23 and 33. As with all of the tests or traps that were attempted upon Yeshua, this one had much more meaning than a simple attempt by a leader of a religious faction trying to prove his superiority over the leader of another faction. The text begins with the words:

“On that day, Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Yeshua and questioned Him, saying,” – Matthew 22:23 TLV

We immediately notice two things. First, the Sadducees purposely came to Yeshua to question Him. They came because they were threatened by His growing following and decided to preemptively attack Him in front of His followers and also in front of their followers. This was a purposeful action that is actually in and of itself a violation of the Torah that they proclaimed to follow. The second thing we notice is that the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection. As a matter of fact, they denied belief in almost all of the supernatural.

As we read the text we can almost see the grins on the faces of the Sadducees as they present their question to Yeshua. They fully expected that they had found a way to show their superior knowledge and belief system, and once and for all show the upstart Galilean rabbi and his followers just how wrong they were.  In tennis terms, they were convinced that they had just set the ball up and were only awaiting Yeshua’s reply, so they could slam the ball down – point, game, match. The problem was that instead of setting Yeshua up for defeat they had actually set them selves up for defeat.

You may at this time be wondering where am I going with this article and what does this have to do with me. The truth is that this conversation between the Sadducees and Yeshua may be the most relevant conversation in the Bible for those of us who believe in Yeshua. In our world today we are asked questions in the same way and for the same purpose as this question was asked of Yeshua. We have all heard the question “Can G-D make a rock so big that even G-D cannot pick it up?”. We see this question as an absurd attempt to mock G-D and our faith. But what about when someone proclaims “You can’t be Jewish and Believe in Yeshua” or  they ask “Can we live above sin?” Or they say, as I often hear, “No one can keep the law perfectly can they?” or any of the other questions intended to challenge our belief that G-D saved us from sin, not in our sins.

These questions are still asked of us in the same way and for the same reason or motivation as they were asked of Yeshua. They attempt to trick us into saying something that will diminish the power and promises of G-D. They ask us these questions to prove we are wrong and, by extension, to prove that they are correct. Sometimes we wrestle with these questions and at times we fall into the trap and in the end seemingly agree with those who questioned us in the first place.

Instead we should respond in exactly the same way that our Rabbi Yeshua did. He didn’t argue or try to dissect their question or even respond to their trap and allow the Sadducees even a partial victory. He simply said the following:

“But answering, Yeshua said to them, “You’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God.” – Matthew 22:29 TLV

The truth is that the questions others ask us cannot be answered because the questions are based upon false assumptions, foundations and a faulty Biblical reality.

People who ask those types of questions have gone astray because they do not know the Scriptures and the power of G-D. They might as well be arguing about how a man should fold his wings or how high can a mountain jump. Men do not have wings and mountains don’t jump.

When confronted with challenges to our faith, before answering the question, begin by asking is it really our faith or beliefs being challenged. Because more often than not the challenges isn’t about our faith. The challenge is about a faulty belief or understanding of our faith, and no matter how you answer a faulty question you will always provide a wrong answer. And the reason that our faith is challenged is simply because those questioning don’t know the Scriptures and they don’t know the power of G-D.

Because if they did, they wouldn’t say; “You can’t be Jewish and believe in Yeshua” and they would not ask “Can we can live above sin?” or “No one can keep the law perfectly can they?” because they would already know that Matthew 19:26 says:

“And looking, Yeshua said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

About the Author
Rabbi Eric Tokajer

Rabbi Eric Tokajer

He is Rabbi of Brit Ahm in Pensacola, FL and author of "Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians", "#ManWisdom", "With Me in Paradise", "Transient Singularity", and "OY! How Did I Get Here? - Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry".

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