January 20 – Gospel Readthrough – Matthew 22

Read Matthew 22:1-46

Have you ever questioned something someone says? Of course you have! Haven’t we all?

In today’s chapter, Jesus answers a lot of questions. For us, what He says isn’t profound or out of the ordinary because we didn’t live in the times when Jesus walked the earth. In those days, however, what Jesus said was like a continual mic drop every time He was questioned. 

He knew just what to say and just how to answer. 

As we read a couple of days ago from Jake’s blog on Matthew 12, a relationship with Jesus is not the same as a religion. The Pharisees and Sadducees were two groups of religious men in Jesus’ time. The Pharisees lived by the Mosaic law, written in Moses’ day but also read, learned and studied the prophets and most of the Old Testament whereas the Sadducees lived only by the Mosaic law. They did not believe in resurrection or the spiritual realm. 

So, when looking at their arguments, it makes a little more sense as to why they were questioning Jesus in the subjects they were. However, He is the Son of God. He does not believe in a “religion” but cares about the relationship between the people. 

We see Jesus answer with grace and straightforwardness but in a way that makes them realize He knows just as much as they do. 

When I think of religion, I think of how knowledge is what elevates it. Whereas, a relationship with Jesus is elevated by the relationship itself. 

It’s okay to question and to search out the truth. However, remember that it isn’t about what you know that will elevate your walk with the Lord but about the time you spend within the relationship to elevate Jesus more. 

I was having a conversation with a mentor and friend of mine recently about a paragraph in Charles Swindall’s book “So You Want to Be Like Christ”:

“Guess what churchgoing men and women: religion won’t cut it! We live in a spiritual hothouse where we talk religiously and send religious letters and write religious pamphlets and do religious Bible study guides and answer religious phones and deal with religious concerns. It’s so easy to get religious instead of godly…Don’t suspect for a moment that our environment makes us deep…Hanging out at church hoping it will transform you into a deep Christian is only slightly less foolish than expecting enough time in a garage to turn you into a car”.

That’s both powerful and convicting! Something I had to reflect on is a fact that I have to remember: just because I have knowledge and an understanding of God’s Word doesn’t mean that I can’t glean more from it. It doesn’t mean that the depth of my relationship with Jesus has reached its limit. There is no limit. Religion comes to play when you rely on your knowledge and action to deepen your relationship instead of Jesus. 

I urge you, I encourage you, reflect on whether you are operating out of religion or your relationship with Jesus.

Only one can deepen.

Kelly Lawson 

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