“Unit 5, Day 4: Matthew 22:15–46,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 5, Day 4,” New Testament Study Guide
While Jesus continued teaching at the temple, the Pharisees and the Sadducees tried to entrap Him by asking Him difficult questions. He successfully responded to their questions and told them to obey the laws of the land and to keep the two great commandments.
What are some important laws the government has established in our society? Why do you think they are important?
As you study Matthew 22:15–22, look for what Jesus Christ taught about obeying the laws of the land.
Remember that during the last week of the Savior’s life, He taught at the temple in Jerusalem. Read Matthew 22:15, looking for what the Pharisees tried to do to the Savior. To “entangle him in his talk” means that the Pharisees were trying to trick the Savior into saying things that would discredit Him.
Read Matthew 22:16–17, looking for how the Pharisees tried to trick the Savior. It might be helpful to know that the word tribute in verse 17 means taxes, and Caesar was the emperor of the Roman Empire, which ruled over Israel at that time.
The question the Pharisees asked Jesus was a potential trap because if He said it was right to pay taxes to the Roman Empire, the Jews would consider Him a supporter of Rome and disloyal to His own people. If the Savior told them it was not lawful to pay taxes, then the Pharisees could accuse Him of treason and report Him to the Roman authorities.
Read Matthew 22:18–21, looking for how the Savior responded to the Pharisees’ question.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: Why do you think the Savior’s answer was a perfect response to the Pharisees’ question?
The phrase “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” in verse 21 refers to our obligation to obey civil laws, such as the law to pay taxes.
From these verses we learn the following truth: The Lord expects us to be good citizens and obey the laws of the land.
Why is it important for us, as disciples of Jesus Christ, to be good citizens and obey the laws of the land? (See Articles of Faith 1:12.) Why does the Lord expect us to be both good citizens and good Church members and to obey the laws of the land and His laws?
Read Matthew 22:22, looking for how the Pharisees reacted to the Savior’s response.
In addition to the Pharisees, the Sadducees also tried to trap the Savior in His words as He taught at the temple. Read Matthew 22:23–28, looking for how the Sadducees tried to trick the Savior. Note that the Sadducees believed that “there is no resurrection” (verse 23).
How would you summarize the question the Sadducees asked the Savior?
The Sadducees intentionally misapplied an Old Testament custom that was designed to provide for widows (see Deuteronomy 25:5–6; Bible Dictionary, “Levirate marriage”). They attempted to exaggerate this custom to discredit the doctrine of the Resurrection.
Read Matthew 22:29–30, looking for the Savior’s response to the Sadducees’ question. Notice what Jesus said cannot happen in, or at the time of, the Resurrection.
Within the context of the plan of salvation, Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave an explanation of Matthew 22:29–30:
“[Jesus Christ] is not denying but limiting the prevailing concept that there will be marrying and giving in marriage in heaven. He is saying that as far as ‘they’ (the Sadducees) are concerned, that as far as ‘they’ (‘the children of this world’) are concerned, the family unit does not and will not continue in the resurrection. …
“‘Therefore, when they [those who will not, do not, or cannot live the law of eternal marriage] are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage.’
“That is, there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage in heaven for those to whom Jesus was speaking; for those who do not even believe in a resurrection, let alone all the other saving truths; for those who are unrighteous and ungodly; for those who live after the manner of the world; for the great masses of unrepentant mankind. All of these will fall short of gaining the fulness of reward hereafter” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:606).
The Lord revealed many important truths regarding eternal marriage to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Read Doctrine and Covenants 132:15–17, looking for what the Lord revealed to the Prophet about marriage in those verses.
Who did the Lord say would “neither marry nor [be] given in marriage” (D&C 132:16) in the Resurrection?
To be married “not by me nor by my word” (D&C 132:15) means that a person has not been sealed to his or her spouse in the temple by the authority of the priesthood.
From Matthew 22:30 and Doctrine and Covenants 132:15–17, we learn that those who are not sealed by priesthood authority to their spouses in mortality or through proxy ordinances in temples will not be married in the world to come.
How did the people respond when they heard the Savior teach these doctrines?
- In your scripture study journal, write as many commandments as you can think of in one minute.
Some Jewish rabbis believed that there were 613 laws or commandments in the law of Moses. Read Matthew 22:34–36, looking for the question one of the Pharisees asked Jesus concerning these commandments. You may want to mark this question in your scriptures.
Without looking at the Savior’s answer, circle a commandment on the list you wrote in your journal that you think is the “great,” or most important, commandment.
Read Matthew 22:37–40, looking for how the Savior responded to the Pharisee’s question. (Matthew 22:36–39 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way to help you locate it in the future.)
The Lord’s direction to “love thy neighbor” refers to how we treat others.
Why do you think these two commandments are considered the greatest commandments?
The phrase “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40) means that all the commandments God revealed in the law of Moses and through Old Testament prophets were designed to help the people show their love for God, their love for their neighbor, or both.
From these verses we learn the following principle: If we truly love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, then we will strive to keep all of God’s commandments.
Refer to the list of commandments you wrote in your scripture study journal. Put a star by the commandments that show love for God and a square by those commandments that show love for our neighbor. (Some commandments may be marked with both a star and a square.)
Ponder a time when you chose to obey a particular commandment to show your love for God or for another person.
Think of a commandment that you could obey more faithfully to show your love for Heavenly Father or for another person. Make a goal to obey that commandment more faithfully.
For each scripture mastery passage, you should be able to identify the context, the doctrine or principle, and how to apply the truth to your life. (See the scripture mastery resources available on LDS.org for study resources.)
In Matthew 22:36–39, the context is Jesus Christ’s response to a Pharisee who asked which commandment was the greatest. One doctrine or principle taught in that passage is that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor. Notice that in verse 37 it says to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (italics added). An application of this scripture mastery passage would be to ponder the following questions: How can you show love for God with your heart, soul, and mind? How can you show love to God’s children?
- Ponder what it means to love God with all of your heart. Then ponder what it means to love Him with all of your soul. Then consider how you can love Him with all of your mind. Write your thoughts about these three ideas in your scripture study journal.
After the Savior successfully answered the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ questions, He asked the Pharisees some questions. Read Matthew 22:41–42, looking for what the Savior asked the Pharisees.
According to those verses, what questions did Jesus Christ ask the Pharisees? How did the Pharisees respond?
Most Jews knew that Christ, or the Messiah, would be a descendant of King David. The Pharisees believed the Messiah would be crowned king of Israel and help the Jews defeat Rome and receive their freedom, as King David had done previously. In Matthew 22:43–46 we read that Jesus taught the Pharisees that according to their own scriptures, Christ was more than just the son of David—He was also the Son of God. Jesus recited Psalm 110:1 to the Pharisees in explaining this (see Matthew 22:44).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: “Can there be any question as to how Jesus is interpreting the words of the Psalm? He is saying that it means: ‘The Father said unto the Son, Elohim said unto Jehovah, sit thou on my right hand, until after your mortal ministry; then I will raise you up to eternal glory and exaltation with me, where you will continue to sit on my right hand forever.’ Is it any wonder that the inspired account concludes the matter by saying, ‘And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.’ (Matt. 22:41–46)” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ , 102).
- Ponder how you would answer the following questions: What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He? Write your thoughts in your scripture study journal.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Matthew 22:15–26 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: