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20th Sunday after Pentecost


[Resources for Pentecost+20]


Sermon Excerpt: Final Jeopardy,  Matthew 22:34-40, Rev. Randy Quinn

I think someone had too much time on their hands. That’s what I think. Someone – some unknown person centuries ago – carefully examined the books of Exodus and Leviticus and Numbers and Deuteronomy and determined that there were exactly 613 different commands God gave the people of Israel. And what’s worse, there were people who verified the correct count!

Clearly they didn’t have enough to do! But there is no doubt that there were plenty of laws from which Jesus could have chosen. Which is the greatest commandment?

In some ways, it’s too bad we are so familiar with the answer Jesus gives. I say that because it would be a fruitful exercise for each of us to read through the law and come up with our own answers.

I’m convinced Micah did that. He summarized the law by saying God requires us to “act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with our God (Mic. 6:8). David came up with his own list of 11 things in Psalm15. Some would argue that, in fact, the Ten Commandments were the first attempt to simplify and prioritize the numerous laws God had given, and that their role in the scripture is to invite us to do the same – to find ways to summarize them for ourselves.

But since Jesus has done such a good job, we think there is a “right” answer and a “wrong” answer to the question. We are tempted to “push the buzzer” and yell out the answer rather than experience the benefits that come from the process of thinking it through for our selves.

So let me try a different question. Of all the things Jesus said, what do you think is the most important..... Subscribers: click here for the full sermon manuscript.