A common thread running through this chapter, is the testing that the religious leaders put Jesus through:
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. Mat 22:15
The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, Mat 22:23
But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, saying, Mat 22:35
And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. Mat 22:46
We saw in today’s reading of Exo 12, as God was bringing the tenth and final plague on to the Egyptians, that the Israelites were to take a male lamb without blemish on the tenth day of the month, and keep it till the fourteenth day of the month (to ascertain that it was in fact without blemish). Then they were to kill it on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, and apply its blood to the doorposts and lintels of their houses. At midnight that same night, when the Destroyer passed through the land to slay every firstborn son, he would pass over the houses which were marked by the blood, and not enter in to destroy.
Jesus is our Passover Lamb. The year He was crucified, He entered in to Jerusalem as we read yesterday in Mat 21, to great acclaim and praise, on the tenth day of the month. The questioning that He endured afterward by the Herodians (those who conformed themselves to the way of the Greeks), Pharisees (talmudists or advocates of the Oral Law), and Sadducees (scriptural literalists or advocates of the Written Law or Torah) corresponds to the examination by the priests of the Passover lambs from the tenth to the fourteenth day, to ensure that they were without blemish.
The religious leaders prepared their best traps and their hardest questions. He answered them all, and they were unable to answer Him a word. Did you notice that in previous chapters, the Pharisees would ask Him to perform a sign, and He would say, No sign will be given to you but the sign of the prophet Jonah! Or, in other words, “No!” Or they would ask Him where His authority came from, and He would say, Neither will I tell you where my authority comes from. Or, in other words, “No!”
But in this chapter, Jesus allowed all their questions and provided them all with answers, and they were not able to answer Him back a word. Even though they did not know what they were doing, they were examining the Passover Lamb to ensure that He was without blemish. God knew, and since it was His command, He complied with the questioning.
The people who were asking the questions, were the experts in Scripture. They were supposed to know what they were talking about. But obviously, they were in error, each in their own way. How can we be sure that the same thing does not happen to us?
Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Mat 22:29
These were experts in the Law! How could they not know the Scriptures? The Scriptures at this time (for the New Testament was as yet unwritten) included the Torah + the Prophets + the Writings (Psalms, Job, Kings, etc.). You see, the Torah is the foundation of the Scriptures. Why did God add more to His Word than Torah? The Prophets and the Writings teach us what Torah means. The Torah + Prophets teach us what the Writings mean. The Torah + Writings teach us what the Prophets mean. The Old Testament teaches us what the New Testament means. The New Testament teaches us what the Old Testament means. When we excise ANY portion of Scripture from our reading or study, we are in essence telling God that we are wiser than He is. We open ourselves to error, not knowing the Scriptures.
But notice it is not just not knowing the Scriptures that opens us to error. It is also not knowing the power of God. This is the same word in Greek which is used of the miracles performed by the power of the Holy Spirit that we read about in Acts. Now the word of God was spoken out of the abundance of the heart of God, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Mat 12:34). What is at the heart of God, but the Spirit of God? God’s Word and Spirit are not at odds! They are unified and walk hand in hand!
The Word of God instructs us in the righteous outworking of the power of God, and the power and Spirit of God instructs us in our understanding of the Word of God. One without the other equals error! Both together guards our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.