THE FOURTH QUESTION
Then the Pharisees, when they heard that the Sadducees were put to silence, attempted again to examine Jesus. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, trying Him: "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" (22:36). He asked in other words, "How do you expound the Books of Moses?" This question concerned the exposition and interpretation of the Bible. It was exceedingly easy, of course, for the Lord Jesus to deal with this. He replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (22:37-39). It is so simple. The law and the prophets all hang on these two commandments. The Lord gave them the proper answer. Then they had no word to say. Eventually all their mouths were shut. But they would not depart; they still continued there to lose the case.
Just consider: besides these four kinds of problems, what other questions could be raised? The first related to religion, the second to politics, the third to the faith, and the fourth to scriptural interpretation. Today in Christianity we still have all these problems, and people pay their full attention to them.
THE LORD’S QUESTION
To all these questions, the Lord Jesus undoubtedly had an answer. But now the Lord Himself raised a question. I would call this the question of questions. "Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, What think ye of the Christ? Whose Son is He?" (22:41-42). Today, in the entire universe, it is not a matter of religion, politics, the faith, or the interpretation of the Scriptures, but altogether a matter of Christ. What do you think of Christ? Who is He? It is so simple. Christianity today deals with all these matters—religion, politics, faith, and scriptural interpretation—but hardly a one will deal with the living Christ. They tackle every matter but the living Christ Himself. We are in exactly the same situation today as in the ancient times.
The Pharisees answered Jesus rightly. They replied that Christ is the Son of David. But then Jesus asked in effect, "How then could David, the grandfather, call the grandson his Lord?" That shut their mouth. They could answer in the way of knowledge, but they could not discern reality in the Spirit. They had learned that Christ is the Son of David, but they had received no revelation in the spirit that this Christ who is on one hand the Son of David is also the Lord of all. They were one hundred percent in their mind and not one percent in their spirit. They had the Bible, but they missed Christ. How many dear ones have been distracted, frustrated, and kept away from Christ by Bible knowledge. This does not mean that we do not need the Bible. We need it, but we need it in a spiritual way, a living way. We must be careful never to let Bible knowledge blind us to the living Christ. It is not a matter of knowledge or teaching, but absolutely a matter of the living Christ. It is His living presence, it is His living Spirit. The letter kills, the knowledge deadens, and scriptural interpretation confuses, frustrates and distracts. We need the living Bible, the living Word, the living teaching. If so, we must turn ourselves from our mind to the spirit and learn like David to be in spirit to call Him Lord. "O Lord! O Lord! O Lord! I do not care for my knowledge, I do not care for any teaching, I just care for my living Lord in my spirit. I turn to my spirit and call Him Lord." By your mental figuration, you can never understand the Bible. If you would see something of this book, you must virtually cut off your head and turn yourself wholly and thoroughly to your spirit and say, O Lord!
Religion, politics, the faith, and scriptural interpretation must all pass away for us. Christ has the answer to each of these questions, but He does not care for them; neither must we care for anything but the living Lord, the living Christ. As long as we have His presence, it is sufficient. We must learn just to turn to our spirit and say, O Lord! This is the way to experience Him.
We must all realize the Lord’s marvelous wisdom in questioning the Pharisees. In His question the Lord referred to the matter of His person. This is a tremendous matter. If we would know the Lord, we must know His person. On the one hand He is the Son of man, but on the other hand He is also the Son of God. As the Son of man He is a descendant of David, but as the Son of God He is the Lord today. As the Son of man He is a real man, but as the Son of God He is God Himself. We must all realize the two natures of the Lord’s person. He is divine as well as human; He is a human being as well as a divine person. The question He directed to the Pharisees indicates all the things related to Him.
(Christ versus Religion, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)