Mistaken and Lacking Understanding (Matthew 22:29)

But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.”

Matthew 22:29

How often are these statements true of me?

Mistaken. I love the fact that Jesus does not tell these men that they are simply wrong or that they are trying to entrap Him. He was well aware of the trap that they were trying to set for Him. The Greek word, according to the concordance, means something like “wandering.” Jesus essentially tells these men that they were trying to get to a place — the right answer, understanding — and they wandered. I know that there are times when I have sought the right answer and simply taken a wrong turn in Albuquerque.

Not understanding the scriptures. In all candor, the scriptures are sometimes challenging to understand. I have, on multiple occasions, been reading through my Bible and come across a passage that makes no sense. If I persist in slamming my own human intellect against it, it makes no more sense after I have given myself a headache than it did when I began reading. If, on the other hand, I take my confusion to God then He will set me straight and make sense of the thing that confuses me. Jesus does that for these Sadducees, why do I think He will do any less for one of His own?

Not understanding … the power of God. In fairness, the power of God is more than a little incomprehensible to human minds. Jesus is not saying that they do not understand, but that they are simply unfamiliar with it or unaware of it. The verb used — again, according to the concordance — means “to know; to have knowledge of; to perceive” and, yes, “to understand.” Since God’s power is beyond human understanding and Jesus is well aware of this fact, it stands to reason that He is saying instead that they did not know it or perceive it. Perhaps He would go so far as to say that they had never experienced it for themselves. Far too often, I lose sight of the power that God is able to bring to bear against any obstacle in life.

By way of application, I suggest these three things for me this morning. One, that I remember that being mistaken is perfect cause to come to God with my perplexity and get myself sorted and back on the right track. Two, that I seek understanding of the scriptures from their Author, viz., the Holy Spirit. Three, that I frequently call to mind my experiences of God’s power and thus remind myself of what He is capable. The short answer to that last is: anything that does not contradict Who and what He is.

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