Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22) | Story

This passage shows two groups become unlikely allies. The Herodians are a bit of an unknown factor, we know they wished to restore a member of the Herodian dynasty to the throne in Judea, and they fought for political independence but little else. As long as Rome let them fully rule themselves, they probably would have been happy. The Pharisees would have found these terms totally offensive, nothing but an offspring of David should rule as king over the land and the only higher authority for their king would have been divine. Bringing the Herodians along for a political question concerning Rome was a clever play, they would have no problem getting Jesus arrested for not paying taxes.

This retold version of the Bible passage is supplied for inspiration, feel free to omit or embellish to give it your personal voice.

Main Passage : Matthew 22

Biblical retelling of The Greatest commandment (Matthew 22) for youngsters.

Jesus was making a lot of noise. Lots of people were gathering wherever he went. People were chatting about him in the streets, passing on his stories and his teaching. It made the religious leaders very nervous.

There were lots of types of religious leaders. There were those who followed all the rules, even making up new rules; they were called the Pharisees. Some of the Pharisees liked Jesus, but most of them didn’t. Jesus broke the rules; so they didn’t want people to follow his example. If they started breaking some rules, where would they stop?

Another group of religious leaders were called the Sadducees. There weren’t so many of them, and they liked to think they were the most important. Being a religious leader made them rich and powerful. Some of the Sadducees were puzzled by Jesus’s wise teachings, but many hated Jesus because he made them look greedy for money and power.

Jesus had to be stopped. They had to find a problem with his teaching, one they could use to prove he was wrong and they were right. So, they made a plan. They would ask Jesus some questions that didn’t have a right answer.

First, a Pharisee tried to trap Jesus with a question on taxes, but Jesus was too clever to be trapped so easily. Then, a Sadducee tried to trap Jesus with a question about marriage, but Jesus made him look foolish! As the Sadducee had failed, another Pharisee tried once again. This Pharisee was an expert on scripture and the law. “Which commandment is the most important?” he asked.

Jesus smiled. He liked this question. There were hundreds of commandments to choose from and were all important, but he knew just two would cover everything. Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’” The crowd was silent. Every single law could be simplified to one of these two sentences. Even the Pharisee looked impressed.

Jesus had had enough of them trying to trap him. He was happy to answer their questions, but they didn’t really want to know the answers; they wanted to trip him up. So, he asked them a question about the scripture, which nobody could answer. Embarrassed, they left him alone. I wonder what things about God you would like to ask Jesus?

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