Questions

The kind of questions that the Pharisees throw back at Jesus shows not
just their inability but their unwillingness to understand him. After
all, many others who heard the same words “came to believe him.” What
separates the two groups, and to which of them do we belong?

The verse immediately preceding the gospel situates the conversation
in the Treasury, and thus offers a key to the Pharisees’ mindset. In
the Temple, the Pharisees are made keenly aware of their wealth and
power causing them to turn a blind eye towards Jesus who tells them
that they must be “above this world” if they are to truly understand
his essence. They are like the rich man mentioned elsewhere in the
gospel who becomes downcast when Jesus tells him that he must sell all
his belongings if he is to become a true follower. The second group –
those who understood Jesus – likely comprise the Pharisees’ subjects,
poor folk who own very little precisely because the Pharisees had
extracted so much from them. Unless we become less attached to our
worldly possessions, we will find ourselves no different from the
Pharisees and miss out on the true meaning of Jesus’ message.

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