See the notes at Matthew 22:41-46.
The common people heard him gladly - The success of the Saviour in his preaching was chiefly among the common or the poorer class of people. The rich and the mighty were too proud to listen to his instructions. So it is still. The main success of the gospel is there, and there it pours down its chief blessings. This is not the fault of “the gospel.” It would bless the rich and the mighty as well as the poor, if they came with like humble hearts. God knows no distinctions of men in conferring his favors; and wherever there is a poor, contrite, and humble spirit - be it clothed in rags or in purple - be it on a throne or on a dunghill - there he confers the blessings of salvation.
The wisdom of Christ's answer had convicted the scribe. He knew that the Jewish religion consisted in outward ceremonies rather than inward piety. He had some sense of the worthlessness of mere ceremonial offerings, and the faithless shedding of blood for expiation of sin. Love and obedience to God, and unselfish regard for man, appeared to him of more value than all these rites. The readiness of this man to acknowledge the correctness of Christ's reasoning, and his decided and prompt response before the people, manifested a spirit entirely different from that of the priests and rulers. The heart of Jesus went out in pity to the honest scribe who had dared to face the frowns of the priests and the threats of the rulers to speak the convictions of his heart. “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” DA 608.1
The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father's law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man's duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins. DA 608.2
The Pharisees had gathered close about Jesus as He answered the question of the scribe. Now turning He put a question to them: “What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?” This question was designed to test their belief concerning the Messiah,—to show whether they regarded Him simply as a man or as the Son of God. A chorus of voices answered, “The Son of David.” This was the title which prophecy had given to the Messiah. When Jesus revealed His divinity by His mighty miracles, when He healed the sick and raised the dead, the people had inquired among themselves, “Is not this the Son of David?” The Syrophoenician woman, blind Bartimaeus, and many others had cried to Him for help, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David.” Matthew 15:22. While riding into Jerusalem He had been hailed with the joyful shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 21:9. And the little children in the temple had that day echoed the glad ascription. But many who called Jesus the Son of David did not recognize His divinity. They did not understand that the Son of David was also the Son of God. DA 608.3Read in context »
Idle Words—With the talent of speech we are to communicate the truth as we have opportunity. It should ever be used in God's service. But this talent is grievously abused. Words are spoken that do great harm. Christ declared, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”—The Review and Herald, September 12, 1899. VSS 65.1Read in context »