Call and Response

Audio available below!  Enjoy the preaching!

Look for the patterns in every story in God’s word, and you have a key which unlocks great mysteries.

I am really glad I have a chance to study these things with you.  I have always been interested in the 12 Disciples, their lives, their ministries, what the various tradition say about them.  Not much is told in the scriptures, but there are good reasons to believe the traditional stories that have been passed down about each Apostle.  The traditional stories about the Apostles are really fascinating and fantastic, and sometimes a little tragic because they pretty much all die torturous executions.  I won’t get into it here, because my focus is to dig into the passage we do have, supplement it a little bit with other passages from the Synoptic Gospels, and really try to unearth some buried treasure.  Mark my words, there are priceless gems just beneath the surface waiting for us to discover them, and the further in we mine the richer these jewels become.

I believe that most of you would like to know God’s word better.  I also think that many of you don’t know where or how to start.  It can be intimidating.  Sometimes, the bible can seem hard to understand, even impossible.  Today I hope to change all that by sharing some simple, ready to use, bible study tools.  There are a lot of great free tools out there online and on your cell phone.  Maybe you are a tech savvy person, and you’d like to download the Bible App for your smartphone.  I think that’s great.  Or, maybe you are a little more old school.  That’s no problem, because there is an awesome website called with free commentaries articles and bible dictionaries.  Maybe you hate computers, well did you know most public libraries have bible commentary and study materials in their non-fiction section?

Failing any of those options, I think it would be worth our time if I share with you a few simple bible study tools I use in my own personal devotion time.  As we make our way through today’s bible lesson, I am going to introduce to you a series of STUDY HABITS.  I am not going to be content with giving you a fish, in this case lessons from God’s word, but I am going to try to teach you how to fish, so you can study and learn on your own.

STUDY HABIT 1:  It is always good to be aware of the broader context, when studying a passage. Look for the Who, What, When and Where.  The passage you are reading today might make more sense if you keep in mind what you read yesterday.

The disciples each have a unique interaction with Jesus, which convinces them to obey and follow him.  This occurs at Bethany, where John the Baptizer had been preaching and baptizing.  For the second day in a row John sees Jesus, cries out a witness regarding the Lord’s true identity, and redirects his own followers’ attentions to Jesus.  As if to make absolutely sure that Andrew and the Other Guy could know who Jesus is, he tells them the exact same message, “Behold the Lamb of God”.  This clear reference to a perfect sacrifice, prepared by God, would have been instantly recognizable by any religious Jew, while simultaneously remaining mystifying at its being used of a man.  The term itself, being used of a man, would have raised eyebrows and questions.  It is also interesting to note that, all subsequent lambs of God were actual lambs, and had previously only atoned for Jewish worshipers.  Now, John is saying that Jesus will function as total, worldwide, Jew and Gentile Lamb.  As explicit as this saying seems to us, knowing what we know about the Lord and the complete revelation of scriptures, it would have been extremely perplexing (bordering on distressing) to hear John the Baptizer proclaim Jesus to be the Lamb of God.

STUDY HABIT 2:  Outline the Passage by listing the highlights.  Briefly summarize the text.  A good outline will help you remember what you read.  For the purpose of teaching this bible lesson to you, my outline will be much more involved and complete.  Yours only needs to be a few sentences about each major event or topic.

Andrew: Disciple of John the Baptizer. John tells Andrew to behold Jesus, “the Lamb of God”. Immediately he gets up and literally follows Jesus, until the Lord turns around to question him. Jesus ask him what he wants. He wants to know where the Lord is staying. In a way, Andrew is implying that He wants to go wherever Jesus goes. If he is staying under a roof, Andrew wanted to be there also. If Jesus was going to sleep under the stars, Andrew would make his bed beside Him. Even though this was Andrew’s town, he was going to go with Jesus. Andrew calls his brother Simon.

SIMON: Brother of Andrew. His is a fishermen by trade. Jesus lays eyes on him and grants him a destiny. Just like the cement sets and hardens, as soon as Jesus proclaimed that “You will be called Cephas” his destiny was cast in stone. Simon listened to his brother, Andrew’s admonition that this man Jesus was the Messiah, and had to have a look for himself. We don’t know what level of belief was in his heart prior to meeting Jesus, but one can assume that he instantly gave Him his allegiance. This can be inferred, because Simon left his town and his given name, to travel with Jesus to Galilee.  How would you like it if as soon as you laid eyes on a new friend, he totally re-interpreted for you your entire life’s calling and destiny?  Some of us would be scared.  Some might be a little put of.  Some would disbelieve.  The thing about Simon is, he had probably been a stone all along, but he just needed someone to see it in him and reveal it to him.  You can take it to the bank that when Jesus gives you a mandate, it is because he really truly knows you.  And, he can really truly bring it to pass.

Philip: Resident of Bethsaida. It simply says Jesus finds him, as if he is just sitting around, waiting around, doing nothing with his life. When Jesus finds him, everything changes. Jesus commanded him to “Follow me.” And he did so. Not only that he goes and “finds” his brother who was just sitting around, waiting around, goofing off under a tree. Like Andrew, Phillip goes and finds his brother to tell them they found the Messiah! John’s gospel says Jesus found them, yet Philip tells Nathaniel that they found Jesus. Isn’t this interesting. In their excitement over the most important discovery of all time, the disciples actually get the order wrong. Maybe it is because it was so personal for them. They felt that the thing they had been looking for their entire lives had suddenly materialized, so it was easy for them to think “I found Jesus.” Imagine your surprise if some great treasure you had always desired came to your town one day and “found” you. You’re sitting there, minding your own business, maybe closely scrutinizing the teachings of the local treasure hunting guru, when up saunters the treasure and says, “I finally found you, come follow me.” It would be a little flabbergasting.

Nathaniel:  The relaxer.  Apparently this guy had a habit of napping under this particular fig tree.  It is clear that Andrew and the Other were in Bethany, because they were followers of John the Baptizer.  But, why were Philip and Nathaniel in town?  The word says Philip, Peter, and Andrew were from the town of Bethsaida, but it does not overtly say that Nathaniel was from there also.  We might assume that he was since, he and Philip are brothers, but sometimes what the text doesn’t say is just as important as what it does say. At any rate, just like his brother Philip, Nathaniel is just chilling out, passively watching the day float by, when the most exciting news in all of time gets delivered to him from his brother.  But, Nathaniel, knowing what he does about Galilee is understandably skeptical.  If, Philip came and said, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus who was born in Bethlehem…”  Maybe that would have triggered a more positive response from Nathaniel.  Apparently, Philip was so convincing and Nathaniel was so intrigued, that he was able to put aside his biases and have a look for himself.  When Jesus told him that he knew him, even when he was sitting under that Fig Tree, Nathaniel was sold.  By the way, you do not find Nathaniel listed in the other gospels as a disciple.  This is confusing, right?  Most scholars agree that Nathaniel is called by his Surname in the other gospels.  They name him Bar-Talmai, which in English is rendered Bartholomew.

The Other Guy:  This unnamed individual was, along with Andrew, a follower of John the Baptizer.  He probably saw for himself, or heard from his friends, that just days before his master had baptized Jesus and declared that the Holy Spirit rested upon him like the form of a dove.  And that John himself has proclaimed that Jesus is the one whom he had been sent ahead of, in order to prepare God’s people for their Lamb who would take away the sins of the world.  Who is the identity of the other guy?  Did he become a major disciple?  Why doesn’t the Author give us his name?  Some traditions hold that the Other Guy is John the Author of the book.  In other areas of this book he makes reference to himself as the Other Disciple.  He is peculiar, in that he often leaves his own identity anonymous, when including his interactions in the narrative.

STUDY HABIT 3:  Apply it to my Life.  I think one of the things studying scripture should do is inform the way we experience our world.  Learning the Bible should have direct implications for how we live in, view, and interact with our societyOtherwise, it is nothing more than an academic exercise, resulting in good information but no transformation. 

  1. Verse 35-39: The invitation to come and see; stoking curiosity to provoke interest.  Jesus could have said, “Im going to Eli’s house, we are gonna eat some matzo and drink some manischevitz, and talk about righteousness and religious stuff.  Probably later after that we’ll get some rest, and start fresh the next day.  Sound good?”  It would have sounded boring, and probably never would have provoked the kind of righteous curiosity that leads followers into the loving embrace of discipleship.  Andrew and the other guy would have stuck with John the Baptizer.  But, Jesus didn’t give a list of dry facts about the circumstances of his evening.  Oh no.  What he did was encourage their curiosity, which had been fanned by the Holy Spirit and sparked by the words of their former rabbi, John the Baptizer.  God;s word says, taste and see that I am good.  It invites interactive participation.
  2. Verse 43:  The invitation to come and follow; experience Jesus to know him.  The only way to experience Jesus is to follow him.  No one who merely questions him truly experiences him in the fullest way.  You cannot investigate the truth claims of Jesus, then just leave him at that.  Jesus cannot be truly known, in the sense that he saves you and you have intimate fellowship with him, outside of a follower to master relationship.  Philip is told, commanded even, to follow Jesus.  He had a choice to go back to chilling out or do something constructive with his time.  In short order, Philip gets convinced that the Rabbi who just called him is in fact the Messiah all of Israel had been looking for.  This discovery was so exciting to him, he just had to share it with his closest kinsman.
  3. The urgency to recruit; an urgency of Joy.  The relief and happiness that Philip had was welling up inside of him.  He needed an outlet.  Have you ever experienced this?  It’s like the joy is so intense, that you need a conduit, but also sharing the joy adds to it somehow and completes it.  Sharing your joy rounds it out, makes it fuller and more profound.
  4. The affect of Jesus; His character is His influence.  Knowing next to nothing about this man’s past, family, identity they are transformed in a matter of days.  He did not use convoluted logical formulas, or entice them with riches and promises of power, prestige, or acclaim.  He simply lead from the core of his character, and they intuitively responded appropriate to his calling.
  5. A much earlier confession; shows the primacy of all disciples.  In the other Gospels no one calls Jesus the Son of God, King of Israel, Messiah until much later in the story line.  This is their very first interaction with Jesus, and they are already there.  In Mathew it is Peter first proclaiming that Jesus is the son of God, but here, in John, it is Nathaniel Bartholomew.  This is a fascinating confession.  Its timing and source make it unique among the gospels.  What could John have been trying to say, by introducing the Christ concept so early?  His first words are Christ centered, it is basically the first concept he introduces in his book.  Why shouldn’t the rest of the book follow the precedent he just set?  You don’t go zero to sixty, just to slam on the breaks!
  6. The planted seed; overcoming ignorance, busyness, and objections.  Witnessing about Jesus will always have hurdles to get over.  People’s hearts are blinded by the devil, and let’s face it, God is an inconvenient fact to sinners.  Persistence, winsomeness, loving confession, and rational explanation can compel non-believers.  This passage shows us that what worked for them, was bringing people to Jesus, not simply telling them about him.  These believers sought out, then witnessed to their loved ones, then, finally, they physically brought them into the presence of God.
  7. Rabbi to Messiah to Son of God; the stages of belief.  It is an orderly, logical progression.  Andrew knew he was a great Rabbi, even though he should have known more than that, solely based on John the Baptizer’s witness.  Even among unbelievers you will get some who say that Jesus was a good teacher.  He was a moral guy, who just wants us all to love each other and become self actualized.  Or, he was a hippie flower child living among first century prudes.  But, one can only maintain that belief at a very shallow level of Jesus involvement.  Once one has experienced Jesus a little bit more, one tends to see that Jesus was much more than a good teacher.  The next step in logical progression of God’s self revelation of Jesus is that he is the Messiah.  Messiah is a hebrew or aramaic word for “Anointed One”.  It is a symbolic word of dynastic royalty and spiritually preferred “choseness of God”.  Philip saw that Jesus was not just a rabbi, he is the Messiah which was told about in Moses and the Prophets.  One Jewish rabbi, Sholem Asch, concluded that, based on the facts of fulfilled prophesy, and the historically accurate biblical accounts we have in the Gospels, that Jesus must be the messiah (of the gentiles not the Jews).  Also, Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri posthumously revealed to his followers, via a sealed note, that Jesus was the Christ.  This came as a shock, make no doubt about it.  In fact, even Mohamed the prophet of Islam acknowledged that Jesus was the messiah to the Jews.  But, it takes one more step to become a full fledged follower of Jesus.  You must receive by his Holy Spirit, that he is the Son of God and King of Israel, just as Nathaniel proclaimed!

The Prophet to the Pharisees

Let me preface these remarks by stating, for the record, that I in no way claim to be an expert in
Jewish Studies, Talmud, Etc.

Consider this: for their entire history as a distinct religious, ethnic group the Jews had depended on God to send a prophet, who would help guide them, turn them back to the Law, guard against false interpretations of scripture, and act as a go between them and God, since their inception as a nation. The problem is the Jews stopped believing the prophets or hearkening to their message, so God stopped sending prophets. Between Malachi and Jesus, there are no prophets. Only silence. 400 years of it. Absolutely nothing was revealed, which would ultimately be considered canonical scripture for neither Jews nor Christians.

God said, “I’ve talked til I’m blue in the face, and you have stopped up your ears. So, I’m done.”

But, God wasn’t really done. He was acting behind the world scene, moving peoples, raising up empires, inspiring the pagan philosophers to seek after and love truth. He was also preserving a line of blood, with royal lineage, which could be traced back to King David and Abraham. This line, this royal line, was God anointed and appointed to hold the scepter of Judah for all time. It wasn’t only a royal line, but also a prophetic one.

However, the Jews had been used to getting new revelation from prophets, and since God stopped sending prophets, nothing new was forthcoming. So, they were left with somewhat of a vacuum to fill.  Obviously this would lead them to lean heavily on Torah, the Prophets, and the Wisdom Literature, right? You know, God’s divinely inspired revelation to them. Well… not quite. What it did lead them to do was develop an authoritative Oral Tradition ( which was designed to interpret the Torah and provide insights as to how to apply the Law. I think God’s silence explains the rise of the sect of the Pharisees.

Some will argue, rightly, that Mishnah and Talmud traditions predate the 400 years of divine silence. That is a point of history, which cannot be denied. Rabbis had been codifying their interpretations of the Hebrew scriptures in an Oral Tradition for many centuries prior to it’s written form, which was compiled around 200BC. Is it any coincidence that the rise of the sect of the Pharisees occurs immediately subsequent to the Oral Law’s conversion into written form (text)? Consider this additional fact of history, a great many revered rabbis had been killed in the “Great Revolt” and the “Bar-Kokhbah Rebellion”. Could this have contributed to the Pharisees taking so much political and religious power? The destruction of the Jewish way of life via with the decimation of its political and religious leadership undoubtedly left a power vacuum, which was eventually filled by the scribes and the pharisees, and, to a lesser degree, the Herodians and Sadducees.

According to, “The Oral Law is a legal commentary on the Torah, explaining how its commandments are to be carried out. Common sense suggests that some sort of oral tradition was always needed to accompany the Written Law, because the Torah alone, even with its 613 commandments, is an insufficient guide to Jewish life. For example, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, ordains, “Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy” (Exodus 20:8). From the Sabbath’s inclusion in the Ten Commandments, it is clear that the Torah regards it as an important holiday. Yet when one looks for the specific biblical laws regulating how to observe the day, one finds only injunctions against lighting a fire, going away from one’s dwelling, cutting down a tree, plowing and harvesting. Would merely refraining from these few activities fulfill the biblical command to make the Sabbath holy? Indeed, the Sabbath rituals that are most commonly associated with holiness-lighting of candles, reciting the kiddush, and the reading of the weekly Torah portion are found not in the Torah, but in the Oral Law.”

The Pharisees of Jesus day adhered to this religious, rabbinic Oral Tradition.  It had equal authority in their eyes, as written scripture (Torah, the Prophets, and Wisdom Books).  In effect, the Oral Tradition could render moot an explicit command from scripture, as in the example above regarding lighting candles.  The next time you read through any gospel, but most especially Mark’s, try to read it with eyes that see that almost everything Jesus did revolved around disrupting the Jewish Rabbinic Oral Tradition. He was more than mildly annoyed at the religion of the Pharisees. It isn’t incidental that there are so many conflicts between Him and them. It is no mistake that Jesus was born in the time of Herod, when temple worship was corrupted, co-opted and ritualized.

Jesus called the Pharisees to the mat at every opportunity. He derides them, sneers at them, and makes a public mockery of them, even calling them a “Brood of Vipers” and “Den of thieves”.  (In today’s terms, this would be like using the most derogatory racial epithet you can think of.) He is constantly pointing out their blatant hypocrisy.  They accuse him of blaspheming against the Law. But, He says that He came to establish the law, and this is why most of His energy is spent trying to tear down the rabbinic oral tradition (which was not Law). This is what N.T. Wright says got him killed.

If the Pharisees rejected Him, like a stone which builders would not use in their masonry, it is only because He first rejected. He is a stumbling block to many, and a stone of offense.


Let’s do a quick run down, and then I’ll give some juicy examples of Jesus putting the smack down on some reprobate pharisees.

  • The Pharisees had departed from God’s written word (sola Scriptura) and elevated their oral rabbinic tradition to the position of co-equal authority with it.  This violated Moses injunction, in Deuteronomy 4:2, not to add or subtract to his commands. Maybe this is why Jesus plainly chastises certain scribes and Pharisees saying, “If you had believed Moses, then you would believe on me.”
  • The Oral tradition is not God’s Word, and cannot hope to change hearts.  All it can do is justify religious stuffiness, while keep the uninitiated alienated from God.  Jesus paid a special attention to the people who had the least amount of access to the holiness religion had to offer: prostitutes, drunks, tax collectors, children, cripples, adulterers, the leprous, etc.  He gave his holiness to those who could not afford their own, and to them of whom no privilege of birth or wealth had garnered such access.
  • Jesus is concerned with destroying the religion of Pharisees, not only because it was a disease to their own souls, but also because they held power and influence over God’s people.  Their religion is a closed circle, of rites and rehearsed prayers, doomed to decadence and decay.  But a life lead by the Holy Spirit is fresh and vibrant, and it will always lead to life
  • Jesus does not hesitate to point out that by their traditions the Pharisees make God’s word moot. They add to and subtract from God’s Law.
  • N.T. Wright says it was this kind of establishment defying blasphemy that got Jesus killed, not preaching about love and Heaven.  “As long as the multitudes misunderstood Jesus they followed him, but as soon as they really understood what he was saying they abandoned him.

Here are some examples of when Jesus’ gospel came up against the Pharisee’s traditions, in no particular order.
1. Don’t heal on the Sabbath: (Luke 6) A man comes to Jesus with a withered hand. The Pharisees watch to see if he will heal the man. It is the Sabbath, so the assumption is that if Jesus heals then he is breaking the Sabbath traditions. Jesus tells the man to reach out his hand. The man complies and is instantly made whole. Jesus declares that he is the Lord of the Sabbath, and therefore is in the ultimate position to interpret Sabbath observance. He asks them, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath? This is an example of how Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus for one of his good deeds. (One might call to memory that Jesus eventually asks them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?”)

2. David eats the show bread: (Also Luke 6) Jesus asks the Pharisees to recall a time from antiquity, when David and his men broke temple custom. The soldiers and David entered a forbidden area of teh temple, took and ate show bread (which was reserved only for priests). Technically they profaned God’s holy place, yet, God did not strike them down. This simple reminder is Jesus’ way of trying to shake the Pharisees out of their settled interpretations and traditions. He asks them a simple question, as if to further divide them from their spiritual assumptions. Don’t you remember the exception God, in his gracious provision, made for hungry David? He needed rest from his toils and release from his starving stomach. Should someone be so slavishly devoted to keeping Sabbath, that it ceases to be a day of rest? It is hard work after all, going through the motions which the Pharisees taught. The Pharisees dreamed up complex systems of ritual, which had to be painstakingly practiced, and the end result was robbing the Sabbath of resting in God’s finished work.

3. The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath: (Matthew 12) In a parallel account of the one found above in Luke, Jesus here adds the extra explanation that priest work the temple even on Sabbath. Obviously the priests can’t keep the Sabbath and do their priestly duties at the same time, unless they were acting under a special provision of God. Which of course they were. Pharisees had to instantly recognize that servants of God, serving God in the proscribed ways, couldn’t be found guilty of violating Sabbath. Jesus is basically equivocating himself to a priest offering godly service, so it is impossible for him to be breaking Sabbath. Regardless of what Pharisee tradition may teach about Sabbath observance, Jesus is exempt. Furthermore, he declares himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath. In Jesus, not in religious devotion or ritual, can one have true rest from sin and peace with God. Jesus will refresh you with his Holy Spirit, which is like a well of living water.

4. Honor your Ma/Pa vs. Corban! (Matthew 15) This may be the most striking and overt depiction of Jesus’ wroth over what he calls the “your traditions”. In other words they are the traditions of pharisees, not the law of God. In verse 3, Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’a and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’b But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites!…” There is some historical context here that has to be know, in order to know exactly why Jesus was calling them hypocrites. The law of God says honor your father and mother. It is even one of the 10 Commandments. As a parent aged and became infirm, it might cost a considerable amount to “honor them” with nurses, food, and housing. So, smart sneaky Pharisees would devote their fortunes to God, in order to avoid spending any of their money on doing good for their parents. The tradition they kept (i.e devoting their fortunes to God) actually prevented them from doing the command of God (i.e. using their goods to honor their parents or do other good deeds). It is the height of hypocrisy when you use God’s word to justify disobeying God’s will. (*I’d like to take a moment and cite Andy Stanley for the above information, especially his sermon “Loopholes”. I borrowed from him wholesale. I just want to be intellectually honest and forth coming about the citation.)

5. Why don’t your disciples fast? (Matthew 9) This record is actually an interaction with the Disciples of John the Baptist, but Mark 2 seems to indicate that Pharisees were also involved. This is a little peculiar in that Jesus is not addressing Pharisees directly, but is still using them as a teaching tool. He did this often, while alone with his followers, but this account is unique in that he is addressing the public about the differences in his followers, John’s Disciples and the Pharisees. The point he is making is that Pharisees don’t have the joy of God, present and attendant in their lives, so it is fitting that they fast. Jesus’ disciples are in the very presence of Joy, so how can they do what is mournful. Jesus’ disciples know that there is a time for fasting/mourning and a time for feasting/celebrating. Jesus himself will direct them as to which one to do. He knows what is appropriate, and he defines the seasons of joy or sadness. A brief discussion of wine skins serves to illustrate that the old traditions and covenant will not live up to the new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which God has elected. So, a lot of old wine skins will invariably burst, in their vain attempts to contain the new things God is doing. Likewise, the old festivals, traditions, and spiritual observances cannot be expected to continue on as they always have, in light of the Jesus movement across the earth. Certain things will fall by the wayside, as God clears the avenue for new expressions of His goodness and mercy. Why shouldn’t it be so?

6. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs…”  They were more concerned with appearances, than with the condition of their hearts.  Jesus proclaims that the Jews love the preeminent place in synagogue and love to be seen praying in public.  Their spirituality is meant to be seen.  It is pomp, circumstance, and ritual, designed to elicit the praises of others, rather than bring joy to God’s heart.  Any act of spirituality which is not for the express good of others, or the to bring joy to God, is not a legitimate function of the Jesus method for discipleship.   In fact, their hearts were so far removed from the intention of pleasing God, that they became nurseries for hate.  Their hearts nourished the murder of God’s messengers.  That is wild rebellion.

7. “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”  Probably the “leaven of the Pharisees” is self righteousness.  The reason why they could not accept Jesus’ teaching, is because they put their trust in themselves in stead of in God’s saving power.  The scene in Mark occurs immediately after Jesus feeds the 4,000 followers.  The Pharisees provoke him to show them a sign, and yet he just accomplished a tremendous miracle.  We may be tempted to call them simpering fools, or nonspiritual religionists, but then we remember that even his own disciples did not understand what he had done.  The Pharisees would only accept “according to Hoyle” miracles, which came in the prepackaged ways they imagined and expected.  In Matthew 5:20  He warns his disciples that , “unless your righteousness be more than the Pharisees” you cannot see the kingdom of God.  This was a frightening and challenging charge.  His disciples were startled, and began to wonder if anyone would be able to make it into Heaven.  Their lack of righteousness came from lack of belief.  Just like the rich, young ruler who was unwilling to obey Jesus and follow, because of what it would cost him personally.  The Pharisees refused to pay the Lord his due.  They looked to their traditions for a righteousness apart from God’s provision in Jesus Christ.
For the record, Jesus states with explicit language, that he did not come to abolish the law or prophets, but to establish it.  He does not equivocate.  He does not leave room for misunderstanding.  He simply proclaims, freely and for all to hear, his purpose, mission statement, and way of life.  Which is, to complete and perfect the word of God, bringing into harmony the religious, moral, and civil mandates of Torah with the love, mercy, and spirit filled life of Grace.