Matthew 22 - Jesus Answers and Asks Difficult Questions
a. The parable of the wedding feast.
1. (1-3) The first invitation is refused.
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come."
a. They were not willing to come: It seems strange that those invited refused an invitation to a royal wedding; but there is no logical reason why people refuse the good things God invites us to.
2. (4-7) The second invitation is refused and the king reacts.
"Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city."
a. But they made light of it and went their ways: In the parable, Jesus gives an accurate description of the reaction of many to the gospel; many made light of it; others go back to their business.
b. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers: The king rightfully brings judgment upon these offenders. Not only have they rejected his invitation, but they also murdered his messengers.
3. (8-10) The third invitation.
"Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests."
a. As many as you find, invite to the wedding: The king was determined that he would not have an empty banquet hall, so an invitation was given to all who would hear.
4. (11-14) The man without a wedding garment.
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen."
a. When the king came to see the guests: The king carefully examines his guests, to see if they all wore the garments that were customarily offered to those attending a wedding feast.
b. A man there who did not have on a wedding garment: The man without a robe is conspicuous by his difference. He considered his own garment good enough, and refused the covering offered by the king.
i. God wants to clothe us. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
ii. Those who are trying to establish their own righteousness before God are like the man who though he could clothe himself. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:3)
The Bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of Grace
Not at the crown He giveth, but on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.
(from hymn by A. R. Cousins)
c. Cast him into outer darkness: The man who rejected the king’s covering is assigned a horrible fate. The same terrible fate awaits those who reject God’s righteousness.
5. Observations on this parable.
a. This is an accurate portrayal of God’s judgment on the Jews, especially the Jewish leaders, who rejected His two invitations to accept the Messiah. Jesus brought the first invitation Himself, and the apostles brought the second invitation in the Book of Acts.
b. This parable demonstrates that the indifferent and the antagonist toward the gospel share the same fate; neither made it to the feast. Whether one chooses to ignore God or is openly antagonistic towards Him, the end result is the same.
c. The bad were invited to the feast, but they did not remain bad. They were made fit for the feast by the king’s garments.
d. This parable, as pointed and direct as it was, had no effect on the sin-hardened hearts of these religious leaders.
b. Question from the Pharisees.
1. (15-17) After a flattering introduction, the Pharisees ask Jesus a problematic question.
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"
a. Plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk: Here the Pharisees and the Herodians work together. This is a testimony to their great hatred of Jesus, because they are willing to put aside their own differences for the sake of uniting against Jesus.
b. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Jesus’ dilemma with this question is simple. If He said that taxes should be paid, He could be accused of denying the sovereignty of God over Israel (making Himself an enemy of the Jews). If He said that taxes should not be paid, He declared Himself an enemy of Rome.
2. (18-22) Jesus’ reply: render to Caesar what is his, but give to God what belongs to God.
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money." So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?" They said to Him, "Caesar’s." And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.
a. Whose image and inscription is this: Again, with His wise answer, Jesus shows that He is in complete control. He rebuked the wickedness and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Herodians.
b. Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s: Jesus affirmed that the government makes legitimate requests of us. We are responsible to God in all things, but we must be obedient to the powers that be in things civil and national.
c. And to God the things that are God’s: Everyone has the image of God impressed upon them. This means that we belong to God - not to Caesar, or not even to ourselves.
d. Had the Jews rendered unto God His due, they would have never had to render anything to Caesar. In New Testament times, they would never had the occupying oppression of the Roman Empire if they had been obedient to their covenant with God.
c. Question from the Sadducees.
1. (23-28) The Sadducees, who were intellectual materialists, ask a difficult question, attempting to ridicule the idea of the resurrection.
The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: "Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her."
a. The Sadducees, who say there is not resurrection: The Sadducees were the ancient equivalent to modern liberal theologians. They were anti-supernaturalists, only accepting the first five books (The Torah) as authentic - and disregarding the Torah when it pleased them to do so.
b. Now there were with us seven brothers: The Sadducees then ask Jesus a hypothetical - and ridiculous - question, hoping to show the idea of the resurrection is nonsense. Based on the law of levirate marriage described in Deuteronomy 25:5-10, if a married man died childless, it was his brother’s responsibility to impregnate his brother’s widow and account the child as the deceased husband’s descendant. The Pharisees imagined elaborate circumstances that raised the question, "Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be?"
2. (29) Jesus’ reply to the educated men of His day: you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.
Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God."
a. Not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God: We can be highly educated, yet not know the most important things in the world - God’s Word and God’s power.
3. (30-33) Jesus answers the question.
"For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.
a. In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage: First, Jesus reminds them that life in the resurrection life is quite different from this life. It does not merely continue this world and its arrangements, but it is life of a completely different order.
i. We can’t be completely certain what life in glory beyond will be like, but we can know with certainty that no one will be disappointed with the arrangements.
b. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: Then, Jesus demonstrates the reality of the resurrection using only the Torah - the only books the Sadducees would accept. If Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not live on in resurrection, then God would say that He was the God of Abraham, instead of I am the God of Abraham.
4. (34-40) Question from a lawyer among the Pharisees: which is the greatest commandment?
But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, " ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
a. Asked Him a question, testing Him: In asking Jesus to choose one great commandment, they tried to make Jesus show neglect for another area of the law. Instead of promoting one command over another, Jesus defines the law in its essence: love the Lord with everything you have and love your neighbor as yourself.
i. It is clear enough what it means to love the Lord with all we are, though it is exceeding difficult to do. But there has been much confusion about what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. This doesn’t mean that we must love ourselves before we can love anyone else; it means that in the same way we take care of ourselves and are concerned about our own interests, we should take care and have concern for the interests of others.
b. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets: These are still the great commandments; these are the laws that God wants to make real in our lives.
d. Jesus asks a question of His opponents.
1. (41-42a) The all-important question.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?"
a. What do you think about the Christ? Jesus still asks this question today. When asked, "Who is the Messiah?" the answer determines our eternal destiny
2. (42b) The Pharisees identify the lineage of the Messiah.
They said to Him, "The Son of David."
3. (43-45) Jesus is not only David’s Son; He is David’s Lord!
He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"‘? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?"
a. How then does David in the Spirit call Him "Lord": The Pharisees were partially right in saying that the Messiah is the Son of David. But they didn’t have a complete understanding of who the Messiah is. He is not only David’s Son (a reference to His humanity), but He is also David’s Lord (a reference to the deity of Jesus, the Messiah).
b. This is the idea communicated in Revelation 22:16: I am the root and the offspring of David, and Romans 1:4, which shows Jesus as both the Son of David and the Son of God. We must not neglect either facet of Jesus’ person. He is truly man and truly God, and can only be our Savior if He is both.
c. If David then calls Him "Lord," how is He his Son? Jesus’ brilliantly simple explanation of the Scriptures puts the Pharisees on the defensive. They did not want to admit that the Messiah was also the Lord God, but Jesus shows this is true from the Scriptures.
4. (46) Jesus’ enemies in retreat.
And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
a. No one was able to answer Him a word: Logic and rhetoric have proved to be of no help in destroying Jesus. Now His enemies will resort to treachery and violence.
©2000 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission.