Let us continue our walk through the Gospel According to Matthew. Last week we worked through Matthew 21.
Last week’s look at Matthew 21 ended with a look at 2 parables Jesus taught that clearly rebuked the Pharisees for having a form (appearance) of godliness, but lacking fruit… just like the fig tree He cursed. We’ll pick up in the same vein with another of Jesus’ parables.
Matthew 22:1-14 (ESV) | The Parable of the Wedding Feast
1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The kingdom of heaven sent out invitations, yet those who were invited ignored the call to the wedding, and some even mistreated and killed the servants of the King. So the King widened the call because of the unworthiness of the invited. Still, the King did not accept the unworthy, and those not clothed for a wedding were cast out. This is a very interesting parable. I see a lot of parallel here with what Paul taught in Romans 11. I’m going to intentionally avoid a deep-dive into certain schools of thought and their academic squabbles (dispensationalism, covenantalism, replacement theology, etc.) and just focus on the patterns we see in the parable and how we see the Gospel of Jesus Christ being demonstrated. The Kingdom of Heaven has a King and a Son who is getting married. The wedding feast is prepared and a specific set of invitations have gone out. Clearly the King sent out His invitations by His own free will. He is the King. He determines who is invited. That those who were invited to the wedding did not come only serves to condemn them as unworthy… it has no bearing on the King’s authority. The King then opens the invitation to everyone and sends His servants out to gather all, both good and bad. The King has not changed the event, it is still a wedding feast for His Son. The call has gone out to the ends of the earth… but not all who are called will be dressed for the wedding, and those who are not dressed for the wedding will not be chosen, though they were indeed called. Why would someone who is allowed to attend the wedding feast of the Son, without an official invitation, still not come dressed for a wedding? Unbelief in the Son to whose wedding feast you’ve been brought.
John 3:17-18 (ESV) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
One thing is for sure, the Pharisees were not only targeted as those who ignored their invitations to the wedding feast, but those who mistreated and killed the servants of the King sent to remind them of their invitations. As we saw after the last parable in chapter 21, the Pharisees already realized that Jesus was talking about them.
Matthew 22:15-22 (ESV) | Paying Taxes to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.
Jesus called out the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and for dismissing the Law of God for their traditions. Their response: they plotted in how to entangle Him in is words. I find it funny that in our day, those who rebuke false teachers of hypocrisy, self-righteousness and for dismissing the Law of God for their ideas/inclinations/dreams are called Pharisees while the false teachers spin and plot to entangle the discerning in their words.
Matthew 22:23-33 (ESV) | Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”
29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
Jesus says they were wrong because they didn’t know the Scriptures nor the power of God. Jesus cut to the very underlying premise of this question as utterly false. These were religious leaders who were teaching falsely in addition to the sin of the Pharisees. This is probably the worst attempt at tripping Jesus up. Jesus didn’t only dismiss the question, but struck down a doctrinal distinctive of their sect.
Matthew 22:34-40 (ESV) | The Great Commandment
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
We’ve looked at this teaching before, mostly from the Gospel According to Luke. Many Christians make the mistake of thinking this is a Gospel truth… it isn’t… Jesus is answering a question of the Law. This is a Law we cannot keep ourselves, therefore, it exposes our sin. We need the Gospel of Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sin and to cleanse us from our unrighteousness until the Day of His Return.
Matthew 22:41-46 (ESV) | Whose Son Is the Christ?
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he? ”They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
And with that, Jesus ended the “debate” stage of the war against the unbelieving religious rulers. Remember that this is after the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where Jesus fulfilled prophesy of the Messiah, the Christ, and everyone was singing, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt 21:1-17)
Until Next Week
Next week we’ll be working through chapter 23. We’ll work through Jesus’ judgement against the scribes and Pharisees and His lament over Israel. It’s not pretty, and it is quite damning. I think this next chapter is the equivalent of Jesus’ curse against the fig tree. I look forward to continuing our trek through the Gospel According to Matthew. Until then, continue walking in faith and growing in knowledge of Christ through the reading of His Word.
Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,