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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 21 closed with the religious rulers all in agreement that Jesus would have to die. "They sought to lay hands on him" (Mat.21:46), but they were afraid the multitude might take the side of Jesus at that time. Chapter 22 continues the verbal conflict the Lord Jesus is having with the religious rulers. He adds some more parables that the religious rulers do not like any better than the ones in chapter 21. First He gives them the parable of the king who made a marriage feast, as He continues to answer to the chief priests and elders which He began in the previous chapter.
So, chapter 22 is a continuation of Christ’s discourses in the Temple, two or three days before He died. His speeches then are largely recorded, because of their special influence and importance.
In this chapter, we will see: #1. Instruction given, by the parable of the marriage-supper, concerning the rejection of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles (verses 1-10). and, by the fate of the guest that had no wedding-garment, the danger of hypocrisy in the profession of Christianity (verses 11-14). #2. Disputes with the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes, who opposed Christ: (a) about paying tribute to Caesar (verses 15-22). (b) About the resurrection of the dead, and the future state (verses 23-33). (c) About the greatest commandment of the law (verses 34-40). (d) About the relationship of the Messiah to David (verses 41-46).
Parable Of The Marriage Feast (Matthew 22:1-14)
Matthew 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, (KJV)
And Jesus answered and spake unto them again . . . the word “again” indicates that Jesus is still addressing the chief priests and elders mentioned in Matthew 21:23.
By parables . . . parables are likenesses and comparisons, taken from common earthly things.
And said . . .
Matthew 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, (KJV)
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king . . . clearly, "a certain king" is God the Father, and "his son" is the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that He uses the expression "kingdom of heaven" instead of Kingdom of God which He used in the previous two parables in chapter 21. This parable is similar to the Matthew 13 parables, except the emphasis here is upon how and why this age began rather than upon the conclusion of the age, which we saw in Matthew 13. The Gospel dispensation which had now taken place, the methods of divine grace in it, and the behavior of men in it, may be rightly illustrated by the following parable; the propose of which is to express the great love of God the Father, who is represented by this certain king. He is espousing the children of men to His own Son . . . for as He is a King, who is the King of kings and Lord of Lords (Rev.19:16), should concern Himself in this manner; and especially, that He should espouse (adopt and support) such mean and unworthy creatures to His only, and beloved son, His equal, and His heir.
Which made a marriage for his son . . . the persons concerned are the Father, the Bridegroom, and the bride. The Bridegroom is none other than the only begotten of God the Father (Jn.3:16), His only Son and Heir, the Maker and Governor of the Universe (Heb.1:2).
Matthew 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. (KJV)
And sent forth his servants . . . WHO are God’s servants? Those who bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people, are the servants of the most high God, whom He chooses and ordains, He calls and sends and He equips and qualifies . . . and these cheerfully, gladly and willingly serve Him. I think this verse refers most likely to John the Baptist, and the twelve apostles of Christ, who were sent at that time . . . but in today’s time, it refers to those called today. God’s servants: (Jer.7:25; 11:7; 25:4; 26:5; 29:19; 32:33; 35:15; 44:4-5; 2 Chron.36:15). Ye have disobeyed: (Jer.25:3,7; 7:24-26; 11:8-11; 13:0-11; 16:12; 17:23; 18:12; 19:15; 22:21; 36:31; Zec.7:11-12; Acts 7:51-52; Heb.12:25).
To call them that were bidden to the wedding . . . WHO were called? The lost sheep of the house of Israel (Isa.53:6; Jer.50:6-7; Eze.34:5-6,16,23; Mat.9:36; 10:5-6; 15:24). The Lord had sent His apostles to them, and the prophets had been the messengers back in the Old Testament. "Those that were called" (1 Sam.9:22; Isa 48:12) are the Jews, who were the "bidden" or "called ones". They were called by God, and are called the people of God, and the children of God, and were the children of the kingdom; and were called to many valuable and external privileges. It seems, that sometimes it was customary to give two invitations to a feast, or to send a second call to the persons bidden to the feast; to which is suggested here.
And they would not come . . . which shows the disrespect and ingratitude of men, their natural hatred to the Gospel, and the ordinances of it. It reveals the immorality of man, in regard to spiritual things. It also reveals the total lack of any physical means, to work with any result, upon the minds of men; and the desperate need there is of powerful and flawless grace to bring men to believe in Christ, warmly receive His Truths, and be obedient to His commands.
Matthew 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. (KJV)
Again he sent forth other servants saying . . . the seventy disciples, and other ministers of the Gospel, such as Barnabas and Saul, and others that had joined and were helpers of the apostles, who were sent, and preached to the Jews, before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner . . . God’s servants of the Gospel were sent first to the Jews, and preached unto them, until they by their conduct and ways, showed they were unworthy of the blessing. These Jews had been given notice of the “Gospel feast” first by the prophets, and were invited to it, by the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist, by Christ Himself, and His apostles.
My oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready . . . the guests had been invited before, but no exact time had been fixed for them to come. Now they are notified that it is time to come; that "all things are ready."
Come unto the marriage . . . the marriage feast had come to the Gospel dispensation, the invitation is out, but the persons invited were reluctant, self-willed, stubborn and inflexible.
Matthew 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: (KJV)
But they made light of it . . . the treated the invitation with contempt, as a thing of no importance, which is an exact account of the conduct of sinners in regard to the Gospel. (Ps.106:24-25; Pro.1:24-25).
And went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise . . . they all turned their backs on the Gospel, and pursued their own worldly preferences and ways. Each one going their own way . . . one to his farm, another to his merchandise . . .so too it is today! People are so busy with their lives in this world, they never give one thought to eternity. This is a SAD mistake! A BAD mistake! Eternity is a fact! You shall spend eternity in one of two places! Heaven OR Hell! http://www.hisservants.org/soul_is_eternal_h_s.htm
Matthew 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. (KJV)
And the remnant took his servants . . . the remnant means a part of them, made light of it, and treated it with silent contempt, and calmly went about their business, while others were fiercely aggressive. Some sinners seem happy just to neglect Jesus, while others proceed against Him with open hostility and bitter malice.
And entreated them spitefully . . . used harsh and ruthless words, reviled and abused them. This was done because they hated and despised the King. So too, sinners often abuse ministers or teachers because they hate God, and can in no other way show it so well (1 Thes.2:15). Some of the Jews just went to their several worldly, and troubled themselves no further about the Messiah, His doctrines and ordinances; but others were more spiteful and injurious . . . these not only slighted the message, and paid no attention to the invitation, but also abused the servants. Some of the servants were put in prison, as they did the apostles shortly after our Lord's ascension, especially Peter and John; using very hard words and fault-finding language; scaring and threatening them as to what they would do to them.
And slew them . . . just as they stoned Stephen to death (Acts 7:59), the first martyr for Christ; and killed James (Acts 12:2), the brother of John, with the sword; which although he was put to death by Herod, yet it was with the consent and approval of the Jews.
Matthew 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. (KJV)
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city . . .this undoubtedly refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by Titus the Roman. Because of the abuse and barbarous usage of His servants, their cries reached His ears, and their blood called for vengeance at His Hands. He was wroth . . . even though Almighty God is slow to anger, tolerates much, and suffers long; He will take just so much for so long and then my friend, He will lower the boom! He sent forth his armies . . . not the angels, who are the armies and hosts of Heaven, but the Roman armies, who are here called "his", because they came at the Lord's command and were used by Him, for the destruction of these people. The city of Jerusalem where the main ones of these murderers dwelt; was burnt and destroyed by the Roman army, under Titus Vespasian. And too, a much worse punishment than this for them, the vengeance of the eternal fire of Hell (Jude 1:7). This is something that ALL the neglecters of the Gospel, ALL rejecters of Christ Jesus, and ALL the persecutors of the ministers of the Gospel must expect from Him. Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (KJV) . . . BEWARE!!! . . .
How shall the neglecters of the great salvation revealed in the Gospel escape? Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (KJV) . . . It is impossible!
Matthew 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. (KJV)
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy . . . now we see a distinct change in the method and manner of the invitation, and it refers to the present age in which we now live. They which were bidden were not worthy . . . meaning the Jews, who were given notice of this dispensation by the prophets and were told of it by John the Baptist that it was at hand. They (the Jews) were once called, and now again externally called unto it by the ministry of the apostles . . . but they were not only unworthy in themselves, as all men are of such a blessing and privilege, but they behaved in a very unworthy manner. They were far from attending it in a hard-working and peaceable way, for they contradicted and blasphemed it, and by their own outrageous position, showed plainly that they were unworthy of it; and thus were so judged by Christ Jesus and His apostles, who ordered them to turn from the Jews, and go to the Gentiles, and which may be proposed by the following words.
Matthew 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. (KJV)
Go ye therefore into the highways . . . highways of the city where many people passed to and fro, and highways of the open spaces where many travelers were. This may mean the Gentile world, and Gentile sinners, who, in respect of the Jews, were far off (Eph.2:13) and were walking in their own ways, and in the broad road to destruction (Mat.7:13). This may mean their being the vilest of sinners, and as having nothing to urge them to the divine favor.
And as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage . . . to the marriage feast, not the marriage supper, but the dinner (Mat.22:4). Their orders were to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mk.16:15), Jew or Gentile, high or low, rich or poor, and encourage them to accept the Gospel ministry.
Matthew 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. (KJV)
So these servants went out into the highways . . . turned away from the Jews and went to the Gentiles, preaching the Gospel to them, especially the Apostle Paul with Barnabas, and others too.
And gathered together all, as many as they found, both good and bad . . . all kinds of people good and bad (Mat.13:47). NO one is good by nature, thus they all had desperate need of the Gospel, for NONE can be saved without it.
And the wedding was furnished with guests . . . the first invitations had been given just to those of suitable status to be guests of the King; but since these had refused the call, now all persons found on the highways, "both good and bad," are invited, and these greatly appreciate the honor bestowed upon them, accepted the invitation, and the King rejoices in the number, if not to the rank of His guests. The behavior of those first invited, sadly brought ruin to themselves, without defeating the purpose of the King.
Matthew 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: (KJV)
And when the king came in to see the guests . . . God is omniscient, and His eyes are upon all men and what they do, but especially on those who call themselves CHRISTians. He takes special notice on how they exercise the grace they have, and how they perform their duty. And He clearly can tell the hypocrites from TRUE believers; He has a special affection for these, and enriches them with abundant spiritual blessings, and protects and defends them. He knows them that are His, and gives them great respect.
He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment . . . what is that wedding garment? As is stated above, the King's invitation is for everyone, but there is a danger of coming without meeting the demands of the King. That wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ (1 Cor.1:30; Rom.1:17; 3:21-24; 4:6,25; 5:19,21. Phil.3:9; 2 Pet.1:1). This righteousness is absolutely essential for salvation, and it is supplied to all who believe God and accept His Son to save them. All people must have a wedding garment . . . by which is meant, NOT good works, NOT a holy life but the righteousness of Christ. Even though good works are the outward expression of our salvation, they do NOT gain eternal life for anyone. Just Jesus can accomplish that! You must receive the wedding garment from JESUS!
Matthew 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. (KJV)
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? . . . this man represents the person who neglects to come to the Master of the feast for a marriage garment. The salvation which Christ has obtained for us, is there for “whosoever” . . . all you need do is believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13) and accept His “only begotten Son” (Jn.3:16,36). God made only ONE Way to Heaven, and that is Jesus (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). A person CANNOT profess to be called by His Name (Christian), while living without preparing for His Kingdom (Heaven). You will NOT be allowed to enter Heaven without the wedding garment!
And he was speechless . . . have you ever heard someone say that they do not need Jesus in their life? I guess they think they will take their chances before God on Judgment Day. WHAT does it say here? He was speechless . . . IF they intend to argue their case, HOW are they going to do that if their mouth is completely stopped? I am sure that there will be uncountable pleas made by the multitudes of hypocrites and those who say “I am a Christian.” There shall be NO mistakes on Judgment Day my friend! You can rely on that!
Whether you accept the wedding garment or not is totally up to you. God will NOT force you to make the right decision. Just remember that Jesus has lovingly provided it for you. The invitation has gone out to everyone, but you MUST come on the King's terms. You must accept the "wedding garment."
The enemies of Christ will now make their final onslaught, their final attack upon the Lord Jesus. The Herodians will come, then the Sadducees will come, and finally the Pharisees will come. When the Lord questions the Pharisees, they will try to get away from Him as fast as they can, which marks the final break, and in chapter 23 we will hear Him denounce them.
Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
Then said the king to his servants . . . personally, I think this refers to the angels of God, who will bind up the tares in bundles, and burn them. They will also gather out of Christ's Kingdom ALL that offend and do iniquity; and sever the wicked from the just, and do just as is said here, meaning Hell.
Bind him hand and foot . . . as criminals used to be; to show the greatness of his crime, his unparalleled insolence, and his being unable to avoid his punishment. Such methods will be taken, and there shall be NO escaping.
And take him away . . . to the prison of Hell. It shall be a dreadful thing indeed, for someone to go out of a Christian church to Hell. BEWARE hypocrites!
And cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth . . .see Matthew 8:12.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen. (KJV)
For many are called, but few are chosen . . . Our Saviour often uses this proverbial expression, as a warning. The Jews had been called, but few of them had been chosen to life. The biggest part of the nation was wicked, and the biggest part of them refused the invitation sent out to them by God . . . which showed by their lives that they were not chosen to salvation. The Gentiles also were invited to be saved. Nation after nation has been called; but few, few have yet showed that they are TRUE Christians, the elect of God. It is also true, that many who are in the church shall one day prove to be without the wedding garment, and show at last that they were not the chosen of God. Many are called: (Mat.7:13-14; 18:2-3; 20:16; 22:14; 25:41,46; Lk.13:23-24; 14:33; 21:36; Jn.7:34; 8:21; 10:9; 14:6).
For those interested, see the end of this chapter for more about this parable. Summary of the Parable of the Wedding Feast.
The self-righteous Pharisees who heard this parable did not miss Jesus’ point, for in the very next verse, “the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words” (Mat.22:15). The Parable of the Wedding Feast is also a warning to us, to make sure we rely on God’s provision of salvation, NOT on our own good works or religious service.
The Herodians will come with the question of paying tribute to Caesar. The Sadducees will come with a question regarding the Resurrection. And the Pharisees will come with their question concerning the great commandment of the Law. We will see the marvelous way in which our Lord answers these men. To me, it is proof of His deity, in the way which He deals with His enemy.
Jesus Answers The Herodians (Matthew 22:15-22)
Matthew 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. (KJV)
Then went the Pharisees . . . (Mat.3:7; 23:13-15). Pharisees are mentioned 91 times in the Four Gospels, most of the times, not good. Jesus pronounces many “woes” on them.
And took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk . . . entangle means to ensnare, as birds are caught by a net. This is done deceitfully, by leading them within the range of the net, and then suddenly springing it over them. To entangle is to shrewdly lay a plan to entice, to lure by proposing a question, trying to bring on a careless answer.
After they had heard the parables of the two sons being bid to go into the vineyard, and of the vineyard let out to husbandmen, and of the marriage feast; it was clear from all these that THEY were the ones Jesus had in mind. Although the Pharisees were extremely irritated and provoked, they were forced to hide their resentments, and they did not dare use any violence for fear of the people. So they went to a convenient place, where they hoped a word might be dropped thoughtlessly by Him, which they might grab hold of, and use to His disadvantage . . . either with the common people, but especially the government, as is to be learned from Luke, who specifically says their end was, “so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor” (Lk.20:20).
Matthew 22:16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. (KJV)
And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians . . . it is not really known just who these Herodians were. It is possible that they took their name from Herod the Great. Maybe they were a political party, so called for holding some of his peculiar opinions. The Herodians and Sadducees seem on most questions to have been united (Mat.16:6; Mk.8:15).
Saying, Master, we know that thou art true . . . a hypocritical, two-faced compliment, for they did not believe this. But compliments often conceal a person's true plan.
And teachest the way of God in truth . . . hypocrites!
Neither carest thou for any man . . . meaning that He was an independent Teacher, bringing His sentiments without regard to the fear or favor of man. This WAS true, and I think they really believed this. Whatever they might believe about Him, they had no reason to doubt that He delivered His opinions openly and freely.
For thou regardest not the person of men . . . they said that He was not partial, and that He would decide according to the Truth, and NEVER from any bias towards either party. In the Bible, to regard the person, or to respect the person, means partiality; or being influenced in a decision, not by truth, but by previous attachment to a person, or by friendship, or bias, or prejudice. No respect of persons: (Lev.19:15; Deut.16:19; 2 Sam.14:14; Acts 10:34; Jam.2:1,3,9; 1 Pet.1:17; Jude 1:16).
All I can find out about the Herodians is, that they were a party that opposed Jesus and was probably formed under Herod the Great. It seems that they believed it was right to pay honor to a sovereign who might be able to bring to them the friendship of Rome and provide other advantages for the people. The word Herodians can be found only in: (Mat.22:16; Mk.3:6; 12:13).
Matthew 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? (KJV)
Tell us therefore what thinkest thou . . . these Herodians came to Jesus with a question which is actually related to their particular position. They were a political party which favored the house of Herod and looked to those of that house to deliver them from the Roman yoke. I do not think that the Herodians were a religious party.
Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? . . . meaning, according to the law of God. This was a question among all the Jews: the Herodians were for it, the Pharisees were against it, at least secretly; and this was the general sense of the entire nation. Clearly, they did not want His opinion. They already had their own answer. It was a trick question. If He had said, "No, you are not to pay tribute to Caesar," He could be accused of being a traitor to Rome, and Rome was ruling over Israel at that time. If on the other hand, He had said, "Yes, you are to pay tribute to Caesar," He could not be the TRUE Messiah. They thought that they had our Lord Jesus over a barrel.
Matthew 22:18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? (KJV)
But Jesus perceived their wickedness . . . Luke says, "their craftiness"; and Mark says, "knowing their hypocrisy" . . . all relate to the same thing! There was a combination of cleverness, deceitfulness, hatred, hypocrisy and malice all rolled into the wicked scheme they had formed. But, it did NOT work! Since Christ Jesus IS the omniscient God, He clearly saw the wickedness of their hearts, He knew their hypocritical plans, and was well acquainted with all their deception. He judged NOT according to the outward appearance of their false affection for Him, and their opinion of Him, nor of their religion, their righteousness, and holiness in themselves, and of their sincere desire to have their conscience satisfied about this matter. He judged the inward heart which He could clearly see! The snare they laid was quite visible to Him. The dishonest, two-faced mask they put on could NOT hide them from Him.
And said, why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? . . . do you see that He called them exactly what they were . . . hypocrites.
Matthew 22:19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. (KJV)
Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny . . . the coin that was brought to Him was that in which the tribute was usually paid, which was Roman money.
Matthew 22:20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? (KJV)
And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? . . . the penny that was brought to Him had an image upon it, the form of a man's head, and round about it an inscription, showing who it was the image of.
Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. (KJV)
They say unto him, Caesar's . . . Cæsar's image and name on the coin proved that it was his. It was proper, therefore, to give it back to him when he called for it. But Jesus took the occasion to charge them also to give to God what He claimed. This may mean either: #1. the annual tribute due to the temple-service, implying that paying tribute to Cæsar did not free them from the obligation to do that; or #2. that they should give their hearts, lives, property and influence, all to God, as His due. This being the case now with the Jews, Christ's advice is,
Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God, the things that are God's . . . this is an marvelous answer, for it involves much more than just answering their question . . . which He certainly did, but in addition, He is saying that they did owe something to Caesar. They were using his coins, they walked down his Roman roads, and Rome did provide them with peace. So they did owe something to Rome. Therefore, render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's. But Jesus says: they have another responsibility: Render unto God the things that are God's.
Matthew 22:22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way. (KJV)
When they had heard these words they marveled . . . they had been unsuccessful in their attempt. Although Jesus had seemingly decided in favor of the Herodians, yet His answer confused both parties, and completely prevented them in using His answer as they had planned.
They left him: and went their way . . . The All-Wise Jesus clearly detected their wickedness, and hindered their plot so they were confounded, and retreated in shame. They were not able to get any advantage against Him, neither could they bring Him into contempt with the people, nor could they alienate the people’s affections from Him . . . nor could they charge Him with sedition (incitement to rebellion) or treason to the Roman governor, which was utmost in their minds.
Jesus Answers The Sadducees (Matthew 22:23-33)
Matthew 22:23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, (KJV)
The same day came to him the Sadducees . . . very soon after the Pharisees and Herodians left Him; the Sadducees came to Him. NO let up! This shows that the Herodians and Sadducees were not the same; but that the Sadducees were a different and separate sect, both from the Pharisees and the Herodians. The Sadducees knew that the Herodians had not been successful, and now come with a tricky question of their own, a question that they had often bewildered the Pharisees, and hoped that would unnerve Jesus.
Which say, that there is no resurrection of the dead . . . the Sadducees denied that there were angels and spirits, and denied the immortality of the soul. They declared that the soul died with the body, and that there was no future or eternal state.
And asked him . . . the following question, trying to expose the weakness and absurdity of what the sadducees believed.
Matthew 22:24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. (KJV)
Saying, master . . . Rabbi, or doctor, as He was usually called;
Moses said . . . in Deut. 25:5.
If a man die having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother . . . although not expressed in the exact words, the sense of the Passage referred to, was a practice in use before the times of Moses, as appears from the case of Onan (Gen.38:8); the design of which was, to preserve families, and keep their inheritances distinct and entire. This law only took place, when a man died without children; for if he left any children, there was no need for his brother to marry his wife.
Matthew 22:25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: (KJV)
Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother . . . there was supposedly in the city where these Sadducees lived, a family with seven sons, all brethren by the father's side; for brethren by the mother's side were not counted brethren, nor obliged by this law. The eldest of these seven brethren married a wife, and after some time died, having no children, son or daughter, by his wife; and therefore, according to the above law, leaves her to his next brother to marry her, and raise up seed unto him; which, according to the Jewish canons, could not be done before ninety days, or three months after the decease of his brother. They were to wait this long to see if she was with child by his brother or not; for if she was, it was not necessary, and in reality, it was unlawful for him to marry her.
Matthew 22:26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. (KJV)
Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. . . . the eldest of the surviving brethren, having married his brother's wife, after sometime died also without children, and left her to his next brother to marry her; and the third brother accordingly did marry her, and in process of time died likewise, leaving no issue behind him; and thus they went on in course, unto the seventh: the fourth, fifth, and sixth, married her in turn, and so did the seventh; and all died in the same circumstances, having no children by her. Whether this is fact or fiction does not matter. The Lord uses their question to bring Truth to them.
Matthew 22:27 And last of all the woman died also. (KJV)
And last of all the woman died also . . . a widow and childless, having never married any other except these seven brothers; and the case with them all being alike, not one having any child by her, upon which any unusual claim to her could be formed, the following question is put.
Matthew 22:28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. (KJV)
Therefore in the resurrection . . . the resurrection was declared both by the Pharisees and by Christ Jesus. The Sadducees wanted to know, supposing that there will be such a thing, although not yielding to it; for these men denied it. One version reads it hypothetically, "if therefore the dead will be raised" . . . upon such a supposition,
Whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her . . . or were married to her. They thought they had a big advantage over the Lord Jesus, in favor of their belief. They hoped that He would give in to their way of thinking, and give up the doctrine of the resurrection, and join with them against the Pharisees. They thought that if He did answer, it would be either that He did not know whose wife she would be, and then they would belittle and disgrace Him among the common people, as weak and ignorant. If He would say that she would be the wife of one of them only, naming which of them, or of them all, or of none of them, they imagined that such absurd results would follow on each of these, that they would expose the doctrine of the resurrection to ridicule and contempt. But, things did not turn out as they hoped. They used a ridiculous illustration to try to trap the Lord. Imagine a woman who had had seven brothers for her husbands! It sounds like she could have lived in Hollywood. The Sadducees were wrong in two ways, and the Lord brings this to their attention.
Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. (KJV)
Jesus answered and said unto them . . . the Sadducees were idle and impertinent, but the Lord thought it fit to return an answer to them. He would expose their ignorance, and put them to silence and confusion.
Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God power of God . . . the Sadducees were ignorant in two fields: #1. they were ignorant of the Scriptures and #2. they were ignorant of the power of God. This lack of knowledge is what caused them to bring up such a ridiculous illustration. They had NO true knowledge, and NO right understanding of the Scriptures, because there are many places in the Old Testament, where the soul remains after death, and that the body will be raised from the dead. Nor did they understand the power of God, for if He was able to make men out of the dust of the ground (Gen.2:7), He certainly was well able to raise them again, when crumbled into dust. But this was looked upon by them, as a thing impossible, and so incredible. There are multitudes of "Sadducees" in today's world! Acts 26:8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? (KJV) Old Testament Resurrection Promises: (Job 14:14; 19:25-25; Ps.49:15; 71:20; Ecc.3:21; Isa.25:2; Dan.12:2).
Matthew 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (KJV)
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage . . . in the time of the resurrection, when the bodies and souls of all men shall be reunited, there shall be NO marriage in Heaven. Men will not marry wives, nor will women be given in marriage to men, which was done by their parents in this era.
But are as the angels of God in heaven . . . He is NOT saying that they are angels. NO mortal man or woman will ever become an angel. Angels and mankind are two distinct categories of God’s Creation. Neither species can become the other. Yes! Angels can take on the form of man, but they are NOT literal man! (Gen.18:2; Josh.5:13; Dan.8:15; 10:5; 12:5). We will NOT be angels in Heaven, but we will be like the angels in that there shall be NO marriage in Heaven. Why? Because in Heaven it will not be necessary to continue the human race. Jesus, by mentioning angels, knocks down another false belief of the Sadducees, that there were no angels (Acts 23:8). Resurrection Promises in the New Testament: (Rom.1:4; 4:25; 6:9; 7:4; 8:11,34; 10:9; 14:9; 1 Cor.6:14; 15:4,17; 2 Cor.4:14; 5:15; 13:4; Gal.1:1; Eph.1:20; Col.1:18; 2:13; 1 Thes.1:10; 4:14; 2 Tim.2:8; Heb.13:20; 1 Pet.1:3,21. 3:18,21; Rev.20:12-13).
Matthew 22:31-32 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (KJV)
Having proven false the objection of the Sadducees, Jesus then gives proof of the resurrection. The major basis of His argument is the proposition that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
The Sadducees believed that once a person died, he ceased to exist, he was nothing, like many today believe. Thinking as they did, that God is the God of the dead, is to say He is the God of nothing, which is utter nonsense, for God said, hundreds of years after the death of the three patriarchs: Exodus 3:6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. (KJV) . . . The conclusion is, that these patriarchs were NOT dead in the Sadducees sense of the term; and as the conclusion applies only to their spirits, it proves that spirits continue to be alive after the bodies which they inhabited are dead. Resurrection from the dead: (Job 14:14; Ps.49:15; 71:20; Ecc.3:21; 12:7; Isa.25:8-9; Dan.12:2-3; Hos.13:14).
Some say that the conclusion of this argument falls short, in its terms, and of the demands of the subject. The subject is the resurrection of the dead, while the conclusion affects only the question whether the spirits of the dead are still alive. Some suppose that the resurrection spoken of is that of the spirit, not that of the body . . . they are wrong, because there is NO such thing as a resurrection of the spirit. The spirit does NOT die, and therefore it does NOT rise from the dead. The spirit (soul) leaves the body when a person dies. This departure is immediately at death, and it departs in the full possession of life. SO . . . WHERE does this spirit go? Ecc. 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (KJV)
When resurrection is spoken of in the Bible, it refers to the BODY. "Thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, and rise up" (Deut.31:16). "But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God, are alive every one of you this day" (Deut.4:4). Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (KJV) . . . See the following: http://www.hisservants.org/the_soul_is_eternal_h_s.htm
This passage does not directly prove then that the dead body would be raised, it proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had an existence then, when God spoke to Moses (Ex.3:6 above), it proves that their souls were alive at that time, which the Sadducees denied, and this was the main point in dispute. If this were admitted . . . if there were a state of rewards and punishments . . . then it would easily follow that the bodies of the dead would be raised. Rewards and punishments in the resurrection: (Ps.62:12; Dan.12:3; Mat.5:11-12; 10:41-42; 16:27; 24:45-47; 25:21-23; Jn.4:36-38; Rom.2:6; 1 Cor.3:8,14; 4:5; Gal.6:7-8; 1 Thes.2:19; Heb.6:10; 1 Pet.5:1,4; 2 Jn.1:8; Rev.2:8-11,23; 22:12)
Jesus Answers The Pharisees (Matthew 22:34-40)
The Herodians and the Sadducees have now been silenced, while all the while, some of the Pharisees had been watching what was going on. The Pharisees were a religious-political party. They wanted to see the kingdom of David brought back into power so they would be rid of Rome. As a political party, they could join the Herodians in restoring the kingdom, but as a religious party they opposed the Sadducees. The Pharisees would correspond to the liberal wing of today's church. The Pharisees, just like the other two groups, wanted desperately to trap the Lord, and so their representative, a highly educated lawyer, poses a very interesting question.
Matthew 22:33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. (KJV)
And when the multitude heard this . . . meaning the all-wise and full answer of Christ Jesus to the question of the Sadducees, with which perhaps they had puzzled many, and never had met with their match before.
They were astonished at his doctrine . . . concerning the pure, perfect, and angelic-like state of the righteous in the world to come. How easily and strongly He proved the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the dead . . . both of which were denied by the Sadducees; and who were totally confounded with His answer, His proof and His interpretation. Luke says, "after that they durst not ask him any question at all" (Lk.20:40), and the Scribes were so pleased that some of them even praised Him, saying, "master, thou hast well said" (Lk.20:39).
Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. (KJV)
But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence. . . either with their own ears, since some of them were present, or maybe from the talk of others from the Scribes, who expressed their approval of Christ's answer to the Sadducees. The Pharisees were as opposite as could be to the Sadducees in the doctrine of the resurrection, and in other things, and were their confirmed enemies, and yet it irritated them, that Christ was getting the victory over them, and even though they had been shamefully defeated in other attempts . . .
They were gathered together . . . either to rejoice that their great rivals, the Sadducees, had been so completely silenced, or to lay a new plot to trap Him, most likely both. They rejoiced that the Sadducees had been bewildered, but they were still very eager to try to trap Jesus. They finally decided to ask Him the most difficult question in dispute among themselves, and were sure it would stump Him.
Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, (KJV)
Then one of them, which was a lawyer . . . one that was very "learned", or "skilful in the law". Whoever he was, this man was by sect a Pharisee, and by his office a Scribe or interpreter of the law (Mat.2:4).
Asked him a question, tempting him, and saying . . . he put a difficult and tricky question to Christ Jesus, testing His knowledge and understanding of the Law. He was simply trying to entrap Him and expose Him to the people as a very badly informed Man. It did NOT work! Jesus was NOT badly informed! Quite the opposite.
Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? (KJV)
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? . . . the scribe calls Him "Master” which means Rabbi or doctor, just as the Sadducees had in (Mat.22:24), either because Jesus was usually called so by His disciples and by the majority of the people; or just to gain His attention to him and his question.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (KJV)
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind . . . Mark 12:29-30 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (KJV) . . .
Mark says that Jesus began His answer by referring to the doctrine of the unity of God, "Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut.6:4). This was most likely said because all TRUE obedience depends on the correct knowledge of God. NO one can keep His commandments IF they are not acquainted with His nature, His perfections and His right to demand obedience.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart . . . meaning that we MUST love Him supremely, more than all other beings and/or things (Mat.10:37-38), and with all the passion possible. We must be dedicated to Him. To love Him with all the heart is to secure our affections totally on Him, being willing to give up all that we hold dear at His command, if it were ever to come to that.
And with all thy soul . . . all our life, meaning to be willing to give our life to Him, and to devote our life to His service. We must be willing to live for Him, and to be willing to die for Him IF He so commands. This is rare in America, so far! But I see it getting closer and closer. Chaplains are forbidden to name the Name of Jesus to the military! This is absurd! The Name of Jesus is the ONLY Thing that can save them! Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (KJV)
Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. (KJV) . . . BEWARE!!! Refusing to name the Name of Jesus . . . is being ashamed of Him!
And with all thy mind . . . we must submit our intellect and understanding to His will. We must love His Law and Gospel more than we do any decisions for self. We must be willing to submit all our ability to His teaching and guidance. We must be willing to devote to Him all our academic achievements, and all the results of our educated efforts.
With all thy strength . . . as is in Mark’s version, which I am adding here, meaning with all the ability and power of body and soul. We should labor and strive for His honor and His glory, being willing to make Jesus the great Object of all our efforts. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God: (Deut.6:5; 11:1; 19:9; Mat.22:37; Mk.12:30; Lk.10:27).
Matthew 22:38 This is the first and great commandment. (KJV)
This is the first and great commandment . . . this commandment is found in: Deut. 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (KJV) . . . It is the first and greatest of all; it is first, not in order of time, but of importance. It is greatest in all the following:
#1. In its antiquity; being as old as the world, and engraved originally on our very nature, IF we were to admit it.
#2. In distinction; as directly and immediately being chief and referring to God.
#3. In excellence; being the #1 commandment of the new covenant, and the very power of our Divine adoption, into God's family.
#4. In justice and fairness; because it, and it alone renders to God His due, prefers Him above ALL things, and secures His proper position in relation to mankind.
#5. In sufficiency; for it, and it alone is capable of making men holy in this life, and happy in the other.
#6. In fruitfulness; because it is the basis, the foundation, the origin, the root and the source, of ALL the other commandments, and the fulfilling of the Law.
#7. No other commandment is higher in value and effectiveness; because by this alone, God reigns in the heart of man, and man is united to God.
#8. In optimism; for it brings hope to mankind, for eternal life can be expected from Almighty God.
#9. In necessity; for it is absolutely crucial, indispensable, important and vital.
#10. In duration; for it shall always be continued here on Earth, and never to be discontinued in Heaven.
Matthew 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (KJV)
And the second is like unto it . . . Jesus says that there is a second, but not a third, in importance of commandments. This is suggested in opposition to the multitude of commandments in the Law, according to the Jews, who think there are in all 613, of which 365 are negative ones. Isaiah 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; (KJV) . . . Isaiah reduces the Jews' 613 laws to 6 here, while Habakkuk reduses the 613 to ONE! Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (KJV) . . .
We are here interested in what Jesus says! Christ reduces all their laws to just two, love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself . . . Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (KJV) . . . Where do you stand when you apply this to your life? I know I fall short! If you are honest, you will admit that you come short of the glory of God. Our Lord is very specific with this man. He says, "You want to know which is the greatest commandment, and I tell you that it is to love God is the greatest commandment, and to love your neighbor is the next greatest." The first command sums up what man owes to God; the second is what man owes to his fellow-man. Anyone who loves God supremely will NOT live in disobedience to Him. Anyone who loves his neighbor as himself, will seek to do right to all those around him. Man is a creature cut out for love; thus it is the law written in the heart “the law of love.” Love is a short and sweet word; and if love is the fulfilling of the Law, the yoke (Mat.11:29-30) of the command is very easy. Love is rest and satisfaction of the soul, and IF we walk in love, we shall find rest. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: (Lev.19:18; Mat.5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mk.12:31; Lk.10:27; Rom.13:9; Gal.5:14; Jam.2:8).
Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets . . . in reality, these two commandments summarize the entire Mosaic Law and the Prophets. IF we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves, we will NEVER do any harm to anyone. Jesus’ answer was SO clear and SO accurate that if the Pharisees had been honest, they would have told Him that they had fallen short and that the Law could not save them. At this time the Lord Jesus, their Saviour, was ever so close to the Cross. The logic is clearly this, that ALL the commandments that are in the Law and the Prophets are consistent with, and dependent upon these two commandments that Jesus gives us here. These two commandments cover the whole Old Testament! They are OUR Law!
Jesus Puts A Question To The Pharisees (Matthew 22:41-46)
The Pharisees gather together again, still trying to trap Him with another question, but He’s quicker and wiser than they are, and instead, asks them a question . . .
Matthew 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, (KJV)
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them . . . Jesus had confounded the great divisions of the Jews, and now proceeds to take His turn to offer a question to them, for their solution. This was NOT done because of a vain display and triumph, but instead to:
#1. To show them how uninformed they were of their prophecies.
#2. To humble them when He reveals their ignorance.
#3. To make them consider the TRUE doctrine relating to the Messiah: His possessing a character superior to that of their revered David, the most mighty king of Israel, and being David’s Lord, at the same time that He was His descendant.
Matthew 22:42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. (KJV)
Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? . . . He did not ask them their views with regard to Him in general, but just regarding His ancestry. "Whose son is he?" Jesus questions them as to whose Son the TRUE Christ must be.
They say unto him, the son of David . . . no hesitation, for it was generally received and was very right, that the Messiah should be of the seed and family of David. He is often, in the Gospels, called the son of David. Son of David, in the Gospels: (Mat.1:1,20; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30-31; 21:9; 21:15; 22:42; Mk.10:47-48; Lk.1:32; 3:31; 18:38-39).
If this question were put to some people today, there would be many different answers. The atheist believes there is no God; so there could be no Christ, the Son of God. The epicurian thinks only of his carnal lusts and pleasures. Those of the world, the covetous man, thinks only of worldly things, and of how much he has laid up. No thought of Christ enters their mind. The Heathens have wrong thoughts of Christ, ugly and undervaluing. Some think He is a created God, like but not or the same nature as the Father. Some think He is a God by office, and did not exist until He was born of the Virgin Mary, and have no idea whatsoever of His Sacrifice, and forgiveness for the sins of men. Some think contemptibly of His righteousness, and deny the attributing of it to those who believe. For all those who do not bear His Name, “Christian”, it is no wonder that they consider wrong and degrading thoughts of Christ. The Jews thought He was a mere man, and the carpenter's son. The Pharisees thought He was a loose and immoral person, that had no regard for the law and good works: thus came those words of His, "think not that I am come to destroy the law" (Mat.5:17). They thought He was a Samaritan, and had a devil (Jn.8:48). Only those who belive and trust in God and His Holy Word could answer correctly.
Matthew 22:43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, (KJV)
He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord? . . . this verse confirms that David wrote Psalm 110, and what’s more, it declares that David wrote the Psalm under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
saying . . . as in: Psalm 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (KJV)
Matthew 22:44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? (KJV)
The Lord said unto my Lord . . . the Lord here is meant God the Father, who said the following words at the time of Christ's ascension, and entrance into Heaven, after His Son, Jesus had finished the great work of man's salvation. This was prophetically delivered by the Psalmist, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and was what was before purposed and promised. By "my Lord", the person spoken to, the Messiah is meant, who was David's Lord, both by right of creation and redemption. As God, He made him: and as the Messiah and Saviour, He redeemed him; and on both accounts had an absolute right to rule over him. The words said unto Jesus are,
Sit thou on my right hand . . . which is a symbolic phrase, and expresses the exaltation, dignity, power and authority of the Messiah; and of an honor done to Him, which was never granted to the angels, nor to any mere man.
Till I make thine enemies thy footstool . . . till all the enemies of Him, and His people, are subdued under Him; hypocritical professors such as the Pharisees, immoral and profane sinners, the world, the devil, the Antichrist, and all the powers of darkness, and the last enemy, death itself. That these words were spoken of the Messiah, and therefore were appropriately cited, and properly applied to Him. It is evident from the silence of the Pharisees; this was generally received by the Jews, or they would have immediately objected to Him. By their silence they acknowledged, that the Psalm was written by David; that it was written by him under the inspiration of the Spirit of God; and that the Messiah was the subject of it. Jesus sits at God’s right Hand: (Ps.110:1; Acts 2:34-35; 1 Cor.15:25; Heb.1:3,13; 12:2).
Matthew 22:45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? (KJV)
If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? . . . this is the probing question which the Lord Jesus asked the Pharisees. There are several supposition in this question which are remarkable. Our Lord said that David wrote Psalm 110, that he wrote it by the Holy Spirit, and that he wrote it about the Messiah. "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?" How could David call his Son superior (Lord) unless He really was? There is only one logical answer to this question, and that is the virgin birth. Jesus is David's son, but He is greater than David. A son of David cannot be greater than David unless there is something greater introduced into the line to make a greater Son. The records of the supernatural birth of Jesus, prophesied in the Bible, gives the only satisfactory answer (Isa.7:14; 9:6; Jer.23:5-6; Dan.9:24-25; Mic.5:4). The Lord of David was of David's line, as stated in Luke's Gospel, "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" Lk.1:35). David’s Son is greater than David because He is the Lord from Heaven. The Lord Jesus was forcing the Pharisees to face the real issue and to admit that He was David's son and and David's Lord. This ended the verbal clash with the religious rulers. How could David call his Son his Lord? The Pharisees would have to admit that the Son would have to be supernaturally born for David to call him "my Lord." David’s Son was/is the Messiah, our Lord and Saviour!
Matthew 22:46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. (KJV)
And no man was able to answer him a word . . . they saw the predicament they were in, they either had to acknowledge the deity of the Messiah, or confess their ignorance, and they didn’t care to do either, so they decided to be silent.
Neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions . . . They made no verbal attack upon Him after this. They had determined His death, and that is which way they are going to move. They see that they cannot answer Him. This is one of the great proofs of His deity. Those that mock God only deceive themselves (Gal.6:7). BEWARE!
Summary of the Parable of the Wedding Feast
This parable is similar in some ways to Luke 14:15-24, but the occasion is different, and it has some important distinctions. To better understand the background of this story, it is important to know some basic facts about weddings in Jesus’ day.
In Jewish customs, the parents of the betrothed generally drew up the marriage contract. The bride and groom would meet, perhaps for the first time, when this contract was signed. The couple was considered married at this point, but they would separate until the actual time of the ceremony. The bride would remain with her parents, and the groom would leave to prepare their home. This could take quite a while. When the home was all was ready, the groom would return for his bride without notice. The marriage ceremony would then take place, and the wedding banquet would follow.
The wedding banquet was one of the most joyous occasions in Jewish life and could last for up to a week. In His parable, Jesus compares Heaven to a wedding banquet that a king had prepared for his son. Many people had been invited, but when the time for the banquet came and the table was set, those invited refused to come, and even worse, the king’s servants who brought the joyful message were mistreated and some even killed.
The king was enraged at the response of those who had been invited, sent his army to avenge the death of his servants (verse 7). He then sent invitations to anyone his servants could find, so that the wedding hall was filed (verses 8-10).
During the feast the king noticed a man “who was not wearing wedding clothes” (verse 11). When asked how he came to be there without the furnished clothing, the man had no answer and was promptly ejected from the feast “outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verses 12-13). Jesus then ends the parable with this statement: "For many are invited, but few are chosen" (verse 14).
The King is God the Father, and the Son who is being honored at the banquet is Jesus Christ, who “He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (Jn.1:11). Israel was invited to the Kingdom, but when the time actually came for the Kingdom to appear (Mat.3:1), they refused to believe it. Many prophets, including John the Baptist, had been murdered (Mat.14:10). The King’s retaliation against the murderers can be interpreted as a prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70 at the hands of the Romans (Mat.24:1-2). More generally, the King’s vengeance speaks of the woeful desolation mentioned in the Book of Revelation. God is patient, but He will NOT tolerate wickedness forever (Obadiah 1:15). His judgment will come upon ALL those who reject His offer of salvation. If we consider what that salvation cost the Lord Jesus, His judgment is right and well deserved (Heb.10:29-31).
Something to consider is, it is not because the invited guests could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come (Lk.13:34). Everyone had an excuse. This is most likely what it will be like on Judgment Day. So tragic! Humans are offered the blessings of God . . . and they refuse them, making ridiculous excuses!
The wedding invitation is then extended to anyone and everyone, both good and bad. This refers to the Gospel being taken to the Gentiles. This portion of the parable foreshadows the Jews’ rejection of the Gospel in Acts 13. Paul and Barnabas were in Pisidian Antioch, where the Jewish leaders strongly opposed them. The apostle’s words echo the King’s estimation that those invited to the wedding “did not deserve to come”. Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (KJV)
The subject of the wedding garment is informative. It would be a gross insult to the King to refuse to wear the garment that He provided to the guests. The man who was caught wearing his old clothing learned what an offense it was as he was removed from the celebration. Jesus was teaching the inadequacy of self-righteousness. From the very beginning, God has provided a “covering” for our sin. To insist on covering ourselves is to be clad in “filthy rags” (Isa.64:6). Adam and Eve tried to cover their shame, but they found their fig leaves didn’t do it. God took away their handmade clothes and replaced them with skins of (sacrificed) animals (Gen.3:7,21), looking forward to Jesus death on the cross. In the Book of Revelation, we see those in Heaven wearing “white robes” (Rev.7:9), and we learn that the whiteness of the robes is due to their being washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev.7:14). We MUST trust in Jesus’ righteousness, NOT our own (1 Cor.1:30; Phil.3:9).
Just as the King provided wedding garments for His guests, God provides salvation for mankind. Our wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ, and unless we have it, we will miss the wedding feast. You either can try to work your way to God, which will NOT work, or you fall at the foot of the cross. The cross of Jesus is the only way to salvation (Jn.14:6).
For his crime against the King, the inappropriately dressed guest is thrown out into the darkness. For their crimes against God, there will be many who will be consigned to “outer darkness”, which is existence without God for eternity. Christ ends the parable with the depressing fact that “many are invited, but few are chosen” which simply means that many people hear the call of God, but just a few pay heed to it. http://www.hisservants.org/hell_h_s.htm
Breaking down the Parable of the Wedding Feast: God sent His Son into the world, and the very people (the Jews) who should have celebrated His coming rejected Him, bringing judgment upon themselves. As a result, the Kingdom of Heaven was opened up to ANYONE (Gentiles) who will set aside his own righteousness and by faith accept the righteousness God provides in Christ. Those who spurn the gift of salvation and cling instead to their own “good” works will spend eternity in Hell.
Gospel of Matthew
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