Matthew 22:1-6 – This is still another parable, with four aspects to it. He introduces this parable by saying that the parable had to do with the kingdom of heaven. The first part is the rejection of the invitation. Wedding feasts were huge affairs that lasted about a week. Imagine how much more splendid would be the wedding of a king.
Guests were accommodated in the home of the groom where all their needs were provided. The groom is described as the son of the King. When all was made ready the king sent out his servants to call those with invitations. To be treated with such honor and respect by the king is amazing, but not as astounding as the response by those who were so honored. As great an honor as it was to be invited, how much greater it was to attend, to spurn such an invitation would have been unthinkable, disrespectful, and a great offense.
What is amazing is the uncharacteristic response of the sovereign king by sending his servants out once again pleading with his subjects who were invited to come to the feast that has been prepared for them. Not only did they ignore the servants sent but carried on their business as usual. They prefered their mundane everyday life to the call of a splendid banquet preapred for them by their king. If that were not bad enough some of them beat and killed the messengers sent to them, showing further contempt for the king.
Remember that Yeshua had introduced this parable by declaring that this had to do with the kingdom of heaven. So there was no mistaking who the king was and who the guests were. The guests were chosen Israel, and the slaves were the prophets and the Son was Jesus Himself.
Matthew 22:7-8 – The king is now enraged with these invited guests who have so miserable spurned Him and the servants that He sent. His anger is vented by the sending of armies to set the city on fire. This is clearly an allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Titus in his destruction of the city according to Josephus killed 1,100,000 Jewish people. Those invited were not worthy to attend, according to the words of the king. The basis was their failure to respond to the call of God. Here we see the concept of free-will and the sovereignty of God. All of mankind is unworthy. It is our response to the call of God that makes us fit for the kingdom.
Matthew 22:9-10 – The parable then goes on to describe the invitation to all peoples. This is a description of the Great Commission. This was prophesied by Hosea 2:23, Romans 9:25-26, and is alluded to by Paul in Romans 11:11. This call according to the parable went out to both the good and the evil. All are invited, but those who are welcome are those who having been invited are transformed by the grace of God, and whose lives are changed. One cannot come to the kingdom and not have a life that has not been changed (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Matthew 22:11-14 – The king then comes to look over his dinner guests, and finds some who are not properly clothed. The others who came were properly clothed, because they had been provided with clothes along with their invitation. The clothing is an allusion to the garments of righteousness we receive when we come to faith in Messiah. (Genesis 3:21).
In this verse we learn that: Man’s covering for his nakedness was inadequate, but God provided a more suitable and durable covering. The Lord furnished the skins, fashioned the garments, and clothed Adam and Eve. God did it all; they did nothing. After condemnation and judgment for this first sin, God acted in mercy to provide a way of salvation, and He demonstrated His grace to cover the shame of man.
(James 5:1-3;Revelation 3:4) The King gave the man an opportunity to justify himself for being at the wedding without proper clothing but when asked he was speechless. The man had come to the wedding clothed in a manner that seemed right to him, not the king.
So the man who spurned the king’s provision was removed bound and cast into outer darkness. The binding is to demonstrate that nothing that the man can do will be able to make it possible to re-enter. That there will be gnashing of teeth and weeping is an allusion to eternal judgment in which there will be conscious awareness of misery and not annihilation as some would like to believe.
Man can only enter the wedding feast and presence of the Father clothed in the garments that are provided by God alone. Cain sought to approach God his own way, as did Adam and Eve, and myriads of others to this very day, but there has always been and always will be only one way to approach God, and that is in His appointed way. Hence Jesus closes this parable with the comment that many are called but few are chosen.
This is an allusion to the concept of the sovereignty God and the free will of man. The invitation went out to many, but few are willing to respond, and in so acting demonstrate that they are unworthy. The few who hear the call and respond are thus the chosen ones.
The invitation is (John 3:16) “”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Not everyone wants God and there are many who do but on their terms and not on God’s.
Matthew 22:15-17 – The Pharisees now gather together to come up with a way to get rid of Jesus by trapping Him. After devising a plan they send their disciples, believing that they will be able to do what they can’t since they are so well known. The Pharisees sent their disciples with the Herodians, a party among the Jews, who were for full subjection to the Roman emperor. Though opposed to each other, they joined forces together against the Messiah in much the same way that Herod and Pilate became friends over the death of Jesus.
The Pharisees disciples would report if Jesus supported Roman taxes, and the Herodians would report if Jesus taught against the Roman tax. Either way they would be able to trap and condemn Jesus for an answer one way or the other, or so they thought. The Pharisees taught that to give a poll‑tax to Caesar would in some way subvert God’s authority over the land of Israel.
To do so would mean that they were acknowledging that Caesar was lord over them and not God; the very indictment that God accused them of in the days of Samuel the prophet (1 Samuel 8:7). The Herodians meanwhile inquire about the propriety of paying tribute to Caesar. If Jesus sided with the Pharisees the Herodians would nail Him.
Matthew 22:18-22 Jesus understood immediately that they were trying to trap Him. And demonstrated His omniscience by calling them hypocrites, knowing their plans. Jesus now does the unexpected, requests a denarius. His question about the image and superscription concerned ownership. The Herodians admitted imperial ownership, prompting Jesus to suggest the obvious, namely, that Caesar should receive what is rightfully his, while God receives those things that are of spiritual significance (Romans 13:1-7).
This in essence gave an endorsement to government. Taxes were necessary for governments to provide roads, protection and peace via the Roman Army and a water via the Roman aqueducts whose remains are still in the land. Peter later endorsed government in 1 Peter 2:13-15, and Paul again in 1 Timothy 1-3.
But Jesus also declared that men must render to God what is His due. This is the area of the Spiritual. God calls all men into account regarding their souls. Once we have surrendered our lives to Him we are duty bound also to serve Him. There are times when God takes precedence over governments (Acts 5:28-29). With the words of Jesus, the disciples of the Pharisees were astonished at His wisdom and went on their way with mouths shut.
Matthew 22:23 The Sadducees, whose membership came largely from the priesthood and upper classes, failed to believe in things other than physical. They denied the bodily resurrection, the reality of a future punishment and reward, and of the existence of angels (Acts 23:8).
Though they upheld the written law of Moses, they were opposed to the oral traditions observed by the Pharisees. They were the party of the high‑priestly families of Jerusalem they were overseers of Temple worship and generally collaborated with the Roman rulers. They opposed Christ as vigorously as the Pharisees and were condemned by Him as severely, though not so frequently (Matthew 16:1-4, 6).
Matthew 22:24-28 – “Moses said” There was no greater authority than Moses. The Sadducees bring up the law concerning “levirate marriage” which is presented in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 along with the procedure to be followed if someone refused to fulfill his responsibility of taking the childless widow of his deceased brother as his wife. Levirate is from the Latin word meaning “husbands brother”.
The Sadducees here are being blatantly hypocritical or looking for Jesus to endorse their position that there is no resurrection. Perhaps another motivation for this question was to succeed where the Pharisees and Herodians had failed in tripping up Jesus and thus ridding the nation of a great problem for their systems. The custom of levirate marriage existed long before the law of Moses. We see this in the case of Judah’s sons Er and Onan and Judah’s behavior in Genesis 38. The question was still another attempt to trap Jesus causing Him to lose face with the Pharisees and the multitudes of people.
Matthew 22:29-33 His answer once again shows the great wisdom of God. He tells them that they are mistaken which comes from a Greek word meaning “to stray from the truth.” They erred in not understanding the Scriptures and in the power of God. In answering their trick questions He deals first with their error with regard to their understanding of angels, then with the subject of marriage and in so doing deals with the issue of the resurrection.
Men and women in the glorified eternal state are like angels, they neither marry nor are given in marriage. Marriage is an earthly necessity not a heavenly one. Childbirth is not necessary for there is no death. We will be intimately related to all citizens of heaven, so there will be no need for the intimate fellowship that marriage provides. We all are pure spirits like the angels. Dealing with the confusion that the Corinthians had been thinking, as the Pharisees taught that the earthly body will be the same as the heavenly Paul observed in (1 Corinthians 15:39-44).
Concerning the resurrection Jesus then refers to the words of God in both Genesis 28:13 and Exodus 3:6;15-16;4:15. His argument is based on the Hebrew tense of “I am.” It is the emphatic present tense. God was very much their God because when God spoke after they had died He spoke in the present. God can only be a God of the living. The response again was astonishment.
Matthew 22:34-39 – Yeshua in this chapter has silenced the Pharisees; He then silenced the Sadducees, now he silences the Scribes. The scribes were men who were trained in writing skills and used to record events and decisions. During the Exile in Babylon educated scribes became the experts in God’s written word, copying, preserving, and teaching it.
Ezra was such a scribe. A professional group of scribes developed by New Testament times, most being Pharisees. They interpreted the law, taught it to disciples, and were experts who would testify in cases where people were accused of breaking the law of Moses. They led in plans to kill Yeshua (Luke 19:47) and heard His stern rebuke (Matthew 23).
The scribe described here seems to be part of a group of Pharisaic observers to the previous argument with the Sadducees. From the parallel account in (Luke 20:39) we get the idea that this scribe was likely a sincere one. “Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!”” and (Mark 12:28).
The question may have been a sincere one, but nevertheless served the interests of those seeking to trap Yeshua. The question, “Which was the greatest law,” denotes that there was a great deal of debate over which law was the greatest. In Jewish understanding some laws were great laws and some lesser. There were 613 commandments, of which 248 where affirmative and 365 where negative.
Yeshua immediately responds to the question by repeating part of the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9;11:13-21; Numbers 15:37-41. These are the portions of Scripture placed on the Mezuzah and in Tephillim. Yeshua taught love was the supreme command, for God primarily and man secondarily. About 200 years earlier the Jewish sage Hillel was asked in a mocking manner by a pagan oppressor, when he said,”give to me the meaning of your law while I am standing on one leg.” Hillel’s response was “What is hurtful to you do not do to others, the rest is commentary.”
Matthew 22:40 tells us that all the Law and the Prophets is based upon these two laws. In other words the rest of the Scriptures is written to help us understand how we are to love God and our neighbor. Galatians 5:16 ff;John 13:35;1 John 4:7-12. Love would make it possible for their not to be the need for any laws. In the parallel passage found in Mark 12:32 the response by the young pharisee who asked the question was (Mark 12:32-33)
This was the message that Saul did not understand, that cost him the blessing of God, and the establishment of his kingdom. (1 Samuel 15:22)
Matthew 22:41-42 – Yeshua had answered all the questions that were designed to trap him that His accusers might find a way to rid themselves of Him. Now Yeshua questions them about their Biblical understanding of the Messiah. Their response would either lead them closer to the Lord they claimed to love or further away.
The question was not directly about Him but about what the Law and the prophets taught. The Jewish people acknowledged that the Messiah would be born from David, but the idea of His divinity was beyond them. If they answered Yeshua’ question rightly they would have to grant Yeshua’ claim to be the unique Son of God, equal to the Father.
The question not only to silenced His adversaries, but also asserted His deity. While Yeshua was the offspring of David in His birth, He was also David’s “Lord” in that He existed before David and, in fact, gave life to David.
In 2 Samuel 7:12-16 God made promises to David concerning his offspring and his dynasty. This was an unconditional promise from God to David. It was not based upon what David would do or fail to do, but upon what God would do for David. The promise included:
(1) the kingdom of David’s son Solomon would be established after David’s death (Matthew 22:12);
(2) that son would build the temple that David desired to build (Matthew 22:13);
(3) David’s house or lineage would never end (Matthew 22:16); and
(4) David’s throne would be established forever (Matthew 22:16).
The first two promises were fulfilled during Solomon’s reign; the last two were messianic, looking forward to the coming King of Kings. Psalm 89:3-4 further confirms this covenant. (Amos 9:11), (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
Throughout the ministry of Yeshua in the Gospel accounts Yeshua is known as the Son of David. His genealogy is established in Matthew tracing the line of His adopted Father, and in Luke the line of His mother.
With His growing popularity because of his teaching, miraculous healing, and His genealogical roots it was suggested over and over by the multitudes that this surely was the Messiah. Until the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD the genealogical records were available for scrutiny in the Temple.
Because Yeshua’ credentials were impeccable, the only way they could attack Yeshua’ refusal to deny His Messiahship was to attack the strange circumstances of His birth. (John 8:41) “You are doing the things your own father does.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.””
Yeshua then was not only the Son of David but also David’s Lord. The Greek word used here is kurios, which correspond to the Hebrew adonoi, which means “master”. Adonoi was substituted for Jehovah or Yahweh, because God’s covenant name was deemed to holy to be spoken.
According to tradition only the High Priest uttered “The Name” (Hashem), and then only on the Day of Atonement in the Holy of Holies. If the Messiah was a man born like anyone else, who would not exist till many ages after David’s death, how could his forefather King David call him Lord? The Pharisees could not answer it. Nor can anyone else unless they accept that the Messiah is the Son of God, and David’s Lord equally with the Father. God became a man in Yeshua and thus fulfilled this remarkable statement, and many other prophecies. Philippians 2:5-11,John 1:1,14,Micah 5:2,Isaiah 9:6.
The response was that they couldn’t respond. They were probably overwhelmed, this was an entirely foreign concept to them. He had completely silenced all those who sought to trip Him up with their various trick questions. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, all were silenced by the wisdom of God spoken to them by Yeshua.