Today: [Matthew 22] The Marriage Supper and those First Invited. In Matthew 22 we find the parable of the marriage supper and those who being first invited spurned the grace of God, as being the Jewish people rather than embracing their Messiah, called for His death before Pilate’s judgment hall. As a result, the servants are sent into the highways and the byways proving to us that the Gentile peoples have been ushered in where only the Jews initially were bidden. This clears up a great controversy even among Christian scholars who wrongly insist that the marriage supper of the Lamb is only for the Jews, having in their erroneous view, nothing to do with the Gentile led church that came after.
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[Mat 22:1-46 KJV] 1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 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. 5 But they made light of [it], and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated [them] spitefully, and slew [them]. 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. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 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. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 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. 14 For many are called, but few [are] chosen. 15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in [his] talk. 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. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, [ye] hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose [is] this image and superscription? 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. 22 When they had heard [these words], they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
In chapter 22 of Matthew, Jesus after coming into Jerusalem with great adulation, and after driving the money changers out of the temple, begins to bring a number of parables at the end of chapter 21 and continued to do so in this chapter. His audience includes His own disciples, the Pharisees, elders in the city of Jerusalem and chief priests in charge of administration in the temple worship.
Beginning in verse 2 Jesus gives the parable of those who are bidden to a certain king’s marriage for His son, but they decline to come. Those that are bidden initially are of course speaking of elders and rulers in Judea, who should have recognized their messiah when He came but they did not, being willingly blind to the truth of Jesus’ identity. This is a picture of those who are experiencing a Kairos moment, and refuse to acknowledge it or defer to God’s plan for their own personal, self-interested reasons. In the parable, because those who were bidden refused to come, then Jesus foreshadowed the emergence of the Gentile church, prefigured in those in the highways and by-ways that are invited because those first provided scorned the marriage supper. This is an interesting parable and it give us a broader context of the idea of the marriage supper that many overlook. There are many teachers of eschatology that claim the scripture limits the marriage supper metaphor to only applying to the Jewish people. This passage then, is one to be remembered as expressing exactly the opposite. In this parable the Jewish people, their elders and scribes are expressly bidden first but then when they reject the offer in the act of calling for Jesus’ crucifixion at Pilate’s judgment hall, then the grace of God is extended to those who were not initially invited but are now honored at the table of God – specifically the Gentile races.
You may have notice in verse 10 that the servants of the king, by extension the soul winners and evangelists of the 1st century church brought in as many as they found both good and bad. What does this mean? It means that our moral excellence or spiritual understanding do not constitute the qualifiers for our place at the table of the Lord. Verses 11-13 give us the only criteria for legitimacy at this marriage feast – are you wearing the marriage garment? What is the marriage garment? It is the robe of the righteousness of Christ expressed in 1 Cor. 1:30 where Paul declares that our righteousness is not based upon our own worth or piety. Our righteousness in this dispensation is found only in the person of Christ, being clothed upon by faith with the acceptance that is found in the shed blood of Christ, meaning that God accepts you and moves in your life not because of who you are or what you have done but because of who Jesus is and what He has done for us 2000 years ago on the cross.
To the parable of the marriage supper the rulers and priests have no answer. It falls upon deaf ears and hearts that have waxed gross, or fat through lack of understanding. Instead they change the subject, thinking to snare Jesus in His words regarding the rule of Rome over the people of Jerusalem and Judea. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar? The question itself is hypocritical. They weren’t GIVING tribute to Rome, they were paying tribute to Rome in a compulsory manner, but they were loath to admit that they were living their lives under the jackboot of Caesar’s rule. Jesus immediately challenges them in their hypocrisy and asks the question, whose image was on the coin of the realm. It was of course Caesars. Render unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s and render to God that which was God’s. Caesar’s image was on the coin, God’s image was on the men who stood before Him. He was plainly telling them that while Caesar could lay claim to their mammon, God Himself lay claim to all they were in their persons and all they represented.
23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 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. 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: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 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. 33 And when the multitude heard [this], they were astonished at his doctrine. 34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, [which was] a lawyer, asked [him a question], tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? 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. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, [The Son] of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any [man] from that day forth ask him any more [questions].
In verse 23 we find the Pharisees have retreated and the next day the Sadducees came to challenge Jesus over a theological argument. The Pharisees were a populist sect, whereas the Sadducees were ranked among the very elite of Jerusalem and the High Priestly family. The Pharisees were hypocritical to the core, but the Sadducees were the epitome of effete snobbery. Between these two groups there was an argument about the afterlife. The Pharisees believed in an after-life whereas the Sadducees did not, yet it is on this very question they came to Jesus asking Him deceitfully about things they absolutely had no belief in at all. Jesus answer to them regarding the alleged marriage of a seven times widowed woman shows us that Jesus knowledge is that in heaven there is not estate of marriage as we know it, suggesting then to us that gender will be neither male nor female in the eternity we will share with Christ in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus goes a step further and challenges them on the matter of resurrection altogether which they do not believe in the first place. He quotes Moses in Ex. 3:6 who spoke of Abraham in the first person present tense as though he was yet living centuries after his death. Thus, the Sadducees are utterly silenced before His wisdom until one of them, who was a lawyer speaks up, confident in his ability to bring the itinerant, upstart teacher in the person of Jesus to shame before his fellows.
The question of the lawyer is what, in Jesus view is the greatest commandment. Jesus answers Him that the greatest commandment is to love God with all one’s being and to love they neighbor as one’s self. You can see by Jesus answer that He added to the question of the lawyer a dimension of understanding that silenced him and exposed his utter fault. The Pharisees and Sadducees prided themselves on their deep piety regarding the law and the commandments, but no one who knew them or was exposed to their culture ever considered them in the slightest to be concerned about loving their fellow man. Seeing Jesus so rounding defeating the words of the Sadducees the Pharisees pounce again with further questions, specifically about the promised Messiah. They certainly believed that the Messiah would be a son, or of the lineage of David, but Jesus then questions why if the Messiah was a son of David, did David himself prophetically call the Messiah his Lord in Psalm 110:1. This totally silenced the unbelieving Jews at this time, but research will show that in the intervening centuries since Jewish scholarship has vociferously objected, complained, maligned and defamed that view of David’s statements by the Psalmist. The testimony of God is incontrovertible however, proving the identity of Jesus as Messiah and the reality of an eternity where all men and women, Jew and Gentile will answer at His feet for their deeds.
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