Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Matthew 22-23
We begin Matthew 22 with what may seem like a puzzling parable at the start. However, recall that there were originally no chapters and verse headings in the Bible – these were added by modern translators. With that in mind, we can see that chapter 22 is a continuous story, and when begin reading at 21:45 (just two verses before this latest parable) we see the fuller context. Let us take a look:
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.
And with that we come to today’s episode of WHY DID HE SAY THAT?
Kings often gave banquets for their subjects, regardless of status. This was a way for the King to be magnanimous and show off His wealth and power. However, it was understood that not everyone would be able to afford suitable clothing to attend such a banquet and in those cases it was common for the King to provide them with garments.
Now, let’s read a few other verses:
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; I will be overjoyed because of my God. For He clothes me in garments of deliverance; He puts on me a robe symbolizing vindication.” Isaiah 61:10
“Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear.” Then the angel said to me, “Write this: blessed are those invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” Rev 19:8-9
Is it starting to make more sense now? The Pharisees knew this was about Messiah.
We will go on to read more of His charges against them. While they knew the law of YHWH, their hearts were not for Him. They lived outwardly as if they were righteous but Messiah saw to their soul and it was not so. They were the guest showing up at the wedding but not properly clothed in the garments of deliverance.
Now, what about those initial guests who ignored the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb? I think this is a parable that could actually be applied to several groups – but all in the same way. Messiah sent out an invitation. It was ignored. They went about their own business, finding it more important to their lives than accepting an invitation to follow Messiah.
There was no rush.
Not even a sense of honor and awe at what lay before them.
I can see that being me, just a few years ago, when I was a “good” Christian who showed up at church but didn’t actually realize or hold in awe and honor the treasure of YHWH’s Word before me.
This story can apply to that, to those Christians who call themselves by His name but do not take His invitation seriously, but it can also apply to other groups as well.
This parable also reminds me of the prodigal son but I’ll save that story for when we get to Luke. I used to see that parable entirely differently than I do now – and how I see it now has changed my eternity.
We see in Matthew 22:15-22 that the Pharisees are now sending other folks to try to trick Messiah because He keeps outmaneuvering them at every turn, so they figure they’ll plant some folks in the audience and they might be able to catch Him with His guard down. Yeah, that’s not gonna work. They walk away, defeated again.
Sidenote: There are three main factions of Jews at this point. Think of these as you would any of our estimated 47,000 protestant denominations worldwide. Nope, there isn’t a type-o there. We have over 47,000 protestant denominations.
I want to give you a little bare bones framework of the differences in these three factions below. This is strictly surface info, feel free to dive deeper on your own if you like.
- Did not believe in the resurrection of the dead
- Believed in Free Will
- Actually had a chapter in their Mishnah, a book of their own laws that stated that anyone who didn’t believe in resurrection of the dead would have no part in the ever after. Can you see that there is a clear rivalry between them and the Sadducees? We’ll see more of this going forward.
- Believed in free will but that YHWH knows in advance the choices we will make
- Accepted oral torah, manmade law that was supposedly passed down orally in addition to the written Torah (first five books of the Bible).
- Historians believe this sect was formed out of disgust for the other two.
- Believed that life is predestined
- Lived communal, very humble lives, similar to monks of our time.
- Stayed out of politics and lived outside of major cities.
- They are not mentioned in the Bible but there is much evidence to show that they were the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls and from those documents we have found that their name means “Observers of Torah”. (Torah = first five books of the Bible)
The Sadducees try to entrap Messiah by posing a question to Him but this question is told from the angle of their doctrine. They are seeking to prove their own doctrine rather than seeking the truth. Messiah calls them out brilliantly by not answering but stating plainly.
“ You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of YHWH.” Matthew 22:29
Wow. Now that’s impactful. I’m totally using that next time someone tells me YHWH has up and changed His mind on every statute and decree which He said was everlasting.
The Greatest Commandment?
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40
This passage is the one most often cited to uphold the unBiblical doctrine that Messiah did away with all of YHWH’s commandments and replaced them with just two. I have written an entire paper about this passage alone and it is very important that you read it as part of our notes today if at all possible as I feel it clarifies and explains key elements of Messiah’s teaching and shows that He was, in fact, continuing to uphold the Father’s Word. Click here to read: Did Messiah Replace The Ten Commandments With Just Two?
In Matthew 23 we see Messiah actually praising the Pharisees in that they know the law but then condemning them for teaching it while not following it themselves. We also see that they held themselves up, exalted themselves, and essentially expected others do the same. Messiah warns us against following such men who would seek honor and grand titles for themselves as the model of a leader is humility, servanthood, one who directs others to follow to the YHWH and His Word rather than themselves.
So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
What law is this referring to? YHWH’s law. I hope you’re seeing the differences and how easily it is to confuse the two if we don’t know the background of Scriptures first hand or when we read things out of context.
Messiah grieving over Jerusalem is one of my (many) favorite passages in the Bible.
I can imagine Him, the pain in His heart at seeing so many willfully reject the gift He brings, knowing what their fate may be and seeing His warnings, teachings, and wisdom fall on deaf ears.
Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Matthew 23: 37
Things to ponder today in the stillness of our hearts: Have we rejected Him? Are there any ways in which we are rejecting His ways and clinging to our own instead? I have to examine my life regularly looking for these things.
He will lead, but we must follow.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!