FRIDAY, AUGUST 7
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 22
Author: Jeremy Witt
Have you ever wanted to say something to someone but didn’t? Jesus had a way of saying those things in a parable as He did in chapter 21 and does so again in chapter 22. I wish I had that gift at times. Jesus does this in verses 1-14.
Culturally for a Jewish wedding, two invitations went out. The first was the invitation, and the second was a notification that everything was ready. A wedding feast lasted for days, and it was an event of food, drink, and more. For those of greater wealth, clothing was accompanied by the invitation. To reject this was unthinkable especially for a king. Notice in verse 3 that a king sent the first invitation and was refused by those first ones who received it. The Jewish people thought that they would be first in the eyes of God. The Gentiles, the sinners (prostitutes, tax collectors, Romans, us, etc) would be last in the eyes of God. Yet Jesus came and said those who want to be first would be last, and the last would be first. See Matthew 19:30, 20:16.
This parable shows how God will accept the 2nd group and reject the first. This was a great insult to the king. What does the king do? He sends his army to wipe out those who insulted, beat, and killed his messengers (verse 6) and then sends out invitations to everyone (verses 8-10). Notice that good and evil are both invited and given wedding clothes. Then one man refuses to wear the wedding clothes (11-13). Why is this so important? The clothes provided were for the wedding and cost the wearer nothing. They merely had to accept them and wear them. The clothes are a symbol of the righteousness of God that believer has when they choose to accept Jesus and follow Him. They must repent (get rid of their old clothes) and wear the wedding clothes. The king provided everything. It was not based upon what the wearer did, but what the king did. This is what Jesus die for us. The man who refused to abide by the king’s wishes was cast out into darkness (symbolic of hell).
I could spend all our time on this parable because it is rich with spiritual meat. I encourage you to dive deeper here, but I also feel the need to address the next section of verses. Again, we find the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus. They try a political question this time. If Jesus responded poorly, they could tell the Romans and let the Romans deal with Him. Or Jesus could have responded poorly based upon the audience around Jesus who was very anti-Rome. The political climate was tense and no Jewish person wanted Rome in their land, and the Romans were very much hated. They had thought that they had Jesus in a “no-win” situation. Yet Jesus’ response shut them up when He said, “give to Caesar that which is Caesar and to God that which is God.s”
That same day, another group of religious elites came to question Jesus. In order for a Sadducee and a Pharisee to come together was about as difficult as a Democrat and Republican are today. Jesus gave them a common enemy, so it brought them some unity. Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection but they asked a question about the resurrection of the dead, which is very ironic in my mind. Yet Jesus’ response left them stunned as it did the Pharisees moments earlier.
We see two more attempts to question Jesus and both groups continue to fail to trap Jesus. He quotes the Old Testament (verse 32, 37, 39, and 44) and shuts them up. Before we go and just laugh at these religious experts, how many times have we questioned God? How many times have we tried to get Jesus to “do something for us” or gotten upset when Jesus did not serve our motives? I ask these questions to you because when we look at Habakkuk, Jonah, Job, etc., we see people questioning God/Jesus, and His purpose/motive.