I Can Not Come to the Banquet

The Parable of the Wedding Feast


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I Can Not Come to the Banquet v2
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And Jesus answered  and spoke to them again by parables and said: 

“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 
and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 

Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited,
“See, I have prepared my dinner; 
my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready.
Come to the wedding.” ’ 

But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 

And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 

But when the king heard about it, he was furious.
And he sent out  his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 

Then he said to his servants,
‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not  worthy. 

Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’

 So those servants went out into the highways
and gathered together all whom they found,
both bad and good.

And the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests,
he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 
So he said to him,
‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’
And he was  speechless. 

Then the king said to the servants,
‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him  into outer darkness;
there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22)

Additional Commentary: The Parable of the Wedding Feast

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Jesus and His Bride the true Church

The Great Supper of God


Relevance for Today

Two thousand years ago, Jesus rode into Jerusalem knowing it was for the last time. He wept knowing also that He would not be welcomed as rightful, fully-qualified, long expected Messiah. A full destruction of that City happened forty years later, after which the God of Israel turned His attention to the calling out of a people for His name from the gentile (non-Jewish) nations, numbering more than 100 today.

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel,  that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified,  whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the  ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

...Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.’ (Acts 15:14-17)

The imagery of Matthew Chapter 22 ought to be crystal to everyone today: "A certain King" is God the Father and the son is Messiah Jesus who was indeed first sent to the house Israel. Their historic rejection of Jesus (and the consequences therefore) are well documented in the history books.

As the Apostles of Jesus noted clearly after the resurrection of Jesus, His Ascension and the Day of Pentecost, God turned His attention to the gentiles. The approaching end of the "church age" we live in was heralded in May 1948, when Jews regathered to Israel declared the Modern State of Israel. The message the Apostles carried out into to the world was the simple announcement called the "gospel" of Jesus Christ (See 1 Corinthians 15). For two thousand years, Jesus has been quietly building a glorious church now nearly complete. The next major event on God's agenda will be the rapture of the final members of that church now living down on the planet.

But the state of Christendom down on the planet today is very low! The eternal call of God to holy living and obedience to Jesus is largely unheeded: "Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)


Additional Reading

The Wife of Jehovah, The Bride of Christ
The Revirginized Bride
The Call of Heaven
The Two Churches
The Philadelphia Church
The Return of Jesus (with Bride)
Psalm 45: The Wedding Psalm
The Excluded Ones
The Seven Churches in New Jerusalem
A Weekend with Jesus
The Triumphal Entry
The Royal Road to Wholeness
Rapture Prep
Aspects of the Return of Jesus Christ

Taking God Seriously
That Last One Percent


Two Commentaries

Commentary by William Barclay

Commentary by Thomas Constable

Matthew 22:1-14 form not one parable, but two; and we will grasp their meaning far more easily and far more fully if we take them separately. 

The events of the first of the two were completely in accordance with normal Jewish customs. When the invitations to a great feast, like a wedding feast, were sent out, the time was not stated; and when everything was ready the servants were sent out with a final summons to tell the guests to come. So, then, the king in this parable had long ago sent out his invitations; but it was not till everything was prepared that the final summons was issued--and insultingly refused. This parable has two meanings. 

(i) It has a purely local meaning. Its local meaning was a driving home of what had already been, said in the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen; once again it was an accusation of the Jews. The invited guests who when the time came refused to come, stand for the Jews. Ages ago they had been invited by God to be his chosen people; yet when God's son came into the world, and they were invited to follow him they contemptuously refused. The result was that the invitation of God went out direct to the highways and the byways; and the people in the highways and the byways stand for the sinners and the Gentiles, who never expected an invitation into the Kingdom. 

As the writer of the gospel saw it, the consequences of the refusal were terrible. There is one verse of the parable which is strangely out of place; and that because it is not part of the original parable as Jesus told it, but an interpretation by the writer of the gospel. That is Matthew 22:7, which tells how the king sent his armies against those who refused the invitation, and burned their city. 

This introduction of armies and the burning of the city seems at first sight completely out of place taken in connexion with invitations to a wedding feast. But Matthew was composing his gospel some time between A.D. 80 and 90. What had happened during the period between the actual life of Jesus and now? The answer is--the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Rome in A.D. 70. The Temple was sacked and burned and the city destroyed stone from stone, so that a plough was drawn across it. Complete disaster had come to those who refused to recognize the Son of God when he came. 

The writer of the gospel adds as his comment the terrible things which did in fact happen to the nation which would not take the way of Christ. And it is indeed the simple historical fact that if the Jews had accepted the way of Christ, and had walked in love, in humility and in sacrifice they would never have been the rebellious, warring people who finally provoked the avenging wrath of Rome, when Rome could stand their political machinations no longer. 

(ii) Equally this parable has much to say on a much wider scale. 

(a) It reminds us that the invitation of God is to a feast as joyous as a wedding feast. His invitation is to joy. To think of Christianity as a gloomy giving up of everything which brings laughter and sunshine and happy fellowship is to mistake its whole nature. It is to joy that the Christian is invited; and it is joy he misses, if he refuses the invitation. 

(b) It reminds us that the things which make men deaf to the invitation of Christ are not necessarily bad in themselves. One man went to his estate; the other to his business. They did not go off on a wild carousal or an immoral adventure. They went off on the, in itself, excellent task of efficiently administering their business life. It is very easy for a man to be so busy with the things of time that he forgets the things of eternity, to be so preoccupied with the things which are seen that he forgets the things which are unseen, to hear so insistently the claims of the world that he cannot hear the soft invitation of the voice of Christ. The tragedy of life is that it is so often the second bests which shut out the bests, that it is things which are good in themselves which shut out the things that are supreme. A man can be so busy making a living that he fails to make a life; he can be so busy with the administration and the organization of life that he forgets life itself. 

(c) It reminds us that the appeal of Christ is not so much to consider how we will be punished as it is to see what we will miss, if we do not take his way of things. Those who would not come were punished, but their real tragedy was that they lost the joy of the wedding feast. If we refuse the invitation of Christ, some day our greatest pain will lie, not in the things we suffer, but in the realization of the precious things we have missed. 

(d) It reminds us that in the last analysis God's invitation is the invitation of grace. Those who were gathered in from the highways and the byways had no claim on the king at an; they could never by any stretch of imagination have expected an invitation to the wedding feast, still less could they ever have deserved it. It came to them from nothing other than the wide-armed, open-hearted, generous hospitality of the king. It was grace which offered the invitation and grace which gathered men in. 

THE SCRUTINY OF THE KING (Matthew 22:11-14)

22:11-14 The king came in to see those who were sitting at table, and he saw there a man who was not wearing a wedding garment. "Friend," he said to him, "how did you come here with no wedding garment?" The man was struck silent. Then the king said to the attendants, "Bind him hands and feet, and throw him out into the outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth there. For many are called, but few are chosen." 

This is a second parable, but it is also a very close continuation and amplification of the previous one. It is the story of a guest who appeared at a royal wedding feast without a wedding garment. 

One of the great interests of this parable is that in it we see Jesus taking a story which was already familiar to his hearers and using it in his own way. The Rabbis had two stories which involved kings and garments. The first told of a king who invited his guests to a feast, without telling them the exact date and time; but he did tell them that they must wash, and anoint, and clothe themselves that they might be ready when the summons came. The wise prepared themselves at once, and took their places waiting at the palace door, for they believed that in a palace a feast could be prepared so quickly that there would be no long warning. The foolish believed that it would take a long time to make the necessary preparations and that they would have plenty of time. So they went, the mason to his lime, the potter to his clay, the smith to his furnace, the fuller to his bleaching-ground, and went on with their work. Then, suddenly, the summons to the feast came without any warning. The wise were ready to sit down, and the king rejoiced over them, and they ate and drank. But those who had not arrayed themselves in their wedding garments had to stand outside, sad and hungry, and look on at the joy that they had lost. That rabbinic parable tells of the duty of preparedness for the summons of God, and the garments stand for the preparation that must be made. 

The second rabbinic parable told how a king entrusted to his servants royal robes. Those who were wise took the robes, and carefully stored them away, and kept them in all their pristine loveliness. Those who were foolish wore the robes to their work, and soiled and stained them. The day came when the king demanded the robes back. The wise handed them back fresh and clean; so the king laid up the robes in his treasury and bade them go in peace. The foolish handed them back stained and soiled. The king commanded that the robes should be given to the fuller to cleanse, and that the foolish servants should be cast into prison. This parable teaches that a man must hand back his soul to God in all its original purity; but that the man who has nothing but a stained soul to render back stands condemned. 

No doubt Jesus had these two parables in mind when he told his own story. What, then, was he seeking to teach? This parable also contains both a local and a universal lesson. 

(i) The local lesson is this. Jesus has just said that the king, to supply his feast with guests, sent his messengers out into the highways and byways to gather all men in. That was the parable of the open door. It told how the Gentiles and the sinners would be gathered in. This parable strikes the necessary balance. It is true that the door is open to an men, but when they come they must bring a life which seeks to fit the love which has been given to them. Grace is not only a gift; it is a grave responsibility. A man cannot go on living the life he lived before he met Jesus Christ. He must be clothed in a new purity and a new holiness and a new goodness. The door is open, but the door is not open for the sinner to come and remain a sinner, but for the sinner to come and become a saint. 

(ii) This is the permanent lesson. The way in which a man comes to anything demonstrates the spirit in which he comes. If we go to visit in a friend's house, we do not go in the clothes we wear in the shipyard or the garden. We know very well that it is not the clothes which matter to the friend. It is not that we want to put on a show. It is simply a matter of respect that we should present ourselves in our friend's house as neatly as we can. The fact that we prepare ourselves to go there is the way in which we outwardly show our affection and our esteem for our friend. So it is with God's house. This parable has nothing to do with the clothes in which we go to church; it has everything to do with the spirit in which we go to God's house. It is profoundly true that church-going must never be a fashion parade. But there are garments of the mind and of the heart and of the soul--the garment of expectation, the garment of humble penitence, the garment of faith, the garment of reverence--and these are the garments without which we ought not to approach God. Too often we go to God's house with no preparation at all; if every man and woman in our congregations came to church prepared to worship, after a little prayer, a little thought, and a little self-examination, then worship would be worship indeed--the worship in which and through which things happen in men's souls and in the life of the Church and in the affairs of the world. 

HUMAN AND DIVINE RIGHT (Matthew 22:15-22)

22:15-22 Then the Pharisees came, and tried to form a plan to ensnare him in his speech. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know that you are true, and that you teach the way of God in truth, and that you never allow yourself to be swayed by any man, for you are no respecter of persons. Tell us, then, your opinion--is it right to pay tribute to Caesar, or not?" Jesus was well aware of their malice. "Hypocrites," he said, "why do you try to test me? Show me the tribute coin." They brought him a denarius. "Whose image is this," he said to them, "and whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they said to him. "Well then," he said to them, "render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God the things which are God's." When they heard this answer, they were amazed, and left him and went away. 

Up to this point we have seen Jesus, as it were, on the attack. He had spoken three parables in which he had plainly indicted the orthodox Jewish leaders. In the parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-32) the Jewish leaders appear under the guise of the unsatisfactory son who did not do his father's will. In the parable of the wicked husbandmen (Matthew 21:33-46) they are the wicked husbandmen. In the parable of the king's feast (Matthew 22:1-14) they are the condemned guests. 

Now we see the Jewish leaders launching their counterattack; and they do so by directing at Jesus carefully formulated questions. They ask these questions in public, while the crowd look on and listen, and their aim is to make Jesus discredit himself by his own words in the presence of the people. Here, then, we have the question of the Pharisees, and it was subtly framed. Palestine was an occupied country and the Jews were subject to the Roman Empire; and the question was: "Is it, or is it not, lawful to pay tribute to Rome?" 

There were, in fact, three regular taxes which the Roman government exacted. There was a ground tax; a man must pay to the government one tenth of the grain, and one fifth of the oil and wine which he produced; this tax was paid partly in kind, and partly in a money equivalent. There was income tax, which was one per cent of a man's income. There was a poll tax; this tax had to be paid by every male person from the age of fourteen to the age of sixty-five, and by every female person from the age of twelve to sixty-five; it amounted to one denarius (Greek #1220)--that is what Jesus called the tribute coin--and was the equivalent of about 4p, a sum which is to be evaluated in the awareness that 3p was the usual day's wage for a working-man. The tax in question here is the poll tax. 

The question which the Pharisees asked set Jesus a very real dilemma. If he said that it was unlawful to pay the tax, they would promptly report him to the Roman government officials as a seditious person and his arrest would certainly follow. If he said that it was lawful to pay the tax, he would stand discredited in the eyes of many of the people. Not only did the people resent the tax as everyone resents taxation; they resented it even more for religious reasons. To a Jew God was the only king; their nation was a theocracy; to pay tax to an earthly king was to admit the validity of his kingship and thereby to insult God. Therefore the more fanatical of the Jews insisted that any tax paid to a foreign king was necessarily wrong. Whichever way Jesus might answer--so his questioners thought-he would lay himself open to trouble. 

The seriousness of this attack is shown by the fact that the Pharisees and the Herodians combined to make it, for normally these two parties were in bitter opposition. The Pharisees were the supremely orthodox, who resented the payment of the tax to a foreign king as an infringement of the divine right of God. The Herodians were the party of Herod, king of Galilee, who owed his power to the Romans and who worked hand in glove with them. The Pharisees and the Herodians were strange bed-fellows indeed; their differences were for the moment forgotten in a common hatred of Jesus and a common desire to eliminate him. Any man who insists on his own way, no matter what it is, will hate Jesus. 

This question of tax-paying was not of merely historical interest. Matthew was writing between A.D. 80 and 90. The Temple had been destroyed in A.D. 70. So long as it stood, every Jew had been bound to pay the half-shekel Temple tax. After the destruction of the Temple, the Roman government demanded that that tax should be paid to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Rome. It is obvious how bitter a regulation that was for a Jew to stomach. The matter of taxes was a real problem in the actual ministry of Jesus; and it was still a real problem in the days of the early Church. 

But Jesus was wise. He asked to see a denarius, which was stamped with the Emperor's head. In the ancient days coinage was the sign of kingship. As soon as a king came to the throne he struck his own coinage; even a pretender would produce a coinage to show the reality of his kingship; and that coinage was held to be the property of the king whose image it bore. Jesus asked whose image was on the coin. The answer was that Caesar's head was on it. "Well then," said Jesus, "give it back to Caesar; it is his. Give to Caesar what belongs to him; and give to God what belongs to him." 

With his unique wisdom Jesus never laid down rules and regulations; that is why his teaching is timeless and never goes out of date. He always lays down principles. Here he lays down a very great and very important one. 

Every Christian man has a double citizenship. He is a citizen of the country in which he happens to live. To it he owes many things. He owes the safety against lawless men which only settled government can give; he owes all public services. To take a simple example, few men are wealthy enough to have a lighting system or a cleansing system or a water system of their own. These are public services. In a welfare state the citizen owes still more to the state--education, medical services, provision for unemployment and old age. This places him under a debt of obligation. Because the Christian is a man of honour, he must be a responsible citizen; failure in good citizenship is also failure in Christian duty. Untold troubles can descend upon a country or an industry when Christians refuse to take their part in the administration and leave it to selfish, self-seeking, partisan, and unchristian men. The Christian has a duty to Caesar in return for the privileges which the rule of Caesar brings to him. 

But the Christian is also a citizen of heaven. There are matters of religion and of principle in which the responsibility of the Christian is to God. It may well be that the two citizenships will never clash; they do not need to. But when the Christian is convinced that it is God's will that something should be done, it must be done; or, if he is convinced that something is against the will of God, he must resist it and take no part in it. Where the boundaries between the two duties lie, Jesus does not say. That is for a man's own conscience to test. But a real Christian--and this is the permanent truth which Jesus here lays down--is at one and the same time a good citizen of his country and a good citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. He will fail in his duty neither to God nor to man. He will, as Peter said, "Fear God. Honour the emperor" (1 Peter 2:17). 


22:23-33 On that day the Sadducees, who deny that there is any resurrection, came to him, and questioned him. "Teacher," they said, "Moses said, 'If anyone dies without children, his brother shall marry his wife, and shall raise up a family for his brother.' Amongst us there were seven brothers. The first married and died, and, since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened with the second and the third, right to the end of the seven of them. Last of all the woman died. Of which of the seven will she be the wife in the resurrection? For they all had her." Jesus answered: "You are in error, because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. In the resurrection they neither marry nor are married, but they are as the angels in heaven. Now, in regard to the resurrection of the dead, have you never read what God said, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' God is not the God of dead men, but of those who live." When the crowds heard this answer, they were amazed at his teaching. 

When the Pharisees had made their counter-attack on Jesus and been routed, the Sadducees took up the battle. 

The Sadducees were not many in number; but they were the wealthy, the aristocratic, and the governing class. The chief priests, for instance, were Sadducees. In politics they were collaborationist; quite ready to cooperate with the Roman government, if co-operation was the price of the retention of their own privileges. In thought they were quite ready to open their minds to Greek ideas. In their Jewish belief they were traditionalists. They refused to accept the oral and scribal law, which to the Pharisees was of such paramount importance. They went even further; the only part of scripture which they regarded as binding was the Pentateuch, the Law par excellence, the first five books of the Old Testament. They did not accept the prophets or the poetical books as scripture at all. In particular they were at variance with the Pharisees in that they completely denied any life after death, a belief on which the Pharisees insisted. The Pharisees indeed laid it down that any man who denied the resurrection of the dead was shut out from God. 

The Sadducees insisted that the doctrine of life after death could not be proved from the Pentateuch. The Pharisees said that it could and it is interesting to look at the proofs which they adduced. They cited Numbers 18:28 which says, "You shall give the Lord's offering to Aaron the priest." That is permanent regulation; the verb is in the present tense; therefore Aaron is still alive! They cited Deuteronomy 31:16 : "This people will rise," a peculiarly unconvincing citation, for the second half of the verse goes on, "and play the harlot after the strange gods of the land"! They cited Deuteronomy 32:39 : "I kill and I make alive." Outside the Pentateuch they cited Isaiah 26:19 : "Thy dead shall live." It cannot be said that any of the citations of the Pharisees were really convincing; and no real argument for the resurrection of the dead had ever been produced from the Pentateuch. 

The Pharisees were very definite about the resurrection of the body. They discussed recondite points--Would a man rise clothed or unclothed? If clothed, would he rise with the clothes in which he died, or other clothes? They used 1 Samuel 28:14(the witch of Endor's raising of the spirit of Samuel at the request of Saul) to prove that after death men retain the appearance they had in this world. They even argued that men rose with the physical defects with which, and from which they died--otherwise they would not be the same persons! All Jews would be resurrected in the Holy Land, so they said that under the earth there were cavities and, when a Jew was buried in a foreign land, his body rolled through these cavities until it reached the homeland. The Pharisees held as a primary doctrine the bodily resurrection of the dead; the Sadducees completely denied it. 

The Sadducees produced a question which, they believed, reduced the doctrine of the resurrection of the body to an absurdity. There was a Jewish custom called Levirate Marriage. How far it was ever carried out in practice is very doubtful. If a man died childless, his brother was under obligation to marry the widow, and to beget children for his brother; such children were legally regarded as the brother's children. If the man refused to marry the widow, they must both go to the elders. The woman must loosen the man's shoe, spit in his face, and curse him; and the man was thereafter under a stigma of refusal (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). The Sadducees cited a case of Levirate Marriage in which seven brothers, each dying childless, one after another married the same woman; and then asked, "When the resurrection takes place, whose wife will this much-married woman be?" Here indeed was a catch question. 

Jesus began by laying down one principle--the whole question starts from a basic error, the error of thinking of heaven in terms of earth, and of thinking of eternity in terms of time. Jesus' answer was that anyone who reads scripture must see that the question is irrelevant, for heaven is not going to be simply a continuation or an extension of this world. There will be new and greater relationships which will far transcend the physical relationships of time. 

Then Jesus went on to demolish the whole Sadducean position. They had always held that there was no text in the Pentateuch which could be used to prove the resurrection of the dead. Now, what was one of the commonest titles of God in the Pentateuch? "The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob." God cannot be the God of dead men and of mouldering corpses. The living God must be the God of living men. The Sadducean case was shattered. Jesus had done what the wisest Rabbis had never been able to do. Out of Scripture itself he had confuted the Sadducees, and had shown them that there is a life after death which must not be thought of in earthly terms. The crowds were amazed at a man who was a master of argument like this, and even the Pharisees can hardly have forborne to cheer. 

DUTY TO GOD AND DUTY TO MAN (Matthew 22:34-40)

22:34-40 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. One of them, who was an expert in the Law, asked him a question as a test: "What commandment in the Law is greatest?" He said to him, "'You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and your whole soul, and your whole mind.' This is the great and the chief commandment; and the second is like it, 'You must love your neighbour as yourself.' On these two commandments the whole Law and the prophets depend." 

In Matthew this question looks like a return to the attack on the part of the Pharisees; but in Mark the atmosphere is different. As Mark tells the story (Mark 12:28-34) the scribe did not ask Jesus this question to trip him up. He asked it in gratitude that Jesus had confuted the Sadducees and to enable Jesus to demonstrate how well he could answer; and the passage ends with the scribe and Jesus very close to each other. 

We may well say that here Jesus laid down the complete definition of religion. 

(i) Religion consists in loving God. The verse which Jesus quotes is Deuteronomy 6:5. That verse was part of the Shema, the basic and essential creed of Judaism, the sentence with which every Jewish service still opens, and the first text which every Jewish child commits to memory. It means that to God we must give a total love, a love which dominates our emotions, a love which directs our thoughts, and a love which is the dynamic of our actions. All religion starts with the love which is total commitment of life to God. 

(ii) The second commandment which Jesus quotes comes from Leviticus 19:18. Our love for God must issue in love for men. But it is to be noted in which order the commandments come; it is love of God first, and love of man second. It is only when we love God that man becomes lovable. The Biblical teaching about man is not that man is a collection of chemical elements, not that man is part of the brute creation, but that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). It is for that reason that man is lovable. The true basis of all democracy is in fact the love of God. Take away the love of God and we can become angry at man the unteachable; we can become pessimistic about man the unimprovable; we can become callous to man the machine-minder. The love of man is firmly grounded in the love of God. 

To be truly religious is to love God and to love the men whom God made in his own image; and to love God and man, not with a nebulous sentimentality, but with that total commitment which issues in devotion to God and practical service of men. 

NEW HORIZONS (Matthew 22:41-46)

22:41-46 When the Pharisees had come together, Jesus asked them a question: "What is your opinion about The Anointed One? Whose son is he?" "David's son," they said. He said to them, "How, then, does David in the Spirit call Him Lord, when he says, 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand till I put your enemies beneath your feet.' If David calls Him Lord, how is he his son?" And no one was able to give him any answer. And from that day no one any longer dared to ask him a question. 

To us this may seem one of the most obscure things which Jesus ever said. This may be so, but none the less it is a most important statement. Even if, at first sight, we do not fully grasp its meaning, we can still feel the air of awe and astonishment and mystery which it has about it. 

We have seen again and again that Jesus refused to allow his followers to proclaim him as the Messiah until he had taught them what Messiahship meant. Their ideas of Messiahship needed the most radical change. 

The commonest title of the Messiah was Son of David. Behind it lay the expectation that there would one day come a great prince of the line of David who would shatter Israel's enemies and lead the people to the conquest of all nations. The Messiah was most commonly thought of in nationalistic, political, military terms of power and glory. This is another attempt by Jesus to alter that conception. 

He asked the Pharisees whose son they understood the Messiah to be: they answered, as he knew they would, "David's son." Jesus then quotes Psalm Isaiah 10:1 : "The Lord says to my Lord; Sit at my right hand." All accepted that as a Messianic text. In it the first Lord is God; the second Lord is the Messiah. That is to say David calls the Messiah Lord. But, if the Messiah is David's son, how could David call his own son Lord? 

The clear result of the argument is that it is not adequate to call the Messiah Son of David. He is not David's son; he is David's Lord. When Jesus healed the blind men, they called him Son of David (Matthew 20:30). When he entered Jerusalem the crowds hailed him as Son of David (Matthew 21:9). Jesus is here saying, "It is not enough to call the Messiah Son of David. It is not enough to think of him as a Prince of David's line and an earthly conqueror. You must go beyond that, for the Messiah is David's Lord." 

What did Jesus mean? He can have meant only one thing--that the true description of him is Son of God. Son of David is not an adequate title; only Son of God will do. And, if that be so, Messiahship is not to be thought of in terms of Davidic conquest, but in terms of divine and sacrificial love. Here, then, Jesus makes his greatest claim. In him there came, not the earthly conqueror who would repeat the military triumphs of David, but the Son of God who would demonstrate the love of God upon his Cross. 

There would be few that day who caught anything like all that Jesus meant; but when Jesus spoke these words, even the densest of them felt a shiver in the presence of the eternal mystery. They had the awed and the uncomfortable feeling that they had heard the voice of God, and for a moment, in this man Jesus, they glimpsed God's very face. 

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

The NASB says, "Jesus answered." This was Matthew"s way of introducing what Jesus said It does not mean that what Jesus said was a response to a particular question someone had asked Him. Jesus responded to the leaders" desires The antecedent of "them" was the Jewish leaders, but there were many other Jews in the temple courtyard listening to the dialogue.

The parable of the royal wedding banquet 22:1-14: The scope of the parable of the two sons encompassed Israel"s leaders The parable of the wicked tenant farmers exposed the leaders" lack of responsibility and their guilt to the people listening in as well as to the leaders themselves. This last parable is the broadest of the three. It condemned the contempt with which Israel as a whole had treated God"s grace to her.

Jesus said the kingdom was similar to what the following story illustrated (cf.  Matthew 13:24;  Matthew 13:31;  Matthew 13:33Matthew 13:44-45;  Matthew 13:47;  Matthew 20:1). The king represents God the Father. His Song of Solomon, the bridegroom (cf. Matthew 9:15;  Matthew 25:1), is Messiah. The wedding feast is the messianic banquet that will take place on earth at the beginning of the kingdom ( Matthew 8:11-12;  Matthew 25:1; cf.  Psalm 132:15;  Isaiah 25:6-8;  Isaiah 65:13-14;  Revelation 21:2). As in the previous parable, the slaves (Gr. douloi) of the king are His prophets ( Matthew 21:34-36). [Note: Pentecost, The Parables . . ., pp139-40.] They announced the coming of the banquet and urged those whom God invited to it, the Jews, to prepare for it. However most of those who heard about it did not respond to the call to prepare for it. Several writers have taken this invitation as corresponding to the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus.

The fact that the king repeated his invitation and urged those who had previously shown no interest in attending demonstrates his grace and compassion. This was customary practice in the ancient Near East. The Greek word translated "dinner" (ariston) usually refers to the first of two meals that the Jews ate each day, most commonly near mid-morning. This was the first of many meals that the guests at this banquet would enjoy since wedding feasts usually lasted a week or so in the ancient Near East... The king emphasized the imminency of the feast as he sent out his servants again. This Isaiah, of course, what John and Jesus had been preaching as they urged the Jews to get ready for the kingdom. Some scholars took this invitation as one that the apostles issued after Jesus" ascension that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D70...

"A very important fact revealed in the parable is the fact that the offer of the kingdom was a genuine one. The kingdom in all of its reality was as prepared and near as was the feast of the parable."  The wedding feast is not the kingdom, however. It is the celebration at the beginning of the kingdom, the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).

The people the slaves of the king invited showed more interest in their own possessions and activities than they did in the banquet (John 1:12). They refused the invitation of their king that was both an honor and a command.

Some of those invited not only refused the gracious invitation but abused and even murdered the king"s servants. Enraged at their conduct the king sent his army, destroyed the murderers, and burned down their city. Burning down an enemy's city was a common fate of rebels in the ancient East. Here Jesus implied it would happen to Jerusalem again. It did happen in A.D70 when the Roman emperor Titus finally overcame the Jewish rebels and scattered them from Palestine. This was Jesus" first prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem.

The king did not begin the wedding feast then. He sent out more slaves to invite anyone to attend. The original guests were not worthy because they disregarded the king"s invitations. They failed to respond to his invitation to come freely. The king sent His slaves out into the "main highways" (NASB, Gr. tas diexodous ton hodon, lit. "street corners," NIV, places where people congregated) to invite everyone to the feast. His slaves went out into the streets and gathered everyone who would come, the evil and the good in the sight of men. Finally the wedding hall was full of guests.

"The calling of other guests now (still going on) takes the place of the first invitation-a new exigency and preparation being evolved-and the supper, until these guests are obtained... is postponed to the Second Advent."

The majority of the Jews were not worthy to attend the messianic banquet at the beginning of the kingdom because they rejected God"s gracious offer of entrance by faith in His Son. Therefore God"s slaves would go out into the whole world to invite as many as would to come, Jews and Gentiles alike. Jesus predicted that many, not just Jews but also Gentiles, would respond so when the kingdom began the great banquet hall would be as full as God intended.

The man who did not wear the proper wedding garment was unprepared for the banquet. In that culture the proper wedding garment was just clean clothes. He was there, whether evil or good because he had accepted the king"s gracious invitation. However he was subject to the king"s scrutiny. The king addressed his guest as a friend. He asked how he had obtained admission without the proper (clean) garment. The man was speechless due to embarrassment. Then the king gave orders to his servants (Gr. diakonois) to bind the man hand and foot like a prisoner and to cast him out of the banquet hall. They would throw him into the "outer darkness" (NASB) or "outside, into the darkness" (NIV). The place where he would go would be a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

It is probably significant that Jesus referred to the king"s slaves (Gr. douloi, as heralding the kingdom, but He said the king"s servants (Gr. diakonoi) evicted the unworthy guest. Evidently the slaves refer to the prophets and the servants to the angels.

These verses have spawned several different interpretations. One view is that the man who tries to participate in the banquet but gets evicted represents those whom God will exclude in the judgment that will take place before the kingdom begins. This view takes the man evicted as representing a Jew who hopes to gain entrance to the kingdom because he is a Jew. Since he does not have the proper clothing, the robe of righteousness, he cannot enter the kingdom. The lesson Jesus wanted to teach was that individual faith in Him, not nationality, was necessary for entrance. This view seems best to me...

A second view is that the man was at the banquet because he was a believer in Jesus. There the king upon careful examination discovered that he did not have the prerequisite righteousness. Therefore the king excluded him from the kingdom. In other words, he withdrew the man"s salvation. The problem with this view is that it involves the withdrawing of salvation. This view is untenable in view of Scripture promises that once God gives the gift of eternal life He never withdraws it.

A third view is that the loss of salvation is not in view, but the loss of eternal reward is. The man has eternal life. The wedding garment does not represent salvation but good works with which the believer should clothe himself in response to the demands God has on his or her life.

"There is no suggestion here of punishment or torment. The presence of remorse, in the form of weeping and gnashing of teeth, does not in any way require this inference. Indeed, what we actually see in the image itself is a man soundly "trussed up" out on the darkened grounds of the king"s private estate, while the banquet hall glows with light and reverberates with the joys of those inside. That is what we actually see. And that is all!

However the term "weeping and gnashing of teeth" as Jesus used it elsewhere seems to describe hell, the place where unbelievers go...This term was a common description of Gehenna, hell. The works just cited in parentheses are Hebrew pseudepigraphal and apocryphal books. 

Jesus concluded the parable with a pithy statement that explained it. Not all whom God has invited to the kingdom will participate in it. Only those who respond to God"s call and prepare themselves by trusting in Jesus will.

"Finally, the parable teaches that a general call does not constitute or guarantee election (v14). The Israelites took great pride in the fact that they as a nation possessed the kingdom promises. But this of itself did not mean each Jew was elected to it. Entrance was an individual responsibility, and that is what Christ is emphasizing in the last portion of the parable..." 

The point of these three parables is quite clear. God would judge Israel"s leaders because they had rejected Jesus, their Messiah. He would postpone the kingdom and allow anyone to enter it, not just the Jews as many of the Jews thought. The prophets had predicted that Gentiles would participate in the kingdom; this was not new revelation. However the Jews, because of national pride, had come to believe that being a Jew was all the qualification one needed to enter the kingdom. Jesus taught them that receiving God"s gracious invitation and preparing oneself by trusting in Him was the essential requirement for participation.

The Pharisees wanted to ensnare or entrap (Gr. pagideuo) Jesus by their question. Clearly their purpose was not simply to get Jesus" opinion on a controversial issue. It was to alienate Him from a major portion of the Jewish population or to get Him to lay Himself open to a charge of treason, depending on His answer, and to lose face.

The Pharisees had come into existence during the Babylonian exile. The word "Pharisee" means "separate one." During the Exile the Jews were in danger of assimilation by the Gentiles. The Pharisaic party began because the Jews wanted to maintain their distinctiveness from their pagan neighbors. This was a good thing then. However, as time passed and the Jews returned to the Promised Land, the Pharisees" separation became too much of a good thing. It resulted in isolation as those Jews built up traditions designed not just to keep the Mosaic Law but to enforce the rabbis" interpretations of the Law. The result was what we have seen in this Gospel, namely, Pharisaic devotion to the traditions of the elders that surpassed devotion to the Word of God.

The Herodians constituted a party within Judaism that favored cooperation with the Herods who ruled Israel under Rome"s authority. They supported the reigning Herods and their Proverbs -Roman policies. The Romans had deposed the Herod who ruled over Judea in A.D6, but Herods ruled other parts of Palestine. This position compromised Jewish independence and distinctiveness in the minds of many Jews including the Pharisees. Consequently it was very unusual that representatives from these two competing groups would unite in opposing Jesus. They rarely united on any subject, but both parties viewed Jesus as a threat to their individual interests.

3. Rejection by the Pharisees and the Herodians, 22:15-22

The dialogue continued in the temple courtyard. Israel"s leaders proceeded to confront Jesus three times attempting to show that He was no better than any other rabbi. Jesus responded with great Wisdom of Solomon, silenced His accusers with another question of His own, and disclosed His identity again in a veiled way.

"Jesus was going to die as the Lamb of God, and it was necessary for the lamb to be examined before Passover. If any blemish whatsoever was found on the lamb, it could not be sacrificed. Jesus was examined publicly by His enemies, and they could find no fault in Him." 

The unholy alliance introduced its question with a flattering preamble. The leaders credited Jesus with being a teacher or rabbi. Moreover they said they believed He spoke the truth and taught God's will truthfully. If Jesus failed to reply to their question after such an introduction, He would appear to be trying to hide something, perhaps because of pressure He felt. His integrity would be open to question.

Their question was theological since all such issues involved God"s will in Israel. They wanted to know how Jesus felt about their Roman overlords. Paying the poll or head tax was a kind of litmus test of one"s feelings toward Rome, as one's attitude toward paying taxes has indicated one"s attitude toward government throughout history. This was a particularly volatile issue in Israel since it was a theocracy. The poll tax was not objectionable because it was large. Really it was quite small. However it was almost universal, covering women between the ages of 12-65 and men between12-65. "Caesar," the family name of Julius Caesar, had become a title for Roman rulers by this time. The Roman emperor then was Tiberius. The accusers phrased their question to elicit a yes or no answer from Jesus. They thought that either answer would embroil Him in controversy.

"The poll tax had been among the taxes imposed on Judea following the imposition of direct Roman rule in A.D 6, not long before, and had been fiercely resented by patriotic Jews, resulting in a serious revolt led by Judas (Josephus, War 2117-18; Ant. 184-10). That revolt was the inspiration for the later Zealot movement which led to the war of independence beginning in A.D 66 and so to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of its temple in A.D 70." 

Jesus refused to give the yes or no answer they wanted. Instead He initially pointed out, for the benefit of the crowd standing around, that they were testing Him (Gr. peirazo, to demonstrate intrinsic quality by testing). This was a more gracious word than the one Matthew used to describe their real intent. Their question did not intimidate Jesus even though He perceived their malice, but He saw it as an opportunity to reveal His identity. They were hypocrites in that they came under a pretense of great respect, but they really had little respect for Him.

Jesus chose to answer on His own terms, not theirs. The coin that most people used to pay their Roman poll tax was a denarius, the value of which was one day"s wage for a workingman or soldier. This coin bore the image of the emperor and the inscription "Tiberius Caesar, son of the divine Augustus" on one side and "pontifex maximus" on the other. The Jews understood "pontifex maximus" (lit. chief bridge-builder) in the sense of high priest. Both inscriptions were offensive to the Jews. 

The fact that Jesus asked someone to give Him a denarius has led some readers to conclude that He was extremely poor. Others believe He did this because He and His disciples shared a common purse. Still others believe He was using a pedagogical technique. Whatever His reason may have been, we should probably not make much of it since Matthew did not.

Jesus" answer accorded with the Old Testament teaching that people should pay taxes to those over them, even pagans, because rulers ultimately owe their positions to God. He did not side with the Zealots, a party that sought the violent overthrow of Rome, or with any other group that wanted Messiah to bring immediate political independence to Israel.

"The questioners had said dounai ["to give"], as though of a gift which might be withheld; the Lord replies with apo dote ["render to"], the payment of a rightful due." 

However, Jesus also advocated rendering to God what belonged to Him. As the coin bore the emperor"s image and so testified to his ownership of it, so human beings bear God"s image and so testify to His ownership of them. God has an even more fundamental claim on people than Caesar did. The Jews should acknowledge Caesar's claim by paying their taxes, but what is more important they should acknowledge God's claim by obeying Him. This was a condemnation of Israel"s leaders who were not obeying God as well as an exhortation to all the people to follow God"s will. For them that involved believing in and following Jesus.

This incident shows Jesus" great wisdom and authority, the intensity of the leaders" opposition to Him, and how Jesus prepared His disciples for what lay ahead of them.

The Pharisees believed in resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees did not because they did not find it explicitly taught in the Pentateuch. They believed that both the material and the immaterial parts of man perish at death. There was much diverse opinion concerning death and the afterlife in Jesus" day. 

4. Rejection by the Sadducees 22:23-33: Sometime later that day another group of leaders approached Jesus with another question but with the same purpose: to trap Him in a theological controversy that would destroy His reputation.

The Sadducees also approached Jesus with hypocritical respect calling Him "teacher." They had evidently learned to appreciate Jesus" high regard for the Old Testament because they came to Him with a question of biblical interpretation. This is only the second recorded time that Jesus had come into public conflict with the Sadducees.

Levirate marriage was an ancient Near Eastern custom that antedated the Mosaic Law. The Law incorporated it and regulated it. This law encouraged the younger brother to marry his deceased brother's widow and have children by her. People considered the first child born to be the older brother's heir, and that child would perpetuate his name in Israel.

This was an unlikely question for Sadducees to ask since they did not believe in resurrection. Probably they knew that Jesus believed in resurrection and wanted to create what they thought was an impossible situation to embarrass Him...

The case they posited could have been a real one or, more likely, a hypothetical one. Their question presupposed that life the other side of the grave will be exactly as it is this side, in terms of human relationships. Since the woman had had seven husbands, whose wife would she be in the resurrection, or would she be guilty of incest? For the Sadducees, belief in resurrection created insuperable problems. Would Jesus deny the resurrection and so obviate the problem but alienate Himself even further from the Pharisees?

The Sadducees did not understand the Scriptures because the Scriptures taught resurrection (e.g, Psalm 16; et al.). They did not understand God's power because they assumed life after resurrection, in heaven, would be the same as it is now. They assumed that the resurrection would just involve an awakening, not a transformation. God is able to raise people to a form of existence unlike what we experience now.

In the resurrection form of existence, sexual relationships will be different from what they are now. Jesus was speaking of the resurrection life, not a particular resurrection event, as is clear from the Greek preposition en ("in," Matthew 22:30, not "at," NIV). Marriage relationships as we now know them will not exist after our resurrection. Jesus" reference to the angels was an additional correction of their theology since the Sadducees also denied the existence of angels.

Jesus did not say that in the resurrection state all memory of our former existence and relationships will end. This is a conclusion some interpreters have drawn without warrant. Neither did He say that we will become angels. We will not be. We will be like the angels.

"The greatness of the changes at the Resurrection will doubtless make the wife of even seven brothers capable of loving all and the object of the love of all-as a good mother today loves all her children and is loved by them." 

Jesus returned to what Scripture teaches (Matthew 22:29). He introduced His clarification with a customary rebuke, "Have you not read?". The passage He cited, Exodus 3:6, came from the Pentateuch, a part of the Hebrew Bible that the Sadducees treated with great respect.

God described Himself to Moses as then being the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was still their God even though they had died hundreds of years earlier. This statement implied the continuing bodily existence of the patriarchs. The logical conclusion is that if God will fulfill His promise to continue to be the God of the patriarchs He must raise them from the dead. Thus Jesus showed that the Pentateuch, the abbreviated canon of the Sadducees, clearly implied the reality of a future resurrection.

"The argument is not linguistic: "I am the God of Abraham" would be a perfectly intelligible way for God to identify himself as the God whom Abraham worshiped long ago. The argument is based rather on the nature of God"s relationship with his human followers: the covenant by which he binds himself to them is too strong to be terminated by their death." 

Matthew closed his account of this encounter by recording the reaction of the multitude, not the reaction of the Sadducees. Probably few of the Sadducees changed their theology as a result of this conversation since they continued to oppose Jesus. However the reaction of the crowd shows that Jesus" teaching had a powerful impact. To the unprejudiced observer, Jesus" arguments, authority, and understanding of the Old Testament were astonishing. Matthew undoubtedly hoped this would be the reaction of his readers too.

This pericope reveals the intensity of the opposition to Jesus that existed among Israel"s leaders. This was the third group to try to trap Him in one day. It also shows the guilt of Israel"s leaders since they did not understand either the Scriptures or God"s power. Jesus had spoken of people entering the kingdom after death (Matthew 22:10). To do so there would have to be a resurrection. Jesus also confirmed belief that the patriarchs would live in the kingdom by what He said. Thus Jesus" teaching about resurrection answered questions about participation in the kingdom because of its postponement. Not many in Jesus" immediate audience may have understood this, but Matthew"s readers could.

The Pharisees learned that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees. In other words, they learned that the Sadducees would no longer oppose Him publicly. Consequently the Pharisees decided to renew their attack against Him.

5. Rejection by the Pharisees 22:34-46

This pericope contains two parts. First, a representative of the Pharisees asked Jesus a question (Matthew 22:34-40). Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question (Matthew 22:41-46).

The NASB describes the Pharisees" spokesman as a lawyer. The Greek word nomikos means "expert in the law" (NIV). He would have been a teacher of the Old Testament who was particularly learned in both theology and law. He subjected Jesus to a test (Gr. peirazon) to prove His quality.

Hebrews, too, addressed Jesus with hypocritical respect as "teacher," though as the discussions with Jesus progressed this day His opponents" respect for Him undoubtedly increased. The Pharisee asked Jesus another controversial question to which various Scripture experts gave various answers.

"The scene is like an ordination council where the candidate is doing so well that some of the most learned ministers ask him questions they themselves have been unable to answer--in the hope of tripping him up or of finding answers." 

The rabbis documented 613 commandments in the Mosaic Law, 248 positive and 365 negative. Since no one could possibly keep them all, they divided them into "heavy" (more important) and "light" (less important). The Pharisees taught that the Jews needed to give attention to all the laws but particularly the "heavy" ones. This Pharisee was asking which of the "heavy" ones Jesus considered the "heaviest."

To answer, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and then Leviticus 19:18. The terms "heart," "soul," and "mind" are not completely distinct, watertight categories. They overlap somewhat and together cover the whole person. Taken together the meaning is that we should love God preeminently and unreservedly.

"Jesus loves God with his whole heart, for he is blameless in his fealty to God (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus loves God with his whole soul, for he is prepared to surrender his life should God so will (Matthew 26:36-46). And Jesus loves God with his whole mind, for he lays claim for himself neither to the prerogatives of worldly power [cf. Matthew 20:25Matthew 20:28; Matthew 21:5] nor to the security of family, home, and possessions ( Matthew 8:20; Matthew 12:50)." 

The "and" in Matthew 22:38 is explicative. The one command is great because it is primary.

The second greatest command is similar to the first in character and quality (Matthew 22:39). It also deals with love (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13). We should love our fellowman unselfishly (cf. 1 John 3:17-18)...

The writer just quoted went on to discuss why it is inappropriate hermeneutically to argue from this command that one needs to learn to love himself or herself before he or she can love someone else.

The rest of the Old Testament hangs from or flows out of these two commandments. All the other laws deal with specific applications of one or the other of these two commands. The prophets consistently stressed the importance of heart reality with God and genuine love for one"s neighbor. Without these two commandments the Old Testament lacks unifying summaries. These are the most important commandments, but they are not the only ones.

"Mark includes the clause "... is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33). Matthew omits this since it might offend his [unsaved] Jewish reader, and the point is well made without it." 

This declaration prepared for Jesus" denunciation of the religious leaders in Matthew 23:1-36.

"Jesus had now answered three difficult questions. He had dealt with the relationship between religion and government, between this life and the next life, and between God and our neighbors. These are fundamental relationships, and we cannot ignore our Lord"s teachings. But there is a question more fundamental than these, and Jesus asked it of His enemies." 

Having received several questions from His critics, Jesus now turned the tables and asked the Pharisees one. He wanted them to explain what the Scriptures taught about Messiah. This would face them and the crowd with who He really was. The real issue was Christological, not taxes, resurrection, or even the greatest commandment.

Jesus broached the subject of Messiah's identity by asking whose son He was (Matthew 22:42). This was perhaps "the most familiar subject in their theology, that of the descent of Messiah." The Pharisees gave a standard correct answer based on Old Testament passages (2 Samuel 7:13-14Isaiah 11:1Isaiah 11:10Jeremiah 23:5). He was David"s son or descendant (cf. Matthew 1:1Matthew 9:27-28; et al.). However it was not the full answer.

Jesus had previously asked His disciples a similar question about His identity (Matthew 16:13;  Matthew 16:15). Peter, for the disciples, had given the proper full answer (Matthew 16:16). That response led to commendation (Matthew 16:17-21). The Pharisees improper response here led to condemnation (ch23). Everything hinges on one's view of Jesus.

Jesus' question of the Pharisees 22:41-46 (cf. Mark 12:35-37Luke 20:41-44)

Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees' answer contained a problem. How could Messiah be David's son if David called Him his Lord? Jesus referred to Psalm 110, the most frequently quoted Old Testament chapter in the New Testament. This was a psalm that David wrote, as is clear from the superscription. Jesus regarded it as He regarded all the Old Testament, namely, inspired by the Holy Spirit ( Matthew 22:43; cf. Acts 4:25Hebrews 3:7Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 10:151 Peter 1:21). Jesus assumed that Psalm 110 was Davidic and Messianic, and the Pharisees agreed. He referred to the psalm"s inspiration here to reinforce its correctness in the minds of His hearers. David had not made a mistake when he wrote this. The "right hand" is the position of highest honor and authority (cf. Matthew 19:28).

There is good evidence that almost all Jews in Jesus' day regarded Psalm 110 as messianic.  Jesus' point was that Messiah was not just David"s descendant, but He was God"s Son also. This is a point that Matthew stressed throughout his Gospel (chs1-2;  Matthew 3:17;  Matthew 8:20Matthew 17:5; et al.). Jesus was bringing together the concepts that Messiah was the human son of David and the divine Son of God.

Moreover this quotation also shows the preexistence of Messiah. David's Lord was alive when David lived. Furthermore it reveals plurality within the Godhead. One divine person spoke to another.

The psalm pictured Messiah at God's right hand while His enemies were hostile to Him. However, Messiah would crush that hostility eventually. This is precisely the eschatological picture that has been unfolding throughout this Gospel. Rejected by His own, Jesus would return to the Father, but He would return later to earth to establish His kingdom. The Jewish rabbis after Jesus' time interpreted David's lord as Abraham, not Messiah.

This question silenced the public criticism of Jesus" critics permanently. The confrontation had ended. His enemies could not escape the logical consistency of Jesus" biblical arguments. Rather than submitting to His authority, as they should have (cf. Matthew 21:23), they plotted His destruction.

"Defeated in debate, the leaders withdraw from Jesus in the temple, just as Satan, also defeated by Jesus in debate, had earlier withdrawn from him (Matthew 4:11)." 

Matthew 22:46 finishes off this entire sub-section of the Gospel ( Matthew 21:23 to  Matthew 22:46). Israel had rejected her King. Jesus had predicted this rejection ( Matthew 21:18-22). It resulted from the series of confrontations with Israel's leaders that happened on a single Wednesday in the temple courtyard. Now the King would formally reject the nation, but not permanently in view of the promises to the patriarchs.

Additional Commentary: The Parable of the Wedding Feast


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February 20, 2021. April 17, 2023.