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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 22

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-14

  1. Intro: RSVP - Please Reply [Répondez (ray-PON-day) s'il vous plaît]
    1. I was reading the Top 10 Wedding Invitation Etiquette Questions Answered. I’ll read 3.
      1. We're having an adults-only wedding (no kids). How can we make sure this is clear to our guests? How do we let guests know our dress code? I invited my friend and her boyfriend (by name on the invite) to the wedding, but they recently broke up. Now she wants to bring a friend I don't like - can I tell her no? I added a 4th, When you pay $30-50 a plate for a family of 5, that RSVP yes, & they are a no show, can you send them a bill?
      2. Wedding planning can get difficult. Who to invite? Who to not invite? Who can sit by who at the tables? etc. a) Well, when God planned a wedding, He had just as many problems.
    2. Parable of the Wedding Feast.
  2. 3RD PARABLE (1)
    1. (1) This is a 3rd parable in a series of 3.
      1. Again this was spoken in Jesus’ last week on earth, as he experienced hostility from the Pharisees, Chief Priests, & Elders.
    1. ​​​​​​​The Gospel is a glorious festival in honor of that wondrous marriage, by which God & man are made one. [truly, a match made in heaven]
    2. Note: the King made all the arrangements, not his wife, not the son, but the king.
      1. Note also it’s about His Son’s wedding...the bride is never mentioned. Here comes the groom! [Rev.19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready]
    3. This world has put on some opulent weddings - Than Shwe (Myanmars Junta up till 2011). Daughters wedding 40-50 mill. Outcry when 10 min video leaked to Youtube. Esp when less than $1 a year is spent on healthcare pp, per year.D. Read Esther 1:1-9 nlt - Now thats a banquet! Now, can you imagine God putting one on.
  4. SAVE THE DATE (3) The 1st Invitation (a general invitation)
    1. It was a special invitation from the King Himself.
      1. A Royal Invitation was equivalent to a Royal Command.
      2. If disobeyed, the refuser’s would suffer the consequences.
    2. The Jews were highly honored in being chosen out of all the nations of the earth to attend the wedding of the Kings Son.
      1. Note: not that they could not come, they would not come. [they were not willing]
    3. The custom was 2 invites:
      1. The 1st asked guests to attend. Usually it was issued suddenly.
      2. The 2nd announced all was ready.
        1. Just like when Ahasuerus & Haman were invited by Esther to a feast, and then when it was ready the kings chamberlains went to get Haman (5:8; 6:14).
  5. DINNER IS SERVED (4) The 2nd Invitation
    1. The king continued to make preparations for the wedding.
    2. The big day came, so He sent them out again to remind them they were invited to the banquet.
      1. Oh, what a Patient King .... another opportunity.
    3. All things are ready - This parable echo’s Wisdom’s invitation in Prov.9:2-5 She (wisdom) has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. 3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. 4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, 5 “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed.
      1. ​​​​​​​Don’t you get frustrated when you prepare a hot meal & your family doesn’t come right away. (It’s getting cold!)
  6. HEAVEN CAN WAIT (5,6) The Kings Actions met Reactions
    1. ​​​​​​​The bulk of the Jewish race gave small heed to Apostolic Preaching.
      1. They went their ways...not the Kings way...not The way.
        1. Carnal men, love carnal things. They are earthbound.
    2. They made light - to neglect, to be unconcerned. [some hostile, some indifferent]
      1. They blew off their RSVP.
      2. Some might have doubted the truth of it. Some might have just ignored it.
      3. Others maybe had strained ruler/subject relationships. Others flat out just refused to attend. Others took it to another level by being disrespectful & even killing the kings messengers.
        1. Have you made light of God’s love for you?
        2. Are you more concerned w/your home/farm than w/the things of God?
        3. Is your business, stocks, or trade consuming you?
        4. Have you been accused of being married to your work?
    3. (6) And killed them - Stephen was the 1st martyr of the truth after the Lord’s crucifixion, & by no means the last.
      1. If the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, the holy land was plentifully sown w/it in the early days of Christianity.
  7. REJECTION = DESTRUCTION (7) Rejection = Destruction
    1. ​​​​​​​Israel’s rejection of the Invitation led to the destruction of Jerusalem.
      1. The siege of Jerusalem, the massacre of the people, & the destruction of the capital were all described. [those that were interested in the farm, bought the farm]
        1. The Roman Emperor Vespasian thought he was sending his armies against the Jews; but he was unconsciously, working out the eternal purpose of the most high God
        2. As God did w/both Assyria & Babylon, using them to punish Israel in the past.
    2. We not only see the incredible Love of the King in this parable, but also His incredible Wrath.
      1. Look at the descriptive words: vs.7 furious, destroyed, burned up. Vs.13 bind him, take him away, cast him into outer darkness, weeping/gnashing of teeth)
      2. As deep as His Love reaches...It’s the same depth His Wrath will stretch.
        1. God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deut. 4:24)
  8. OPEN INVITE (8-10) In Wrath Remember Mercy Hab.3:2
    1. Read 21:43 taken and given to a nation…
    2. The door opens to the Gentiles .... the wider commission.
    3. Highways - The place where a street cuts through the city boundary & goes into the open country. LKGNT
    4. As many as you find - this indicates no limits to the invite.
      1. The King is a picture of benevolence & this portrays the mercy & love of God extended to sinners.
      2. He wants all to come to His feast. And that Invitation is still open today.
    5. (10) Your either a missionary or a mission field.
    6. Good & bad - It’s the gathering of the visible church.
      1. It’s the tares growing alongside the wheat. It’s the wheat & chaff lying on the same floor together. It’s the dross will be mingled w/precious gold. It’s the goats getting in among the sheep. It’s the Gospel net enclosing fish of every kind, both bad & good.
    7. Happy guests - Wow, out of the streets & into the palace...can you imagine?
      1. ​​​​​​​Spurgeon said, The beggar was taken from the dunghill to sit w/princes in the presence of the king.
      2. Guests = reclining guests.
  9. NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE (11-13) Missed It By That Much
    1. ​​​​​​​The garment symbolizes the wearer has been forgiven, his sins have been covered, & he is a member of the household of God thru Christ.
      1. Like Lk.15:22 But the father said to his servants, bring out the best robe and put it on him. [this guys decided to keep on his sweats]
      2. By wearing the wedding garment furnished by the King, no one reveals poverty or misery. [eg. Dal Rae, coat & tie to use]
        1. Rev.19:10 why did John fall down, what did he just say?
        2. Rev.19:7-9
          1. God’s beautiful balance of Man’s responsibility & God’s sovereignty.
            1. Man’s Responsibility…she has made herself ready. (7).
            2. God’s Sovereignty…to her it was granted (8).
          2. Her wedding gown is…her righteous acts.
            1. We seem to get a white garment at salvation, which is from Him. Then we make a dress on top of it, where every good work is another stitch in the making of our wedding dress. [The 1st salvation; the 2nd sanctification]
          3. Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
      3. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This man was worse than those who had refused the invitation; for while he professed to accept it, he only came that he might insult the King to his face.
        1. God has foes w/o & w/in the Church.
      4. Why did he come in?
        1. For some temporary benefit? In hopes to catch a glimpse of the King or His Son? For the desire to belong to a group? To be around good people? To taste of the Kings caviar, sushi, or Turkish Delights?
      5. Note to self...be sure not to wear your self-righteousness (Is.64:6 all our rt is as filthy rags). Let Him provide the garment of His righteousness. Is.61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
    2. ​​​​​​​(12) Not everyone remains in the wedding hall. Only those who accept the Kings invitation AND enter the palace on His terms, may stay.
      1. Speechless - muzzled. But still not dropping to his knees.
      2. Woe to any w/o the wedding garment.
      3. This man insulted the king in His own palace, & showed disobedience to the royal requirements.
    3. (13) Cast him... - cast him away, as men throw weeds over the garden wall (eg. I remember as a kid taking the pool net & just shaking it over the wall [MVHS]. And worse, flinging dog poop over the wall as well).
    4. Outer darkness - i.e. away from the banquet hall, where it is lit up brightly by torches & lamps.
      1. It is all the more darker to them, because they had seen the light [like going from a brightly lit room, into pitch black].
  10. THE FEW THE PROUD THE REDEEMED (14) Called & Chosen
    1. ​​​​​​​The masses miss the wedding feast, & a few choice spirits find it, only by God’s grace.
    2. Called - not, the called.
      1. He was speaking of the Jews. This man w/o the robe. And those who were called to the feast but rejected the invite.
    3. Chosen - All who...respond, good & bad, from the highways & byways, who received the wedding gown, those who would recline w/Him, those who rendered due honor to the wedding of His Son.
      1. ​​​​​​​Like, the children of Israel: many were called out of Egypt, few were chosen to enter.
      2. Like, those of Gideon’s army. All were called, but only 300 were chosen.
      3. 3. Like, the 12 sent into spy out the land, only 2 were chosen (Caleb & Joshua).
    4. Wrap Up:
    5. A fugitive is one who is running away from home.
      A vagabond is one who has no home.
      A stranger is one who is away from home.
      A pilgrim is one who is on the way home.
      1. This morning it doesn't matter if you are a fugitive, a vagabond, a stranger or a pilgrim. You are invited to the finest banquet ever prepared.
      2. I’m not asking you to leave your worries and troubles behind, because you’ll probably just try to pick them up on your way out and be burdened by them again. Instead, leave them here at the foot of His cross. Living unburdened through faith in Christ.
      3. This banquet has been prepared just for you, by the Son of God. You are the guest of honor. RSVP - Please Reply Répondez (ray-PON-day) s'il vous plaît

Verses 15-46

  1. Intro: Dual Citizenship
    1. Remember how a few days before Passover, the lambs would be examined to make sure they were not blemished. (Sheep Gate, N temple mnt) [from orig Passover, Ex12:5]
      1. Well, its a few days before Jesus’ last Passover on earth & God the Father allows His Son,The Passover Lamb, to be examined for any blemish.
      2. Peter tells us we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Pet.1:19a) w/o spot inside (in itself). w/o blemish i.e. outside (contracted by contact w/others).
      3. The examiners?...none other than the religious party leaders of that day.
      4. The examination?... 3 complicated questions.
        1. Dr. Suess, Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. We’ll see that here. 3 complicated questions, 3 simple answers.
    2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Outline: Pharisees & Herodians ask A Political Question: Pay taxes?
      Some Sadducees ask A Hypothetical Question: Whose wife?
      A Scribe asks The Real Question: #1 commandment?
      Then Jesus asks A Personal Question: Who is the Christ?
  2. A POLITICAL QUESTION (15-22) Pay Taxes?
    1. ​​​​​​​Its hard to imagine Taxes being controversial :)
      1. This Tribute Tax were paid only by those conquered, not by Roman citizens.
      2. Pharisees – were strict separatist Jews, totally opposed to Roman rule.
      3. Herodians –were a Jewish political party, who sympathized with w/Rome.
      4. Sadducees –were a Jewish sect were more concerned with politics than religion, and worked hard to keep the peace by agreeing & sympathizing with the decisions of Rome.
        1. Pharisees (extreme right wingers). Herodians/Sad (extreme left wingers).
    2. Entangle – catch, to ensnare, to take by hunting or fishing.
    3. (16) Listen to their flattery.
      1. They call him teacher but have not intention of learning anything from Him.
      2. Flattery - Jesus wouldn’t fall for it for a minute.
        1. According to Hindu law, lying is only justified in 2 cases: In saving a person’s life, & in paying a compliment to a lady. :)
        2. Jesus surely didn’t take these as compliments but only as a set-up.
    4. (19-21) Denarius – a silver coin used to pay the Poll Tax (Introduced by the Romans in 6ad; a constant reminder they were a subject people).
    5. On this coin: [note V = U]
      1. [obverse/front] The image of emperor Tiberius Caesar & the abbrev inscription. Ti[berivs] Caesar Divi Avg[vsti] F[ilivs] Avgvstvs. Caesar Augustus Tiberius, son of the Divine Augustus.
      2. [reverse/back] His mother Livia. PONTIF MAXIM Chief Priest
      3. To reveal their hypocrisy Jesus ask them to produce one. (You are carrying one around. Tell me His name) [Not going to call him Augustus = The revered One. Not going to call him Divi Filius: The Son of God. Not going to call him Tiberias: He was such a wicked Emperor. So the most neutral...Caesar]
    6. Jesus was able to move the discussion from politics to principle.
    8. If this coin bears his picture & name, it must belong to him. And whatever belongs to him you should give back to him.
      1. Render = give back, or pay back (a moral obligation).
      2. He taught that taxes are a debt. Give back to Uncle Sam or Uncle Caesar.
      3. This strong word render then infers taxes being the citizens’ debt to the government in return for services rendered.
    9. Today this is still heralded as “one of the single most influential political statements ever made in the history of the world.”
      1. It was actually decisive & determinative in shaping Western civilization.
    10. What bears Caesars image belongs to him. What bears God’s image belongs to Him.
      1. Caesar’s image was on the coin. God’s image is on man.
      2. This helps order & prioritize the believer’s allegiances in this life.
    12. He reminds them of a greater responsibility. Our 1st allegiance is to God.
    13. Erasmus, “Give back to God that which has the image & superscription of God…the soul.”
    14. We bear His image
      1. ​​​​​​​Believers we all have been minted in heaven. All humans are made in the image of God. We are God’s coin.
      2. 2 Cor.1:22 He set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts.
      3. As I said last week, even though man has distorted this image by sin, YET we still maintain the status.
    15. But do we bear His signature on our hearts?
      1. Ancient wax seal. Owner would take His ring & press it into hot wax.
      2. So the H.S. does with believers. He warms us, makes us impressionable, & then presses His image, His character into us.
      3. Now not only an “H”(Human) impressed upon us; but now at salvation the H.S. has further pressed another “H” upon our souls (His). :)
  3. A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION (23-33) Whose Wife?
    1. ​​​​​​​(23) Now the Sadducees turn.
      1. I believe they think they can take this country bumpkin from Galilee.
      2. They thought they’d publicly show how ridiculous this idea of a res was.
      3. They didn’t believe in: the existence of the soul, life after death, resurrection, final judgment, angels, or demons. (Acts 23:8)
    2. (24) 1st they site the Levirate marriage custom in Deut.25:5.
      1. Basically, if a man dies childless, his brother was to marry the widow. Then the 1st child would legally become the heir of the deceased father. Thus the family line would not die out.
    3. (25-28) This was probably said sarcastically.
      1. It seemed like a perfect argument, as most arguments are...that are based on hypothetical situations.
      2. Resurrection is not the restoration of life as we know it; it is the entrance into a new life that is different. Warren Wiersbe, pg.117
      3. See, they made the fundamental mistake of measuring the life of heaven by the life of earth. But things are very different there.
    4. (29) Jesus rebukes these proud sophisticated religionists.
      1. They should have known both the Scriptures & the Power of God.
      2. They failed to notice Moses did teach on life after death. (vs.26; Ex.3:6)
    5. (30) Like angels – Jesus didn’t say we would become angels or be like angels in everything.
      1. We will be sexless like the angels. (i.e. marriage will not exist)a) If no death in the afterlife, then no need for the propagation of the human race.
      2. Whatever has been good & valuable here on earth will be enriched in heaven.
        1. Ps.16:11 In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
        2. In heaven there is no reduction of love. We will be ourselves at our ultimate best. We will be more capable of loving than ever before. We will be like Jesus.
      3. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​It is always a mistake to create heaven in the image of earth.
    6. (31,32) The Sadducees demanded scriptural proofs for doctrines…but they held primarily only to the books of Moses as their religious authority.
      1. So Jesus quoted from Exodus 3:6. (Since there was no ch. & vs., He refers to it as a the burning bush passage Mrk12:26)
      2. Key – is in the words “I am” not “I was”. I am the God of Abraham…
      3. Origen, “It is ridiculous for God to say that He is the God of men who have no existence.”
    7. ​​​​​​​He makes the application.
      1. Their problem was that they had no vital relationship w/God, just a dead ritual.
      2. When you’ve experienced the resurrection of your own former dead spirit now alive, it’s easy to believe in the resurrection of the body later. me
  4. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​THE REAL QUESTION (34-40) #1 commandment?
    1. ​​​​​​​(36) Which – of what kind is the 1st commandment of all?
      1. The rabbis divided the 613 precepts of the law (248 commands & 365 prohibitions) into weighty & light. Which command was more important?
      2. This came from a Scribal mind game of the day of trying to reduce their religion to a single axiom.
        1. As for example: when Rabbi Hillel was promised by a Gentile that he would convert if Hillel could give him the whole Law while he stood on one foot.
        2. Hillel answered w/a version of the Golden rule: “What you yourself hate, do not do to your neighbor this is the whole law – the rest is commentary. Go & learn it.”
        3. This is the kind of answer this Scribe was looking for from this brilliant Jesus.
    2. (37-31) Jesus’ reply was the Shema (Deut.6:4,5) which every pious Jew repeated twice a day.
      1. It 1st pointed to the Unity of Deity, The Lord our God is one Lord; & then to man’s chief obligation, to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, & strength (or, w/all’s one being)
        1. Everything devoted to loving God. It does not take much of a man to be a believer, but it takes all there is of him.
      2. ​​​​​​​Lenin implementer of Communism in the Soviet Union, while meeting w/a small group of people in London early 1900's set down these 4 Totals: [1] Total acceptance of the cause [2] Total dedication to the cause [3] Total discipline in the cause [4] Total action for the cause.
        1. What was terrible for the cause of communism; is beautiful to the cause of Christianity.
      3. So exactly how do you Love God this way? Press meaning into virtually every action of your day. See not only meaning but also purpose in your labor.
        1. Flip your pancakes to the glory of God. Drive your car like you’re chauffeuring Jesus. Maintain God’s presence within, by the communion of your heart with Him. Don’t make your life complicated or religious. Be authentic, be sincere, be the regenerated you...as you are being conformed into His image.
    3. For good measure he added a 2nd one, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
      1. A total love for God & a sensitive love for others is the essence of a life that pleases God.
    4. In Marks gospel, the Scribe was favorably impressed. (Mark12:32-34)
      1. He was beginning to get a deeper spiritual understanding of the faith he thought he understood.
      2. He was a thinking man, an honest man. He was not a coward. He faced head-on the implications that the love of God is the highest priority.
    5. (Mrk12:34) He was not far from the kingdom of heaven? – means he’s facing truth honestly & is not interested in defending a party line or even personal prejudice.
      1. His attitude was right & his heart was open.
      2. Jesus words were deliberately ambiguous to make him think further, & hopefully turn interest into commitment, admiration into discipleship.
        1. The great danger for this person is that though they are not far from the kingdom, they are not in it. Almost saved is altogether lost.
          1. It’s the man who was almost able to reach & grab the life preserver…but drowned instead.
          2. It is being in the kingdom that saves the soul, not being near the it.
  5. A PERSONAL QUESTION (41-46) Who is the Christ?
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus’ turns the tables and questions them.
    2. Watch Logic on Fire. You don’t hear Jesus give a just believe teaching here. Instead, it is come let us reason together.
    3. Jesus challenges them to think again…
      1. He quotes from Ps.110 (the Psalm most frequently quoted in the NT).
      2. He steps on their self-proclaimed superiority of the Scriptures.
      3. How can Messiah be both David’s son (& therefore inferior) & also David’s Lord (& therefore superior)?
      4. In Jesus’ day a descendant was always inferior to an ancestor.
      5. How can Christ be both David’s Lord & his descendant?
        1. A: Only a Christ who is both fully human & fully Divine can be both Lord & descendant.
        2. Paul said it plainly, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power. Rom.1:3
      6. Poem:
        If Christ is not divine, Go seal again the tomb;
        Take down the cross, Redemption’s sign,
        Quench all the stars of hope that shine,
        And let us turn & travel on
        Across the night that knows no dawn. Walter A. Maier
    4. Personal question...what do you think about the Christ?
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 22". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/matthew-22.html. 2017.
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