142. The wedding feast and wedding garment- Matt. 22:1-14
-Here in this parable comparing the Kingdom of Heaven, which again exposed the unrighteousness of the Pharisees, Jesus explains how the invited guests refused to come to the wedding feast, and how one who was at the feast had no wedding garment (a picture of Christ’s righteousness, Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 3:5, 2 Corinthians 5:2-4, Galatians 3:27). We see the invitation of the king over and over, but excuses are made and apathetic responses are given. Servants after servants are sent to bring exciting and good news, but they paid no attention, went off to their farms and businesses, treated the messengers shamefully, and even killed them (Matthew 22:5-6). This rejection gave cause for others to be invited in both good and bad, so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
-The man who had no wedding garment is a difficult interpretation and bears some consideration. First, let us consider the facts. He was questioned as to how he got in without a wedding garment. He was speechless and had no answer. He was bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. He, as there will be many (in fact all, Acts 15:17, 2 Peter 3:9), was called, but not chosen (“eklektos”, selected, Matthew 22:14). Now, let us consider what this means. We can say that proper wedding attire was still expected by all the guests. There is evidence that in the ancient world a king would supply all of his guests with the proper attire (Genesis 45:22, Esther 6:8-9) and God does the same for His people (Ezekiel 16:10-13). Thus by not wearing the garments provided, this guest highly insulted the host and received just banishment. We should then conclude that the garments refer to the righteousness of Christ that must be “put on” for the acceptance into the Kingdom of Heaven (Romans 13:14). Works will not get us there; it is receiving what the Lord has provided that will make the difference. The Pharisees were complacent in thinking they didn’t need the Savior, content in their good works, which Jesus is correcting them on if any were observant enough to pay attention to His wisdom and instruction. *Application* We have been graciously invited to the best wedding feast of all time (Revelation 19:7-9). God will clothe us in His righteousness as His bride for an everlasting union in paradise, but we must accept it for ourselves. Don’t be left speechless when the King of kings asks where your garments are. Put on Christ and His righteousness for the proper covering. Amen!
Verse to Memorize- Matthew 22:14
143. Paying tribute (tax) to Caesar- Matt. 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26
-The Pharisees and Herodians (a loosely organized group who promoted Herod’s political and economic influence) approached Jesus for the sole purpose of trapping Him in His words so that they might deliver Him to the government authorities for persecution. The plan was to have Him choose one authority over the other, thereby exposing His allegiance to the other’s chagrin. Jesus brilliantly rightly divides authority lines between what has ordained on earth and what God expectations are from His Kingdom.
-Some observations, even though they were in pretense, are noteworthy here. Jesus was said to be true to the LORD, impartial, not caring about anyone’s opinion, or swayed by their appearances. This represents His fear of His Father and His obedience to Him rather than fearing the people, which is a major Scriptural theme.
-Christ Jesus rightly gives authority its proper place. The Lord sets up governments and we are expected to follow in subjection to them to live peaceful lives in the propagation of the Gospel of the Heavenly Kingdom within the context of human institutions (Romans 12:18; 13:1-7). *Application* Whereas it is true that we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29), the general practice is to obey their authority as given by the Lord and work within it to do the things God has called us to. It can usually be a both/and situation as we proclaim the impartial truth of His grace and mercy in Kingdom work not fearing people or being swayed by their opinions.
Verse to Memorize- Mark 12:17