-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!
-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 of their 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 authority as given by the Lord and work within it to do the things God has called us to. Subjection to God and government 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.
-The Sadducees were a group who derived their power from their involvement in Temple activities and went strictly by the teachings of the Pentateuch had come up with the notion that there is no resurrection of the dead, which was a false teaching Jesus had to correct as they questioned in what they thought was an ingenious way. The Lord actually used their Pentateuch (the five books of the Law of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) to enlighten them on their misconception and bad theology. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. The Sadducees neither knew the Scriptures nor the power of God, which Jesus told them. And, He used the grammar of the Word to refute their doctrine using the burning bush experience with Moses (Exodus 3:1-15). He “is” the God of these patriarchs; as opposed to He “was” the God of them. *Application* How often do we negate the Scriptures in our own lives to follow a particular philosophy or doctrine that may be totally false. Pay attention to the direct and simple grammar of His message to you for clarity and theological instruction. Know your God well, and don’t be deceived in any way.
-When the Pharisees saw that Jesus had sided with their position of the resurrection in His encounter with the Sadducees, they soften perhaps for a moment and tested Him with another question that they were in unity with Him as it turned out. When one asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered with the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-6) to love the LORD with everything and the command in Leviticus 19:18 to love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets’ teachings (Matthew 22:40). The scribe recognized that to follow these two commands were more important than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices because these commands were to be followed from the heart and was not an exterior expression. This led Jesus to comment that this person was not far from the Kingdom of God (Mark 12:34). This scribe had gotten the point and was near salvation. *Application* It really does come down to the matter of love, which is the most excellent gift (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love the LORD your God with everything you have and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself and you will find that you are fulfilling every Law of God in fullness. This is simple, but difficult to keep due to our own selfish nature. Only in the transformation that comes from Christ and His Spirit living in us can we really carry out these commands and fulfill the Law of Christ (Galatians 2:16-21; 6:2, Philippians 3:9). Love God and love people! To do that means that you must give up on pleasing yourself as top priority, but this is where real life begins!
-In the Temple area Jesus asks the question to the Pharisees and all gathered around what they thought about the Christ and whose Son He was. When they replied that He was the Son of David, Jesus takes the opportunity to show them that the Messiah was actually David’s Lord as David wrote in the Spirit in Psalms 110:1. They were stunned and silenced by the Word’s of Jesus on this point and dared not ask Him anymore questions for they realized His mastery of the Scriptures and His wisdom. He had passed every test they could hurl at Him and then some. He attempted to teach them properly theology so that they might recognize Him as Lord and Savior themselves, but sadly most of them never accepted Him for fear of man and being cast out of the synagogue. They missed the King and His Kingdom to keep tradition and follow misguided teachers and leaders. *Application* Do you realize who Jesus actually is? Do you accept Him as the Lord and Savior of the universe, God’s only begotten Son with whom He is well pleased to give as a sacrifice for our redemption and reconciliation with Himself? Trust in Christ for salvation today if you have not already. The time will come when it will be too late and the day of your visitation will be over. Behold today is the day of decision (Isaiah 49:8; 55:6, 2 Corinthians 6:2).
Verse to Memorize: Matthew 22:14