Matthew 22

2 Here is the symbolism: God is the king, Jesus is the son, and the bride is the Christian Church.
3 The guests had already been invited, which means they had advance notice of the wedding. We may think it rude and even arrogant to ignore an invitation from the king. Even if the people did not like the king, their unwillingness to accept the invitation shows a great lack of respect.

The slaves are the prophets of God. All throughout Scripture God has invited people to join Him in His kingdom. He has given the world notice that He will destroy evil and sin through the work of His Son. Sadly, most people ignore God's message.

4 The king is persistent and promises the people a great banquet if they come.

In the same way, God has patiently and persistently asked people to come to Him and has promised that eternal life with Him would be a rich blessing.

5 Despite the enticing description, most people were indifferent about the wedding and felt that their own lives and businesses were more important than the king's was.
6 Other people became hostile to the messengers. Perhaps they were tired of hearing the invitation or so disliked the king that they felt if they could get rid of the messengers they could get rid of the king.

All throughout history those people who took a stand for God and Jesus have faced a hostile world. Even today Christians are hated and killed only because they proclaim the Good News of love and life in Jesus.

7 As one might expect, the king took offense and destroyed those people who showed Him such hostility. They thought they were more powerful than the king was, but they were wrong.

In the same way, when God decides the time has come, He will judge the world and will destroy those who ignored Him or tried to fight against Him. Since He created the universe, it should not be surprising that He has the power and authority to do this.

8 Here, merit is based on the willingness of the guests to attend.

It would be an embarrassment for the king if his banquet was not well attended, so he once again sends out his slaves to find any and everyone who is willing to come.

In the same way, God is proclaiming His message not just to His chosen people or to those who have great fame in the world, but to every person.

10 The people who came to the wedding were given clean wedding garments to replace their worn, tattered, and dirty clothing.

In the same way, God takes our sinful lives and exchanges them for good lives. God does not ask us to become good before we come to Him because He knows that would be impossible. He asks us to come, and then He will make us good.

11 As the king looked to see how the feast was going he noticed someone who was wearing street cloths instead of wedding garments.
12 When this man was confronted he could not think of a defense. There are several possible reasons why the man was not wearing wedding garments. Perhaps he received the garment but refused to wear it. He may have also sneaked in the back door or arrived after the appropriate time to receive the garment.
13 Whatever the case, the king pronounces judgement on him and throws him out of the wedding feast.

As was said before, when people come to God they can not become good first, but if they only pretend to listen to God and do not obey Him then they can not expect to please Him. God can not be fooled, and there is no way to sneak into heaven.

14 This is an interesting comment for those who believe "predestination" means that God predetermines who will enter heaven in a fatalistic manner. Remember that those who received the special, personalized invitations rejected the call and were later destroyed. God has expanded the call to anyone who is willing to come and to behave appropriately at the feast. Thus, those who are willing to accept the invitation are "the chosen." This does not mean that God does not already know who will and will not come, but it does mean that He has given us "free will" to accept or refuse Him.
15 The Pharisees were insulted by the parable because they knew that they were the symbolic people who refused the wedding invitation. They may have convinced themselves that such an accusation was treason against them and God and required that Jesus must be executed. Thus, they unwittingly continue to play the role of the "bad guys" in the parable.
16 Under Roman occupation, only the Roman authorities had the right to execute people. The Jews wanted to set a trap for Jesus in which He might say something that could be considered treason against Rome -- an executable offense.

Here we see a great irony. The Pharisees strongly desired an independent Judah, free from Roman occupation. The Herodians were Jews who felt it was in their best interest to accept and get along with their Roman rulers. Though opposed to each other politically, they unite against Jesus.

They start their question with flattery. They want to set Jesus high on a pedestal so that they can knock Him down. Even though they were not sincere, it is worth noting that Jesus was indeed truthful, objective, and godly.

17 This is supposed to be a trick question. If Jesus advocates payment of taxes He would alienate those Jews who were against the Roman occupation and, in a sense, commit "treason" against Judah. If He said that people should not pay taxes (i.e., not submit to Roman rule), He would be guilty of treason against Rome and could be so accused.
18 There are several fronts to this hypocrisy. First, the men are pretending to come for counsel when they have already determined to ignore the Counselor and kill Him. Their flattering words ring hollow. Second, there were men there who hated Roman occupation, but still paid the taxes so that they would not be accused of treason against Rome. Third, there were men there who called themselves Jews but still wanted to get along with the Romans. Yet they would not be cast out of the community for treason against Judah. Fourth, even if Jesus did take one side or the other, neither side would rally to His cause since both were determined to destroy Him.
19 Since the leaders did not understand the abstract point of the parable, Jesus decides to use a concrete answer to their question.
21 Roman coins were stamped with the image and name of Caesar. This proved that the coins belonged to Rome. God had given the Romans the coins and the right to tax the Jews (at least for the time being). Thus, Jesus says that we should respect the authorities over us, even if they are ungodly.

Now on the other hand, we know that whatever authority is over us in this world will not last. In the end we are all accountable to God. Thus, we also need to submit to His authority while we are on the earth. Humans are stamped with God's image, and this proves that we belong to Him (Gen 1:26). He thus has the right to demand that we live the way He wants us to with love and respect for Him and people. We are to do this even if we live in a world that does not love and respect God or us.

22 To their amazement, the question had a third answer that they had not thought of. It had never occurred to them that they could be loyal to God and earthly authorities.
23 The Sadducees accepted only the first five books of the Old Testament as true Scripture (these are the books of Moses). Because of this, their doctrine was lacking in some respects. Here it is mentioned that they did not believe in life after death because they had not found a direct reference to it in the books of Moses.
24 See Deu 25:5-10 for discussion on this duty.
25 The scenario given may be something that actually happened or just a hypothetical situation.
28 The obvious hypocrisy here is that they don't believe in the resurrection, but they ask the question as if they do. They have manufactured a dilemma they felt that not even God could sort out if He wanted to. When Jesus points out the flaw in their reasoning, it becomes very clear to us that we must be very careful when people build theology based on man's reasoning rather than on the words of God.
29 Jesus is not fooled by the question or by the theology behind it. He points out in no uncertain terms that the Sadducees made a critical error in logic because they did not really know God or the Scriptures. Granted, most of the religious leaders of the day were highly trained and in some cases could even tell you where a given word was located on a given page (all printed copies were the same), but Jesus points out that they don't understand what the words mean.

How sad it is that this tradition continues today. Many pastors condone evolutionary thought, divorce, abortion, etc. because they don't understand the meaning and importance of the words that God spoke. They allow secular society and reasoning to affect their interpretation of Scripture and their relationship with God. Some of these religious leaders even have the audacity to openly ridicule those who believe the Bible "literally." And if this is what the leaders are like, what will their gullible and non-Bible-reading congregation members be like?

30 Jesus goes on to explain that the resurrected man and woman are not like the mortal man and woman. Like the angels, they can no longer die, nor will there be a need for marriage (or, presumably, reproduction).
31 Then Jesus points out their theological flaw that led to the question in the first place.
32 God makes this statement in Exo 3:6, after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had physically died. The crux of this argument is that God refers to them in the present tense, not the past tense. In God's eyes these men are alive because He already sees them as resurrected. Furthermore, if these men were gone forever, then they would have no God since they would no longer exist. If death were the end then we would have little use for God's laws, and He would have little use for us. But God intended for us to live forever with Him, and He has the power to make this happen.
33 The crowd was astonished for a few reasons. First, Jesus' words proved to be better than all the reasoning of eminent Jewish scholars in history. Secondly, the Sadducees and Pharisees had been wrangling over this particular question for years. Jesus answered the Sadducees out of the books of Moses, which is the only place where they would have accepted an answer. Thirdly, Jesus answered the questions so well that there was no further argument or discussion needed. Everyone could see that Jesus' answers were final and to the point.
34 Nonetheless, the Pharisees wanted one more crack at asking a trick question.
35 The Pharisees strictly adhered to the letter of the Law. Their final question was to be in regard to the law, so who better to ask it than a lawyer?
36 This question is much more respectful than the previous two (see the parallel account in Mark 12:28). There is no introductory flattery or drawn out story, just a simple question: "What is the core of our religion?"
37 Today many pastors may go on and on about the political or social importance of "religion," but God considers a loving relationship with Him to be more important than anything else in the world. Jesus quotes from Deu 6:5 to show that this has always been the case.
39 The second quote is from Lev 19:18. Humans are stamped with the image of God, and thus a loving attitude towards people follows directly from loving God.
40 Jesus tells the Pharisees that all the laws passed on by God depend on these two commandments. For many of the Pharisees, following the Law and other rules and regulations had become a religion in itself -- one without a relationship with God. Jesus implies that such a religion does not please God because they are following rules with the wrong motive and attitude. The Pharisees also had a reputation for following the letter of the Law but not doing so in a loving manner. There are times when it is appropriate to "break" the law to show mercy to others (1 Sam 21:3, Mat 12:10-12, Luke 10:30-37).
41 Jesus has now been tested with three questions, so it is His turn to ask a question. His purpose is not merely to stump them, but to get them thinking about Scripture and Him more clearly.
42 Jesus starts with a simple introductory question. Everyone knew that the Messiah (the Christ) was to be a descendent of King David.
44 The hard part of this question comes from Psa 110:1. The majority of Jews recognize that David is speaking of the future Messiah in this verse.
45 In Jewish society, the ancestors are "always" considered to be greater than their descendents. Yet here, David refers to one of his own descendants as greater than himself. How can this be? The answer lies in the divine nature of this descendant. Jesus was "God in the flesh" and lived a perfect, sinless life. So while He was a descendant of David, we must consider Him greater. If the Pharisees and others would read the Scriptures with an opened mind towards God, then His works, words, and world would make more sense and we could then respond to all of them appropriately.
46 The question did stump them because they had never thought about it before. But even if they figured out the answer, to say it would have supported the idea that Jesus might actually be the Messiah (John 7:31) and nullify their claims that He was speaking blasphemy when He said He was the Son of God (John 10:30-36).