Matthew 22:1-22 – The Wedding Feast

THE WEDDING FEAST

This is the third parable that Jesus speaks after His authority was questioned by the Jewish leaders (21:23).  Like the first two, this parable is a direct rebuke to the stubborn refusal of faith that is evident in the hearts of these leaders.  The parable tells of a king who is throwing a wedding feast for his son.  He sends out his servants to invite the kingdom.  The response however is irregular.  Some of his invited guests simply pay no attention to the invitation.  Others respond more violently and beat and kill the kings servants who brought them their invitation.  Obviously at this point we know that Jesus is speaking about His Father and the Jewish people who killed the prophets that God would send to them.  What happens next is imagery of the great commission that Jesus will give in Matthew 28:19.  If those God first invited will not come, then God will extend the invitation to all who are far off that will hear and come.  Most readers would love for the parable to conclude with this glorious truth.  However, the parable is not over.  An important truth still needs to be told.  As the newly invited guests come and begin to partake in the festivities, the king notices one that is not dressed in their wedding garment.  At weddings of importance like this one, the king would have provided these garments for his guests when they arrived.  We don’t know the reason this person did not wear the wedding garments they were given.  Perhaps they liked their own clothes better.  Whatever the reason, when asked why they were not dressed appropriately they had no excuse (vs. 12).  This is representative of all who stand before God apart from the way He requires… not with a righteousness of our own, but clothed in the Lord Jesus and His righteousness.  There are no excuses.  There is only the name of Jesus.  Some will hear the outward call of the gospel and they may come to the party (calling themselves Christians and attending church).  However, the Lord knows those that belong to Him.  They are not dressed in their own religious duties, but they are covered by Christ alone.

 

RENDER TO CAESAR

After hearing these parables and knowing that Jesus was calling out their hypocrisy (21:45), the Jewish leaders decided to try and trap Jesus in His words.  They come with smooth words of flattery, but behind their compliments are a snare that leads to death (Psalm 55:21).  Notice the Herodians are with the Pharisees in this text.  These are two groups that had completely opposite agendas for Israel.  Pharisees believed in a national Israel that was ruled by God (via them).  The Herodians welcomed and accepted Roman rule over Israel and supported the family of Herod the great.  For these groups to “cross the isle” and join forces shows that they both saw Jesus as a threat to their status quo.  Their question they asked Jesus was brilliantly crafted.  Should we pay taxes to Caesar?  This was specifically speaking about the annual “poll” tax that funded the Roman armies stationed around the empire to keep the peace.  If Jesus supports the tax then the crowds will turn on Him.  If Jesus denies Roman taxation then the Herodians will charge Him with insurrection.  The trap is set.  However, Jesus is ready for their conniving deception.  He asks them whose face is on the coin.  They rightly responded that it was the face of Caesar.  Jesus then responds with the instruction that if its Caesar’s face then that means its Caesar’s coin so give it back to him.  He is not finished with this lesson yet though.  He finishes with, “and give to God what belongs to God.”  Ask yourself this question.  What bears the image of God in this world?  The answer is that “you do” of course (Genesis 1:26).  The things of this world belong in this world.  You belong to God.  Pay your taxes to the king or nation where you live.  Give to God what belongs to Him… all of you!

 

Study Questions

  1. The parable of the wedding feast not only teaches us what occurred in history with the nation of Israel, but it also shows us that not everyone who hears the call of the gospel and responds is actually a Christian.  Read Matthew 7:21-23 and discuss.
  2. Read Romans 13:1-7, I Peter 2:13-17, Hebrews 13:17, I Timothy 2:1-2, and Titus 3:1-2.  Why should we honor and obey those over us?
  3. Is there ever a time that we should not honor and obey those over us?  Read Acts 4:18-20 for insight.
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