The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
It was customary at that time to send two invitations to a wedding – one to request someone’s attendance and another to announce that it was ready. In this story, there are three invitations sent. Not only do the invitees ignore the extra invitation but they even kill the servants! This was more than a great insult to the host.
1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.
13“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
So what is the application? God is generous in his invitations to us, but one day the opportunities will be gone. As Hebrews 4:7 says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” You never know which day will be your last.
The wedding clothes were often provided to guests. Refusing to wear them would be arrogant and rude. In this parable, these people are trying to come to God on their terms (bad idea).
Paying Taxes to Caesar
Once again, the Pharisees are foiled in their attempt to trick Jesus.
15Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
18But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”
21“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Marriage at the Resurrection
23That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24“Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. 25Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27Finally, the woman died. 28Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
29Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
33When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
The Sadducees were another ruling group of Jews along with the Pharisees. Jesus showed the error of their thinking and He corrected their false doctrine about there not being a resurrection.
Jesus did not say we’ll be angels in Heaven, just that we’ll be like them in the sense of not marrying.
The Greatest Commandment
34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If people were expecting an easy shortcut as to which commands they really needed to follow then this answer must have disappointed them. Saying to “Love the Lord with all your heart . . .” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” makes it harder, not easier. Everything we do must be out of genuine love for God and others. When you realize how hard it is do that perfectly for even 10 consecutive minutes it helps you realize how much you need Jesus’ sacrifice in your place. Should we aim at keeping those commands? Yes. Do we have any hope of doing it? No way.
Whose Son Is the Christ
41While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
43He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
44” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ‘ 45If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
This passage makes more sense when understanding that the word Lord is a term of deity in the original Hebrew. Jesus was turning the tables and asking them questions now and they had no answers. Also note how Jesus claims that David was speaking by the (Holy) Spirit when he wrote Psalm 110.
What passages stood out to you, and why?