Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Monday, July 23, 2012

Matthew Chapter 22

Matthew chapter 22 is a continuation of chapter 21. He has just insulted the Pharisees by telling them that the kingdom will be taken from them and given to nation that will be able to do good with it. 
(Matt. 21:43) They wanted to grab Him then but were afraid of the crowd. Remember, the crowd had just been heralding Him as the Messiah in chapter 21. 
He continues with the parable of the King and the wedding feast. According to Eerdmans, this parable is a succession of events that gives chronological order to what was happening and what was going to happen in the life of Christ as it pertained to the Jews. 
(at this point, make sure you have your bible's out to make the comparisons I'm mentioning here)
You can still see this ancient carving of the Temple being destroyed in Rome
Verses 22:1-3 speaks of John the baptist calling the nation to repentance (Matt:3) and the sending out of the disciples(Matt. 10). In verse  22:4, we read of the King sending out more slaves to call the guests. The king says; the sacrifice is butchered, (Jesus is crucified ) everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast. Verse 22: 5, they paid no attention. Verse 22: 6, they seized His slaves and killed them... All of the apostles, except John, died horrible deaths as they proclaimed Jesus's death and resurrection. Many other believers were martyred as they refused to deny  Christ. Verse 22: 7 talks of the enraged King sending armies to destroy the people who rejected His invitation. In 70 AD. Jerusalem was besieged by Rome. The Temple of Herod was burnt to the ground. The melted gold from the Temple, ran down into the crevices between the stones.The Roman soldiers took the Temple apart stone by stone to get the gold. "Not one stone was left upon another." (Luke 19:43-44)also (Matt.24:22)

In verse 22:9, the King says go to the main highway and invite anyone you see, (clearly the message is of salvation is now to be taken to everyone) . The Kings servants gather everyone they can and fill the wedding hall. (Matt.22:10) Then the King notices someone not wearing the provided wedding clothes. 
Isaiah 61:10 says "He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with the robe of righteousness". Clearly this person was unwilling to take the garments that the King had provided for all of His guests to wear to the wedding supper.

 There are many, many references to garments in the scriptures. 
Some of the most interesting are in the book of Revelation. Verses 19:7-16 are wonderful. We see the bride here. We see Faithful and True coming on His white horse. We see the armies of God (that's us)coming on white horses following Jesus. And there is  verse  Rev.19:9 (which I love) "And He said to me "Write blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb" and he said to me "These are the true words of God".

After this the Pharisees went away to figure out how to trap Him in His words. In verse 22:16, they sent their disciples to flatter Him and trick Him. The next verses are some of the most incredible in the Bible.I remember marveling at the Lord's answer to them the first time I read this passage.
In verse 17 they ask Jesus if it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not.  Our wonderful, incredible, amazing Lord had the perfect answer for them. In verse 22:19, He says "Show me the coin used for the Poll-Tax" and they brought Him the coin. In verse 22:20, He asks them whose image 
was on the coin. They answer "Caesars". Then, Jesus says "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."
What makes this statement so incredible, besides the wisdom of the way He answered them, is the fact that we are told in the scriptures that we, human beings, are all created in the image of God !!!! Read Genesis 1:26-27. We bear His image. We belong to Him. We should not be withholding any part of our lives or being from Him. Our lives are His whether we acknowledge that fact or not. Verse 22:22 says they marveled and went away. AMAZING. 
In Verses 22:23-28, the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection or any spiritual after life at all, came to Jesus with a ridiculous question  about a woman who had been married to 7 brothers. They asked this question because of a  Jewish  law which  required a brother to marry his brother's widow if he should die without producing any children. (Duet.25:5-10) This question had a mocking tone to it since the Sadducees  (I once heard a pastor say that the Sadducees did not believe in heaven so they were "sad you see")did not believe that there was a heaven for this woman and her husbands to go to.  So they were not really asking an earnest question. Jesus ignored the motives for the question and gave an answer full of authority and knowledge about heaven. In verse 22:29 He tells them that they are mistaken, he tells them that they don't understand the power of God or the scriptures (this would have made them really mad). In verse 29:30 He puts to rest the question of the existence of heaven and the question of whether there is a resurrection of the dead. Both of these things were denied by the Sadducees. He goes on to give us a tiny glimpse of what heaven will be like for us. He says " they neither marry or are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." Notice that he does not say that we will not be male and female. He also does not say that we will be angels. He says that we will not marry and that we will be like angels in the fact that we will not marry. Then in verses 22:31,32 he makes an incredible statement to the Sadducees. He says" have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."
Try to appreciate the magnitude of this verse. The Sadducees were the elite of the Jewish religion (their name meant righteous). Many of them were priests from prominent families. They were the ruling class of the Jewish people at that time. They held to the teachings of Moses above all else. They could probably recite the book of Exodus  if they were asked to and Jesus takes this verse from Exodus 3:6 and asks them if they have ever read it. ( Jesus knew that of course they had read this verse. He knew that every Jew knew this verse very well. He knew that not only did the Sadducees know this verse but all of the people standing around listening to this conversation knew this verse. For more info on the Sadducees, read Josephus Warsii18,14 and Unger's Bible Dictionary.) He goes on to add the important meaning behind this verse that none of them had heard or thought of. "He is not the God of the dead but of the living" 
Verse 22:34 tells us that He put the Saducees to silence. Then the Pharisees gathered themselves together in one final attempt to trick and discredit Him. In 22:35 they ask Him the question of which commandment is the greatest.  His answer was for our benefit as well as theirs. 
His answer is a heart check, a measuring rod for all of us who claim Christ as our precious savior. He says, "You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." and " You shall love your neighbor as your self. On these two commandments depend the WHOLE LAW and the prophets."  Could the whole word of God really hinge on these two concepts? This verse has put me on my knees! I long to understand this and live it.  We fall so short! Praise God for His abundant grace towards us!

I will leave you here in the chapter. There is a little more reading but you can finish it yourselves. 
We will use  verse 22:21 to remember this chapter  Matt:22:21 " Then render to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's and render to God the things that are God's" 
I have heard from many of you that you are enjoying the study. That blesses me so much! If you can, take the time to add your self as followers. When other ladies find the study, they will be encouraged to read it if they see your smiling face as a follower. I can tell by my stats that I have readers all over the world, which really keeps me going. I had my first reader in Chile yesterday! Don't worry, I can't see specifics, just how many from each country. I am praying for every one of you!!!
God's word is so powerful and amazing!! Keep reading! God will bring remembrance of His word and bless you with the ability to share with others. Don't neglect your "knee-mail".
Love Nancy