The parable of the wedding banquet first expresses God’s disappointment at the nation of Israel for its widespread failure to welcome Jesus and his kingdom. Then it deals with the responsibility of those who do attend the wedding to be properly dressed. We do not come to God on our own terms or holding onto our sins. God provides forgiveness and righteousness by being clothed with Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). Failure to prepare ourselves to meet God results in punishment.
Chapter 22 is the great debate chapter, in which enemies of Jesus try to trap him in his words and discredit him before the people, or in the eyes of the government. The Pharisees had national pride and opposed Roman rule; the Herodians were quite the opposite in their political outlook. Yet in Jesus they found a common enemy. How foolish is the theory that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The question regarding whether God’s people should pay tribute to Caesar was answered with a Roman coin. Give God his due and give the government its due as well. Christians are to respect and support civil government (Rom. 13:1-7).
Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, angels, or spirits (Acts 23:8). The question about marriage at the resurrection, or in the next life, showed how shallow was their thinking. Marriage and physical union are for this life. We may indeed know one another in heaven, but our attention and devotion will be directed to the one on the throne. This may be the passage from whence people assume that loved ones become angels after death. Such a conclusion is not warranted at all. Angels are another class of beings and face their own responsibility, now and at judgment (2 Pet. 2:4).
Which is the greatest commandment? The 10 Commandments form the basic outline of the Law of Moses. Jesus’ challengers no doubt expected an answer from one of these ten. However, Jesus replied that the greatest command is to love God supremely, referring to Deut. 6:5. The second greatest command, to love one’s neighbor as himself, comes from Lev. 19:18. These two commands summarize the 10 Commandments. The first four deal with duty to God, and the final six deal with duty to one’s fellowman. Do we not look foolish when we challenge the Lord? We must do our best to respect and obey the entirety of his will, not looking for loopholes (James 2:10). Jesus ended the debate session with a question for the Pharisees. Whose son is the Christ? Their answer was accurate in that the Christ is descended from David. But Jesus’ follow-up question astounded them. Speaking by the Spirit of prophecy, David refers to the Christ or Messiah as “Lord.” How can this be? They could not answer, and from then on, they did not dare to ask him challenging questions. We understand that in the flesh, Jesus is a descendant of David, but in the Spirit, he is God’s Son and David’s lord (Rom. 1:3-4). He is lord of us all. If we have sincere religious questions, we will find the answers in Scripture.
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of Matthew’s gospel. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.