Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 22:1-40

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Parable of the King and the Wedding Feast for His Son - Matthew 22:1-14

Even though this parable begins a new chapter in our verse numbering, it is really the third and climactic story in a series of three parables Jesus taught using the image of sons. This parable is the most direct and pointed of the three, with Jesus presented parabolically as the Son of the King who has been spurned by his own people and therefore will be punished. The result of Jesus teaching these three parables was that the Pharisees determine a plan to kill Jesus (Matt. 22:15).

Matthew 22:2

marriage feast. The idea of a marriage feast that a king has for his son is an important Christian image representing Jesus, the bridegroom becoming fully united with his people at the end of the age (Eph. 5:25-32).

Matthew 22:6

Treated them shamefully and killed them. This dishonorable and wicked response to the king's invitation was similar to the people who killed the landowner's son in the previous parable (Matt. 21:38-39). The king was just in bringing punishment upon these evildoers.

Matthew 22:12

Wedding clothes. The wedding clothes here represent the whole-hearted righteous behavior that marks the disciple of Jesus. It may be compared elsewhere in Matthew to the fruit that corresponds to repentance (Matt. 3:8; 7:16).

Matthew 22:14

Many people are called but few are chosen. This saying explains the somewhat mysterious "wedding clothes" (Matt. 22:12) part of the story: Not everyone who appears to be righteous truly is; there are some wolves who appear to be sheep (Matt. 7:15). See WCF 10.4; WLC 61, 68.

Three Attempts to Trap Jesus - Matthew 22:15-40

The three sonship parables (Matt. 21:28–22:14) are followed by three attempts by the Jewish leaders to entrap and discredit Jesus and his teaching. But in each attempt Jesus outwitted his enemies and astonishes the crowds (Matt. 22:33).

Matthew 22:15

Pharisees went and planned how they might entrap Jesus. This plan follows upon and sets into motion the earlier decision the Jewish leaders had made about Jesus when they could not explain his miracle-working powers (Matt. 12:14). This shows the leaders' wickedness: Rather than responding with humility and repentance (Matt. 3:17; 4:2) they responded with violence.

Matthew 22:16

we know that you are truthful. These are deceptive and false words, honoring Jesus with their lips while their hearts are far from him (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 15:8-9), as Matt. 22:15-18 show.

Matthew 22:17

Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar? The Jewish people were required to pay many taxes to the oppressive Roman Empire. This was resented by the Jews and created tensions within the Jewish community about how to live faithfully to God within this system. The Jewish leaders' hope was to discredit Jesus and get him into trouble either with the Romans or with the Jewish people, depending on which way he answered this difficult question.

Matthew 22:21

give to Caesar. Rather than being shamed by his enemies, Jesus showed himself to be very wise. He escaped their trap and simultaneously taught how to relate faithfully to God in an oppressed world. See WLC 127; BC 36; HC 104.

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