Matthew 22 Commentary
by Hank Workman
I remember after The Warehouse had been established for about 3 years I was struggling with a few things concerning the church. Although not monumental, it was a struggle that was the forging of who we would be. My heart, the DNA of the church, has always been to reach the ‘least of these’ within our culture. Oh it may sound like such a ‘noble’ cause but truly it is not. There are days and weeks it’s the hardest thing on the planet.
Yet, it has been what’s driven me and actually what pushed our own ministries we hold today. That said, it also at times has brought many personal wrestling matches with God where in retrospect and embarrassment I was difficult with Him. The church that reaches the marginalized at times feels as though it’s marginalized itself by others. On a personal level, this is never easy. But on a personal level, if I’m honest, it shouldn’t matter. Most days it doesn’t. But there are those days where the struggle is real, the pain is felt, and the inner turmoil is off the charts. I’m not proud of those moments.
And so I was in one of those moments about 3 years into the church’s establishment. I was struggling. A meeting with a few friends would be the change of that moment. If I’m honest, in hindsight, there would be a surrendering of what I wanted and foresaw the church to be and what God did. Even just thinking about it, it was a benchmark that was never returned to once I laid things down. Remarkably, it would be the parable of Matthew 22 that brought conviction, determination and ultimately a renewed focus to the mission.
The beauty and tragedy of The Parable of the Wedding Feast shows how God’s invitation stands to all but many choose not to accept. More importantly, and this was what hit me hard in my personal conversations that day with these friends, as the servants went out and found rejection after rejection – God sent them elsewhere – everywhere.
“Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.”
I like how The Message puts it:
“Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet. The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet was on – every place filled.”
Isn’t that beautiful?
In Jesus’ time, there were 2 invitations sent when banquets were given. The first asked the guests if they were attending. The second was announced it was ready. The king in this story sent a third, which is unusual. But as the king represents God, it shows His strong desire for all to come. In actuality, I think He sends invitations again and again – but as the parable makes clear, He sends His servants out everywhere to the highways and byways to reach those who were overlooked.
Now, when those who attended if not dressed properly would be given new clothes to wear. The bad who were there that had donned the clothes of the king – they were made fit for the party. As we read shockingly there was one individual who chose not to change. The conversation and fate of him is swift. It was the man’s choice to remain as he was.
The reality is our mission is to invite all to the banquet of God. It doesn’t matter what they look like, who they are, where they come from. The banquet is not for the elite but all. That said, as it is our responsibility to love people where they are – we also are called to encourage them to change. Now, that is the Holy Spirit’s business for certain, but we do have a responsibility to offer the clothes of His righteousness.
“I will rejoice greatly in the Lord; my soul will exult in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation. He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness.”Isaiah 61:10
Go out to the highways and byways and call everyone!
Matthew 22 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The Sadducees and Pharisees were always playing games with Jesus. They, like some today, thought they could outsmart God.
Here in Matthew 22, we find some intense back-and-forth debating from the teachers of the law. As we discussed a few chapters back, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. This riddle they pose to Jesus starting in verse 24 was no doubt used against their religious rivals – The Pharisees. The Sadducees thought of themselves as prestigious and loved to argue. Jesus plainly tells them – you are wrong. Because they had not accepted the Word of God, they had limited their own understanding of the supernatural. As Paul writes, “their minds had become darkened.”
After Jesus silences the Sadducees, the Pharisees take their turn. They question Jesus on the laws and He answers with the greatest commandments – love God and love people. When you consider the Ten Commandments, you can see how plainly these two phrases sum up the law and the prophets. The first four commandments deal with love for God and the last six deal with our responsibilities toward others.
Finally, Jesus has a question for the Pharisees. He wants to know, regarding the Christ, whose son is He? The correct answer is God’s Son. This is the answer which has been illustrated time and time again directly before the Pharisees’ eyes. The most popular phrase for the Messiah in that time was Son of David. This is the Pharisees’ response. This simple answer reveals a very big theological ideal. The Pharisees did not believe the Christ to be divine, but merely an upgraded David. They would not admit that Jesus was this man, but more importantly, they would not admit that He was God in the flesh.
It’s so important to understand that this singular point is what divides humanity when it comes to Jesus Christ. He is universally considered a real man who lived during the first century. He is universally considered a good man who preached truth and did lots of good works. He is universally considered a wise man who was well-respected as a teacher and rabbi. However, when it comes to admitting to the claim that He was God in the flesh, many will scoff and demand “evidence.” This is the reason why so many hated Him then, and why so many hate Him today. Notice, most of the Pharisees still didn’t believe even when the evidence stood before them in person.
As Christians, this is the foundation of our faith. The sinless lamb of God was placed on the cross in order to atone for our life of sin. The only way we know this with certainty is through the precious gift of faith. We do not come on our own, but are drawn by Him. Our goal as Christians shouldn’t be to provide endless amounts of evidence, but to enthusiastically represent Christ’s characteristics and pray that others would have “eyes to see.”