Many people know about the teachings of Christianity. Some people appreciate them and see their value and others don’t. However, I am convinced that if the people who can’t see the value in Christianity really understood it, they would see the value. Everyone knows that there were people in the time of Jesus who loved his teachings. They may also know that people followed him amazed because he did miracles. However, he didn’t just teach us how to go to Heaven and do miracles, he also had the ability to out think the deepest thinkers. A couple of weeks ago, I taught a class on Matthew 22, and as I studied to teach the class, I was amazed at how deeply Jesus thought! He out thought the most clever, most educated people around, even when they were trying to trip him up. I have heard certain preachers teach from Matthew 22, but they didn’t seem to go the distance of what actually happened there.
The chapter begins with a parable about a king whose son was going to get married. The man sends his servants out to tell his “friends” to come to the wedding banquet. The friends ignore the servants and tell them to go away because they are busy. The preachers usually leave the next part out because they are just trying to tell everyone that God calls people, but there is more to it than that.. When the servants go back to the king telling him that the people are ignoring him, the king send more servants and says, “Tell them everything is ready. Tell them I have killed the fated calf. Tell them there is lot s of good food.” When the servants go back, the people not only ignore them, but kill them for being pests. When the king learns what happened, he sends out his army to destroy the murderers. There is a lot more to this story than people realize. After that is when the king tells his servants to go out and invite anyone and everyone who will come to the wedding feast regardless of heir station in life or how well they know him. The preachers get it right that everyone is invited. However, they also seem to leave out the next part too or use it as a partial teaching. When the king comes into the wedding banquet, he is please because lots of people are there, but he spots one guy who didn’t clean himself up for he wedding, but came in old, torn up, dirty clothing to the wedding. The king has the guy thrown outside because he didn’t bother to clean himself up for the wedding. Who goes to a wedding without a bath and clean clothes? I have heard this preached as this guy wasn’t baptized, but it is so much more than that. Yes, he needed a bath, baptism, but he also needed to change his ways. He needed to stop lying, stop cheating, stop sleeping around, stop getting drunk, stop taking drugs, or whatever he was doing. He needed clean himself up before he came to the wedding feast. We need to clean ourselves up if we want to go to Heaven. A bath, baptism, is not too much to ask. Clean, unripped clothing is also not to much to ask. We comb our hair and go the whole nine yards when we go to a wedding banquet, and God expects the same from us if we want to be Christians. He doesn’t expect us just to come without taking a bath, changing to clean, mended clothes, and combing our hair.
There is much more here than just God, the king, wanting everyone to come and having a guy thrown out because he refused to clean himself up. What about the murderers that the king sends his soldiers after to kill? They are the Jews. The Jews were constantly killing their prophets. They were supposed to be the friends of God, but when God sent a messenger, they didn’t like it, so they killed him.John the Baptist was killed for saying the king shouldn’t have taken his brother’s wife. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were constantly out to kill the prophet Elijah. It was just what the Jews did to the prophets. God, the king, called everyone else into the banquet. He opened up eternal life for everyone as long as they will do what he asks and take a bath and change their clothes before they come.
The rest of this chapter is the Jews trying to trip Jesus up because they understood that they were the people who killed the prophets. The Jews had to pay taxes to the Roman government, and they hated it. They hated the tax collectors too. However, they knew if they didn’t pay taxes, they would be in trouble. Since the wanted to get Jesus in trouble, they tried to trip Jesus up with the taxes. They wanted him to say they shouldn’t pay taxes to get him in trouble with Rome. They tried to make it look like people who were dedicated to God should only give money to God, not to Rome. First, they flattered Jesus by telling him he was a man of integrity, then they asked if Jesus thought they should pay taxes to Rome. Jesus knew what they were up to. He asked to see a coin. When they produced the coin, he asked them whose picture was on it, and they said, “Cesar’s.” He told them it must belong to Cesar, so give it to him, and give to God what belongs to God. They didn’t stump him, so they tried harder.
Next, a Jewish group called the Sadducees approached him. The Sadducees’ special doctrine said that when you are dead, you are dead. They didn’t believe in an afterlife like the Pharasees, another Jewish religious group, did. The first people who tried to stump Jesus were the Pharisees, and they were still listening, but the Sadducees were taking their stab at trying to trap Jesus. He knew what both groups believed.
The Sadduccees said that Moses taught them that if a woman’s husband dies, then her husband’s brother should marry her which is what Moses taught them. They went on to say that it happened to one among them, but they were lying. They said that the woman’s second husband died too, and the third brother married her. That husband died too, and the fourth brother married her. They took it up to the seventh husband. After that, they asked who would be the woman’s husband in the resurrection from the dead? Jesus knew they were trying to trap him, and he was a step ahead of them again. First, he told them they needed to study more because they didn’t understand. He told them that there is no such thing as marriage after death, but that we will be like the angels in as much as they don’t marry. They thought they had him because they didn’t believe in life after death, but he wasn’t finished. He went on to explain that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. He told them that in the Bible, God says, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” According to our way of thinking, those guys are dead, but God uses the simple present tense to talk about them as if these guys weren’t dead. Jesus proves to the Sadduccees that according to God, there is life after death with grammar. He is also thinking about spiritual life and death. Spiritually, you can be dead or alive, and he is thinking these Sadduccees are spiritually dead even though they are physically alive.. They were unable to trap him because he out thought them, but they weren’t done yet.
The Pharisees had been listening and decided that the Sadducees couldn’t trip this guy up, so they were going to try again. They asked him which was the greatest commandment. If you read the Ten Commandments, it never tells you, but Jesus had figured out which one is the greatest. He says that the greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is like it, to love your fellow man. He says all the other commandments have their basis in these two, and he is right. If you love God, you will do what he asks. If you love your fellow man, you won’t do anything that could hurt him. You won’t lie to him, you won’t hit him, you won’t cheat him, take his wife, or kill him. You will be kind. You will be gentle. You will be honest and treat others right if you love them, and if you love God, you will listen to what he says and do it. The Pharisees didn’t expect that kind of answer. They thought they could stump him, but ti was impossible because he was a deep thinker. They just couldn’t seem to get one up on him.
After that, he turned the tables on them and asked them a question that stumped them, and it may stump many o f us easily. He asked them, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They responded that he was the son of David because there are prophecies in the Old Testament saying the Christ would come from the family of King David. After that, he asks them how that is possible because David called the Christ his Lord. Do father’s call their children Lord? The father is usually the boss. Jesus quotes the Old Testament and says, “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” He asked them, “If David calls the Christ ‘Lord,’ then how can he be his son?” He stumped them, and this is very hard to understand. However, he was telling them they were his enemies and that God was going to conquer them for him, but they didn’t understand. Jesus was called the son of David because David was one of his forefathers, and Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. He was both God and man at the same time, but the Sadduccees and the Pharisees just couldn’t wrap their minds around an idea like that. They tried to stump Jesus unsuccessfully, but instead, Jesus stumped them.
The Sadduccees and the Pharisees were the leaders in religious thought of the day. They were the religious teachers and theologians, the men of high thinking. They were the people of profound thought, but Jesus out thought them all. We always talk about Jesus teachings, about his love, and about his miracles, but how often to do we talk about his thinking abilities? No one around him could out think him, and it made the people amazed! At the end of chapter 22 of Matthew, the Pharisees and the Sadduccees were so shocked they were scared of him. They couldn’t answer him. They didn’t know what to do or say.