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Parable of the Wedding Feast

22 As was his custom, Jesus continued to teach the people by using allegories. He illustrated the reality of heaven’s kingdom realm by saying, “There once was a king who arranged an extravagant wedding feast for his son.[a] On the day the festivities were set to begin, he sent his servants[b] to summon all the invited guests, but they chose not to come. So the king sent even more servants to inform the invited guests, saying, ‘Come, for the sumptuous feast is now ready! The oxen and fattened cattle have been killed and everything is prepared, so come! Come to the wedding feast for my son and his bride!’

“But the invited guests were not impressed. One was preoccupied with his business; another went off to his farming enterprise. And the rest seized the king’s messengers and shamefully mistreated them, and even killed them. This infuriated the king! So he sent his soldiers to execute those murderers and had their city burned to the ground.[c]

“Then the king said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, yet those who had been invited to attend didn’t deserve the honor. Now I want you to go into the streets and alleyways[d] and invite anyone and everyone you find to come and enjoy the wedding feast in honor of my son.’

10 “So the servants went out into the city streets and invited everyone to come to the wedding feast, good and bad alike, until the banquet hall was crammed with people! 11 Now, when the king entered the banquet hall, he looked with glee over all his guests. But then he noticed a guest who was not wearing the wedding robe provided for him.[e] 12 So he said, ‘My friend, how is it that you’re here and you’re not wearing your wedding garment?’ But the man was speechless.

13 “Then the king turned to his servants and said, ‘Tie him up and throw him into the outer darkness,[f] where there will be great sorrow, with weeping and grinding of teeth.’ 14 For everyone is invited[g] to enter in, but few respond in excellence.”[h]

The Pharisees Try to Entrap Jesus

15 Then the Pharisees came together to make a plan to entrap Jesus with his own words. 16 So they sent some of their disciples together with some staunch supporters of Herod.[i] They said to Jesus, “Teacher, we know that you’re an honest man of integrity and you teach us the truth of God’s ways. We can clearly see that you’re not one who speaks only to win the people’s favor, because you speak the truth without regard to the consequences.[j] 17 So tell us, then, what you think. Is it proper for us Jews to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18 Jesus knew the malice that was hidden behind their cunning ploy and said, “Why are you testing me, you imposters who think you have all the answers? 19 Show me one of the Roman coins.” So they brought him a silver coin used to pay the tax. 20 “Now, tell me, whose head is on this coin and whose inscription is stamped on it?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Jesus said, “Precisely, for the coin bears the image of the emperor Caesar.[k] Well, then, you should pay the emperor what is due to the emperor. But because you bear the image of God,[l] give back to God all that belongs to him.”

22 The imposters were baffled in the presence of all the people and were unable to trap Jesus with his words. So they left, stunned by Jesus’ words.

Marriage and the Resurrection

23 Some of the Sadducees, a religious group that denied there was a resurrection of the dead,[m] came to ask Jesus this question: 24 “Teacher, the law of Moses teaches that if a man dies before he has children, his brother should marry the widow and raise up children for his brother’s family line.[n] 25 Now, there was a family with seven brothers. The oldest got married but soon died, leaving his widow for his brother. 26 The second brother married and also died, and the third also. This was repeated down to the seventh brother, 27 when finally the woman also died. So here’s our dilemma: 28 Which of the seven brothers will be the woman’s husband when she’s resurrected from the dead, since they all were once married to her?”

29 Jesus answered them, “You are deluded, because your hearts are not filled with the revelation of the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 For after the resurrection, men and women will not marry, just like the angels of heaven don’t marry. 31 Haven’t you read what God said: 32 ‘I am the Living God,[o] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”[p]

33 When the crowds heard this they were dazed, stunned over such wisdom![q]

The Greatest Commandment

34 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they called a meeting to discuss how to trap Jesus. 35 Then one of them, a religious scholar, posed this question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

37 Jesus answered him, “‘Love[r] the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’[s] 38 This is the great and supreme commandment. 39 And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend[t] in the same way you love yourself.’[u] 40 Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus, Son of David—Lord of David

41 While all the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus took the opportunity to pose a question of his own: 42 “What do you think about the Anointed One? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, could call his son the Lord? For didn’t he say:

44 The Lord Jehovah said to my Lord,
    ‘Sit near me in the place of authority
    until I subdue all your enemies under Your feet’?[v]

45 “So how could David call his own son ‘the Lord Jehovah’?”[w]

46 No one could come up with an answer. And from that day on none of the Pharisees had the courage to question Jesus any longer.


  1. Matthew 22:2 See Isa. 25:6-8.
  2. Matthew 22:3 God is the king who prepares his kingdom feast for his Son, Jesus Christ. The messenger-servants are the prophets he sends to summon the people to enter into the love feast of Jesus. It is all about the wedding of the Lamb to the bride of Christ. What a glorious feast is prepared for us!
  3. Matthew 22:7 This was fulfilled by the Roman prince Titus (who eventually became emperor of Rome) in the Roman war of AD 67–70.
  4. Matthew 22:9 The Aramaic is “go to the ends of the roads.”
  5. Matthew 22:11 Those invited to come from the streets had no opportunity to buy wedding clothes. This wedding robe is a picture of the garment of righteousness that grace provides for us. The man without the wedding garment had one provided, but he didn’t want to change into new clothes. A change is necessary, for our King provides garments of white linen for us to wear, our wedding garments. See Isa. 52:1; Rev. 19:8.
  6. Matthew 22:13 The Hebrew Matthew is “the lowest hell [sheol].”
  7. Matthew 22:14 Or “Many are called.” This can be understood to be a Semitic figure of speech that universalizes the invitation. See also Matt. 20:28.
  8. Matthew 22:14 The Greek word eklektoi can mean “chosen,” but it can also be translated “worthy,” “pure,” “choice,” “excellent.” See 2 John 1, 13.
  9. Matthew 22:16 The Hebrew Matthew is “They took violent men from Herod.” The Aramaic is “They took men from Herod’s household.” By bringing with them loyalists to Rome (Herodians), the Pharisees were convinced that Jesus would offend either the Jews, who despised paying the “poll tax” required of every adult male, or those political followers of Herod who sided with the Roman occupation.
  10. Matthew 22:16 Or “You don’t look into the faces of men [before you speak the truth].”
  11. Matthew 22:21 Actual coins from that era have been found with the emperor’s image and a superscription saying, “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the divine Augustus.”
  12. Matthew 22:21 The coin belongs to Caesar because it carries his image. We have an obligation to God because we carry his image.
  13. Matthew 22:23 The Aramaic clearly states that the Sadducees said to Jesus, “There is no life after death.”
  14. Matthew 22:24 See Deut. 25:5-10.
  15. Matthew 22:32 As translated from the Aramaic and implied in the Greek.
  16. Matthew 22:32 The implication Jesus is making is that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all alive (in glory) when God spoke to Moses in the burning bush. See Ex. 3:6.
  17. Matthew 22:33 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew. The Greek is “teaching.”
  18. Matthew 22:37 The Hebrew Matthew is “worship,” also quoted as “worship” by Justin Martyr (ca. AD 165), First Apology XXI.
  19. Matthew 22:37 Or “with all your mind.” See Deut. 6:5.
  20. Matthew 22:39 As translated from the Aramaic word kareb, which means “one who is close to you” (emotionally or by proximity). The Greek is “neighbor.”
  21. Matthew 22:39 See Lev. 19:18.
  22. Matthew 22:44 See Ps. 110:1, which is the Old Testament passage of Scripture most often quoted in the New Testament.
  23. Matthew 22:45 As translated from the Aramaic. To those who insisted on only interpreting the Scriptures literally, Jesus was proving there was a deeper spiritual interpretation. To say the Messiah would be the Son of David means that the Anointed One would manifest the qualities and devotion that David walked in. A true “spiritual” son of David.