This is Episode #284 and today we’ll read Matthew chapters 22 & 23 together. Here is Jesus, teaching His disciples through more of his pointed parables, and criticizing the Pharisees for their hypocrisy.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #284 and today we’ll read Matthew chapters 22 & 23 together. Here is Jesus, teaching His disciples through more of his pointed parables, and criticizing the Pharisees for their hypocrisy.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Matthew Chapter 22
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. Again, he sent out other servants and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: See, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged, and he sent out his troops, killed those murderers, and burned down their city.
“Then he told his servants, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go then to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ So those servants went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
God and Caesar
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to trap him by what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You don’t care what anyone thinks nor do you show partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
Perceiving their malicious intent, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” They brought him a denarius. “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them.
“Caesar’s,” they said to him.
Then he said to them, “Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
The Sadducees and the Resurrection
That same day some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up to him and questioned him: “Teacher, Moses said, if a man dies, having no children, his brother is to marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second also, and the third, and so on to all seven. Last of all, the woman died. In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her.”
Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
The Primary Commands
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
The Question about the Messiah
While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
They replied, “David’s.”
He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’:
The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies under your feet’?
“If David calls him ‘Lord,’ how, then, can he be his son?” No one was able to answer him at all, and from that day no one dared to question him anymore.
Matthew Chapter 23
Religious Hypocrites Denounced
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. They do everything to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters. Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. You are not to be called instructors either, because you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as you are!
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the temple, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the temple is bound by his oath.’ Blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? Also, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing; but whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.’
“Blind people! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore, the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it. The one who takes an oath by the temple takes an oath by it and by him who dwells in it. And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God’s throne and by him who sits on it.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, but gulp down a camel!
Blood of the Righteous Charged
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside of it may also become clean.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity. In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors’ sins!
“Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell? This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I tell you, all these things will come on this generation.
Jesus’s Lamenting over Jerusalem
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’!”
The Pharisees were constantly trying to trip up Jesus in an effort to discredit Him and His teachings. In the Parable of God and Caesar, they thought they finally had Him where they wanted him, on the receiving end of a question whose answer would condemn Him no matter how He responded.
But Jesus disappointed them when He asked them to produce a coin and asked whose image was on the coin. “Caesar’s” they responded. And He directed them to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.
By saying this, Jesus clearly endorsed the paying of taxes. After all, He points out, the money ultimately belongs to Caesar anyway, since it is printed with his image. But mankind bears God’s image; therefore, we are to give ourselves freely…and completely…to God.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for making us in Your image, for caring enough about Your creation to take a personal interest in us and our salvation. Thank You for sending Your Son to teach us about Your truth and Your economy. Help us to give ourselves freely to you, as You have given freely to us. Amen.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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