Matthew 22

Chapter 22

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet.[a] 1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent forth his servants to summon those who had been invited to the banquet, but they refused to come. 4 Then he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, my banquet has been prepared, my oxen and my fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.” ’

5 “But they ignored his invitation. One went off to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.

7 “The king was enraged, and he sent forth his troops who destroyed those murderers and burned their city to the ground. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy of that honor. 9 Go forth, therefore, to the main roads and invite everyone you can find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 The servants went forth into the streets and gathered together everyone they could find, good and bad alike. And so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 [b]“But when the king came in to greet the guests, he noticed one man who was not properly dressed for a wedding. 12 ‘My friend,’ he said to him, ‘how did you gain entrance here without a wedding garment?’ The man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and cast him outside into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”[c]

15 God or Caesar.[d] Then the Pharisees went off and made plans to trap him in what he said. 16 They sent some of their disciples to him, along with the Herodians,[e] and said, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Nor are you concerned with anyone’s opinion for you do not care about people’s opinions. 17 Tell us then what you think about this: Is it lawful or not for us to pay taxes to Caesar?”

18 Jesus was aware of their malicious intent, and he said, “You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin that is used for paying the tax.” When they brought him a denarius,[f] 20 he asked them, “Whose image is this, and whose inscription?” 21 They replied, “Caesar’s.” On hearing this, he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is due to Caesar, and to God what is due to God.”[g] 22 Stunned on hearing this reply, they went away and left him alone.

23 Marriage and the Resurrection.[h] On that same day, the Sadducees, who assert that there is no resurrection, approached him and posed this question, 24 “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies without having children, his brother[i] is to marry his brother’s wife and raise up children for his brother. 25 Now there were seven brothers who belonged to our group. The first one married and died without issue, and therefore left his wife to his brother. 26 The same result occurred with the second brother and the third, right down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman herself died. 28 Now at the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be, inasmuch as all of them had her?”

29 Jesus answered them, “You are in error, for you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. They are like the angels in heaven.

31 “And in regard to the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what God himself said to you: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

34 The Greatest Commandment.[j] When the Pharisees learned that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and, to test him, one of them, a lawyer, asked this question, 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 Everything in the Law and the Prophets depends on these two commandments.”

41 Jesus Is Lord.[k] While the Pharisees were assembled together, Jesus asked them this question, 42 “What is your opinion about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They replied, “He is the son of David.” 43 He responded, “How is it then that David, under the inspiration of the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord,’ saying:

44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies under your feet” ’?

45 If David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one was able to give him an answer, and from that day onward no one dared to ask him any further questions.

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 22:1 The meaning of this parable is similar to that of the preceding one. The Messianic Kingdom is likened to a nuptial banquet. The king is God; the servants are the Prophets; the invited guests are the Israelites; the punishment of the city refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70; the new invitees are the Gentiles. Some retouches have made the parable a warning to the Church of Matthew as well as a statement of God’s judgment on Israel.
  2. Matthew 22:11 Scholars speak of these verses almost as another parable, that of the wedding garment. In this world the good and the wicked are mixed together, for it is the time of patience and mercy. During this time Christians must cooperate with God’s grace, which is tantamount to wearing the wedding garment.
  3. Matthew 22:14 Many . . . chosen: this does not seem to allude to the number of the elect, since that is a secret that the Father had reserved to himself. It means that all the Israelites have been invited, but only a few of them have accepted the Gospel.
  4. Matthew 22:15 Here the series of controversies between Jesus and the religious authorities is resumed, beginning with the question of paying taxes to the Roman emperor. For over twenty years, the Roman emperor had been levying a tax on Palestine; the Jewish people regarded it as a sign of unjust oppression. To pay it was regarded as a denial of Jewish hopes; to challenge it meant taking the side of revolutionary agitators. Only the elderly and children were exempt; the Zealots forbade their members to pay it.
  5. Matthew 22:16 Herodians: partisans and courtiers of the reigning dynasty of the Herods. Though they were Jews in religion, their spirit was Gentile. They conspired with their enemies the Pharisees against Christ.
  6. Matthew 22:19 Denarius: the daily wage of a laborer.
  7. Matthew 22:21 Jesus emphasizes that it is not enough to give to Caesar what is due to Caesar; people must also give to God what is due to God, i.e., worship and good works (see Mt 21:41, 43).
  8. Matthew 22:23 Faith in a resurrection became common only toward the end of the Old Testament period. Not all shared the certainty; the Sadducees, the aristocrats of the priestly class and men concerned more with politics than with religion, considered it a rather debatable theological novelty. They debate it with Jesus, using arguments that emerge as caricature and prevent access to the heart of the question. Jesus answers in the name of the Jewish faith in God: God stands on the side of life.
  9. Matthew 22:24 If a man dies . . . his brother: this custom is known as the “law of the levirate,” from the Latin word for brother-in-law (levir). It was intended to continue the family line of the deceased brother (see Deut 25:6).
  10. Matthew 22:34 Instead of dividing the Law into a string of precepts (the Rabbis counted 248) and prohibitions (365), Jesus unifies it in two essential commandments: love of God (Deut 6:5) and neighbor (Lev 19:18). These form the basis of every precept.
  11. Matthew 22:41 For centuries people had been awaiting a Christ, or Messiah, who would be a son of David; they saw him pictured in an ancient royal psalm that became a song of Messianic expectation (Ps 110). But Christ is more than the heir to David’s throne; he possesses the authority of God. Only during his Passion will Jesus expressly claim to be the Messiah (Mt 26:63-64).

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