Matthew 22:34–40 (ESV)
The Great Commandment
when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment
in the Law?” 37 And he 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 great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
I like to think of today’s reading like a football game. The Sadducees called a running play, called a Draw play. The Defense saw the play coming and stopped
the play behind the line of scrimmage. The Sadducees went back to the huddle and the coaches called time out and sent in a new play to try and score. Jesus stopped the Sadducees question and now they are huddling with the Pharisees with a new question
to test Jesus. He stops the new play in their tracks. The great commandment of the Law is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Secondly, “You shall love your neighbor
as yourself.” These two are impossible for us to keep. That is why we need God and his plan of salvation.
I pray: O Lord, I do love you,
but I must admit that it is not with my whole heart. I often turn my back on you when I sin. I also repent that I do not love my neighbor as myself. I want to do better. Forgive me and restore me. Amen.
Matthew 22:23–33 (ESV)
Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children,
his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So
too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”
29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry
nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
Today’s reading reminds has a hidden double edge sword in it. The Sadducees are questioning Jesus about marriage and they set up an example about who will be the husband of the lady when she dies and goes to heaven
(resurrection). The twist is that the Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection, so Jesus corrects the Sadducee’s question. But Jesus also teaches us that there is no marriage as we understand it in heaven.
I pray: O Lord, I look forward to seeing you in the resurrection and living with you forever. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Amen.
Matthew 22:15–22 (ESV)
Paying Taxes to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are
true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But
Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose
likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.
Jesus’ followers owe loyalty and obedience not only to Him, but also to the human rulers that God Himself has established. Though Christians may be tempted to avoid taxes and shirk civic responsibilities, they must “render to Caesar.”
Civil authority and good governmental leaders are beneficial means whereby God blesses us.
I pray: “Thou who art ever nigh, Guarding with watchful eye, To Thee aloud we cry: God save the State!” Amen. (LSB 965:2)
Edward A. Engelbrecht,
The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1631.
Matthew 22:1–14 (ESV)
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his
servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves
have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.” ’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the
rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants,
‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went
out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he
saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the
attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
God had a plan of salvation for us. He has designed and built heaven for us. He invited the children of Israel to come. Yet the
children of Israel rebelled against God. He invited them, yet the went and did other things. In fact he destroyed them and their city (Jerusalem) because they had rebelled. He sent his Son and they didn’t listen to him either.
God’s message was then taken to the Gentiles and the heard and came to the Kingdom of God. The one guy who didn’t wear the wedding garment was someone who refused to God and came on his own merits. You can never be righteous on your
own, it must be Christ’s righteousness. He was taken out. This is what the parable is about.
pray: O Lord, I know that I have fallen short, I am a sinner, and I repent. I want to do better. Forgive me and restore me. Amen.
Matthew 21:33–46 (ESV)
The Parable of the Tenants
another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit
drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more
than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves,
‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard
comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“ ‘The stone that the
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And
the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they
perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.
Jesus warns His opponents that rejecting Him will ultimately lead to their exclusion from the Kingdom. Judgment is based on one’s reaction to Jesus. Those rejecting Him are excluded from God’s kingdom and are consigned
to the only other option: an eternity apart from God in hell. In His great wisdom and mercy, God used the murder of His Son to work salvation, and He used the rejection of Israel’s leaders to hasten the extension of the Kingdom to Gentiles.
I pray: Heavenly Father, keep us united by faith to Christ, our source of life, lest we ever turn away, reject Him, and so lose our hope
of salvation. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The
Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1630.