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Matthew  ◦   Chapter 22

1 Jesus told them another parable:2"God's kingdom of love is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son.3 When those who had received an invitation failed to come, he sent messengers asking them to come, but they refused.

4 "So he sent more messengers, instructing them, 'Tell those I invited that I have prepared a great banquet: the meats have been roasted and the tables set — the meal is ready. Come to the wedding feast.'

5 "But they ignored the messengers and went about their own interests: one went to supervise their fields, another to their business.6 The rest of them attacked, beat, and killed his messengers.7 The king was outraged and sent his soldiers to eliminate those murderers and burn their city.

8 "Then he instructed his messengers, 'The wedding feast is ready, but the ones I invited rejected the privilege and demonstrated themselves unfit.9 Go out to the general public–anyone you can find–and bring them in.'10 So the messengers fanned out across town and brought everyone they could find — whether sick or healthy — and the banquet hall was filled with guests.

11 "But when the king came in to visit with the guests, he noticed a guest who was not wearing the wedding garments the king had freely provided.12 'Friend,' the king asked, 'how is it that you are here without wearing the wedding attire?' The guest had nothing to say.

13 "Then the king instructed his servants, 'Bind this person over to their choice, put them out of the light into eternal darkness, where there will be terrible remorse and anguish of mind.'14 For many are invited, but few choose to accept."

15 Then the lawyers, theologians and religious leaders plotted to trap Jesus in his own words.16 They sent to him their theology students, along with representatives of Herod's political party. Pretending to be deferential, they said, "Teacher, we know you are wise and always do what is right, constantly teaching the truth in harmony with God's methods and principles. You don't let the opinions of others influence you, because you stand for truth and not for what's popular at the moment.17 Tell us then: In your opinion, is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

18 But Jesus wasn't fooled. He knew the evil in their hearts and that they plotted against him, so he said, "You connivers! Do you think you're clever, trying to trap me?19 Show me a coin used to pay taxes." So they brought him a Roman coin.20 He asked them, "Whose picture is on this coin? And whose name is on it?"

21 "Caesar's," they said.

Jesus looked straight at them and said,
"Then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."

22 When they heard this, they were stunned and didn't know what else to say, so they left him and went away.

23 Later that day, the lawyers and theology professors from the school of the Sadducees — those who teach that there is no resurrection — came to question Jesus.24 They asked: "Wise Teacher, Moses instructed us that if a man dies without having children, then his brother is to marry the widow and have children for him.25 Well, we recently had a situation involving seven brothers: The oldest married and died without having children, so his brother married the widow.26 But he also died without having children, as did the third brother who married her, and the rest of them — right down to the seventh.27 Eventually, the woman herself died.28 Can you tell us, when the dead awaken to live again, whose wife will she be since she was married to all seven?"

29 Jesus answered without hesitation, "Your entire question is flawed, because you understand neither what Scripture teaches nor God's power and methods.30 When those who sleep in the grave arise to life, it will be into God's heavenly kingdom, and they will be like the angels in heaven who neither marry nor are given in marriage.31 Regarding your speculation about the resurrection, you would have better conclusions if you remembered what God has said to you.32 God says: 'I am'–not 'I was'–'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead–those who no longer exist — but the God of the living."33 The crowds were absolutely astonished when they heard his teaching.

34 When the professors from the school of the Pharisees heard how Jesus had shut down the Sadducees, they put their heads together to come up with their own scheme to trap Jesus.35 One of their Supreme Court lawyers attempted to trick him with a question about the law:36 "Teacher, which is the greatest of all the commandments of God's Law?"

37 Jesus confidently said, "'Love the Lord your God with your entire being, heart, soul, and mind.'38 This is the foundation upon which life exists and is therefore the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is the natural product of the first: 'Love others as yourself.'40 All God's laws–design protocols–and the teachings of God's spokespersons are built upon these two commandments."

41 When the lawyers and theology professors from the school of the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?"

They answered instantly, "The son of David."

43 Jesus looked at them and asked, "Then how is it that David, inspired by the Spirit of God, calls him 'Lord'? For David says,44 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit on my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet."'

45 "So think about it: If David calls the Messiah 'Lord,' how can he be nothing more than his son born of natural descent?"46 Not one of those supposed experts on Scripture had a word to say, so from then on they didn't dare ask him any more of their trick questions.