A Manual For Discipleship

 

Disciples – Be Willing and Worthy for His Wedding

 

In Matthew 22 Jesus continues His interaction with the accusing religious leaders that were jealous and envious of His ministry and who were trying to trip Him up in some way. Jesus goes on the offensive with another parable. In the parable of the wedding feast Jesus addresses the issue of willingness and worthiness to become a part of God’s plans. Let’s look at this chapter.

 

The Wedding

 

Matthew 22:1-14 – “And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,3 “and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.4 “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’5 “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.6 “And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.7 “But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.9 ‘Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’10 “So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.12 “So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.13 “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  [1]

Jesus spoke in parables as a teaching device to illustrate and clearly communicate His message (22:1). Parables may seem difficult for us today because we are removed from the culture and setting in which they were originally given. But for the people of Jesus day, His parables made His teaching crystal clear and inescapable. There are a series of important truths for disciples to understand from this parable and the rest of this chapter. In this parable the “king” represents the Heavenly Father, “the son” refers to Jesus, and the “marriage” or “wedding” refers to God’s plan of redemption of the lost in the world.

First, this is a parable about God’s kingdom. Jesus begins His parable by saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like . . .”  (22:2a). God’s kingdom is God’s planned rule. There is a future literal kingdom of God on earth which will be led by Jesus after His Second Coming during His Millennial reign on earth (Revelation 20). But there is also God’s kingdom in the heart of people where He is invited to rule the heart. The kingdom of God is present where God rules the heart (Matthew 6:33). This parable is about the heart’s response to God’s invitation to join in His plans.

Second, this is a parable about God’s plans to exalt His Son. Jesus continued, “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son” (22:2). The emphasis here is on God the sovereign King and His plan, “a marriage.” A marriage takes a lot of planning, orchestrating and arranging. A wedding is only a small part of the marriage, but an important part because it marks a momentous event, a rite of passage into marriage. Notice too that the focus of this plan is “for his son.” God has a plan to exalt His Son. Jesus is the central focus of God’s plan and there are a number of verses which bear witness to this.

In Matthew 22 we saw Jesus referred to as the “cornerstone,” or the primary piece of the building that holds everything together (21:42-44). At the baptism of Jesus and at the Transfiguration we see God exalt and affirm Jesus His Son with the following words:

  • Matthew 3:16-17 – “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  [2]
  • Matthew 17:2,5 – “and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. . . .5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”  [3]

John the Baptist said of Jesus:

  • John 3:31 - “He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.”  [4]

Elsewhere in the New Testament it states:

  • Acts 2:36 - “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  [5]
  • Romans 14:9 – “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”  [6]
  • Philippians 2:5-11 – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  [7]
  • Colossians 1:18 – “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”  [8]

The entire Bible is about Jesus the Son of God and points to Him in God’s plan. In Hebrews it states:

  • Hebrews 10:7 – “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ ”   [9]

God’s plan is focused upon and revolves around His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to come to God (John 14:6). The Father glorifies the Son and the Son glorifies the Father in this plan. John is inspired to write:

  • John 17:1-5 – “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,2 “as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.5 “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”  [10]

What better way for Jesus to make this point than to use the illustration of a wedding?

Third, God’s plan began with particular invitations. Jesus then says, “and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding;” (22:3a). This king invited particular people to attend the wedding he was arranging for his son. It was a privilege to be invited to the king’s wedding for his son. In the same way, God in His sovereign plan of redemption invited Israel to participate in His plan in a special way. This was a great privilege and yet Israel refused. Let’s look a bit closer at this plan of God.

The Lord’s plan was to bless “all the families of the earth” through Abraham/s descendents. In the Abrahamic Covenant it states:

  • Genesis 12:1-3 – “Now the Lord had said to Abram: 1 “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  [11]

We know from God’s revelation of His plan that He intended to bless the entire world by sending His Son Jesus to make a way for people to be forgiven their sins and come into a personal saved relationship with God. The Bible reveals how a Messiah would come from the lineage of Abraham who would provide of salvation to a world lost in sin. Where does Israel come in?

Israel in God’s redemptive plan

The nation of Israel developed from the Abrahamic lineage and was to play a major role in God’s redemptive plan. God’s plan focused upon the nation of Israel as His primary means to reach the world with His redemptive truth. Israel’s role in God’s redemptive plan is seen in the following verses received from God through Moses on Mount Sinai stating:

  • Exodus 19:6 – “‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” [12]

Priests are intermediaries and Israel was to be a kingdom of people, a “holy nation” who would lead the Gentile world to God. To be “holy” means to be uniquely set apart for a particular use of God, and therefore Israel was to fulfill her Holy role as a nation that shed God’s light in a dark and sinful Gentile (non-Jew) World.

The privilege of Israel

To accomplish this calling Israel was entrusted with God’s word which Paul is inspired to note in the book of Romans when he states:

  • Romans 3:1-2 – “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”  [13]

Later in the book of Romans Paul explains his burden for the people of Israel and their privileges when he is inspired to write:

  • Romans 9:1-5 – “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”  [14]

It was and is a great privilege to be used by God in His redemptive plan. Paul goes on to proclaim the sovereignty of God in His planning and oversight of His plan (Romans 9:6-28).

The problem of Israel

He then explains that Israel, though blessed with great privileges from God, refused to cooperate with God’s will and so God moved to work His plan through the Gentile church. Paul writes:

  • Romans 9:29-33 – “And as Isaiah said before: “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.33 As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”   [15]

The problem Israel experienced is that they tried to establish their own righteousness before God, in their own strength, rather than by faith in His revealed route to righteousness by faith. Paul writes:

  • Romans 10:1-4 – “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  [16]

Paul explains that salvation and right standing before God comes through faith in Christ, not human work to keep the Law and that is the absolute truth for Jews and Gentiles, for every human being, there is no other way. Paul says it this way:

  • Romans 10:8-13 – “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”   [17]

Righteousness is a matter of the heart and only God can replace a sinful heart with a righteous one.

Israel’s fatal mistake

Paul is then inspired by God to explain the tool of reaching the lost world as being the revelation of God’s word and that God’s word is the tool of evangelism of the lost. Israel failed to recognize this, which is why Jesus repeatedly prods His opponents with the phrase, “Have you not read?” (Matthew 12:3,5; 19:4; 22:31). In Matthew 22:39 Jesus points to their negligence of the Scriptures as the direct cause of their mistaken views saying:

  • Matthew 22:29 – “Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”  [18]

Back in the book of Romans Paul also expresses the importance of God’s word in God’s evangelistic plan and the folly of Israel’s neglect of it when he is inspired to write:

  • Romans 10:14-18 – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 1 “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” [19]

Paul anticipates the objection that some might bring that Israel disobeyed in ignorance (10:18). But he argues that Israelis without excuse because God’s truth, “has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” Does this mean that the church is now “Israel” as some teach? (E.g. Roman Catholicism). Is God finished with Israel?

God’s prophetic plan for Israel

It would be wrong for those in the church to conclude that God was finished with Israel. God is not finished with Israel but in part, has turned to working through the Gentile church to “Provoke you [i.e. Israel] to jealousy” (Romans 10:19). In Romans 11 Paul is inspired by God to explain that God will again graft in Israel and use her in His plan when “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25).

The Bible speaks of a seven-year period during which God will pour out His wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. He will do this to purge and cleanse the world in order to prepare it for Christ’s millennial reign on earth. This seven-year period is referred to as The Tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble, and the seventieth week of Daniel. Because God will not pour out His wrath on the righteous (see Genesis 18:25-33; Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9), His church will be removed by rapture prior to the seven-year period that He pours out His indignation and wrath on this sinful world (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). When the “fullness of the Gentiles has come,” when the last Gentile has been saved according to God’s count, the church will be raptured to heaven to stay with Jesus for seven years celebrating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and then to return with Christ at the 2nd Coming (Revelation 19). Evidently, God in His sovereign determination has set an exact number of those who will be saved from the Gentle nations.

When the church is removed evil in the world will go unrestrained except for God’s people who will be awakened during this time (2 Thessalonians 2:7). The Tribulation is designed by God not only to shake up a sinful world, but also to wake up the nation of Israel. When the church is raptured, God will use the circumstances to bring a holy revival to Israel in which they receive Jesus as their Messiah and turn to God in faith. God will then work through Israel whom He will preserve through the Tribulation much the same as He preserved Noah through the Flood (See Genesis 6-9; Revelation 7 and 14).

God’s irrevocable blessings

He goes on to say that all Israel will be saved and that His gifts and calling is “irrevocable.” The apostle Paul writes:

  • Romans 11:23-32 – “And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.”  [20]

Just as God grafted Israel out of His divine vine, He can graft them back in and will do so. And incredibly Paul is inspired to tell us that “All Israel will be saved” (11:26). They may seem as enemies of the gospel for the most part now, but God promises to continue His work in and through them in the future.

Praise God for His prophetic plan

This is a glorious overview of God’s sovereign plan to which the apostle Paul can’t help but break out into praise to God saying:

  • Romans 11:33-36 – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?”35 “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?”36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”  [21]

Apply this to your particular life disciple. God has a plan for you too. It’s a glorious plan full of God’s mercy and grace. It’s a glorious marriage inaugurated by a wedding of you to Him by faith. Don’t let His invitation pass you by, answer His call in faith and trust Him. Sadly, not all who are invited accept God’s invitation.

Fourth, some refuse God’s invitation despite repeated invitations. This sad truth is spoken by Jesus saying, “and they were not willing to come.” (22:3b). After the initial invitations were made, “again” other “servants” or prophets, were sent out to explain what the invitees would be missing out on if they didn’t come (22:4). There was a great wedding feast planned; the king had spared no expense for his sons wedding. But the invitees still refused

Fifth, there were three reasons why invitees turned down the invitation to the wedding. First, “they made light of it” (22:5a). Today we might say, “They blew it off,” it just wasn’t important to them. This was the highest act of disrespect to the One planning the wedding for His Son. Imagine if you were planning a wedding, a day that is of utmost importance, and when you sent out your invitations people didn’t only not come, but they returned the invitations with a mocking remark. That’s what is happening here. Second, “they went their ways . . .” (22:5b). They went to their farms and businesses, in other words, they felt there were more important things to do than to respond to God’s invitation. God’s plan just wasn’t a priority for them, they had their own agenda and set of preferences that were more important to them than anything God had planned. Third, they “seized his servants” (22:6). Not only didn’t they care about God’s invitation, but also they acted hatefully and persecuted His messengers. It’s as though God’s invitation was an unwanted intrusion on their lives and they reacted angrily toward those sent with God’s invitations.

Sixth, refusing God’s invitation puts one under His fury and wrath. Jesus said of the father whose invitations had been rejected, “he was furious” (22:7). Those who reject God’s invitation are under His wrath. The bible tells us:

  • John 3:36 - “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”  [22]
  • Romans 1:18 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”  [23]

The king in the parable sent armies and destroyed those who rejected his invitation (22:7b). There is no basis here for the aberrant teaching of the annihilation of the lost such as is taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Later in the parable the “outer darkness” of eternal hell is alluded to (22:13).

Seventh, those who reject God’s invitation are unworthy to attend the wedding but God’s plan goes on and He opens the doors of His wedding plan to all. Jesus then alludes to the transfer from Israel as the means to accomplish His plans to the Gentile (predominantly) Church (22:9-10). God’s call goes out to all.

Eighth, those who come to the wedding need to be dressed right. When the king comes to see those who responded to his invitation, he comes across one who is inappropriately dressed (22:11). Think of it, you wouldn’t go to a wedding in cut off jeans and a torn T-shirt. No, you would dress appropriately. What is the appropriate dress for those who come to the wedding of the King of Kings? To dress right for the King’s wedding, you most dress with His robe of righteousness. You have to cover yourself with His robe of righteousness. Read what the Bible tells us in this regard:

  • Isaiah 61:10 – “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”  [24]
  • Revelation 19:7-8 - “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”  [25]

You can’t come to the King’s wedding in your own clothes, in your own works. You must clothe yourself with what Jesus has done for you on the cross and in the resurrection. Paul points this out when he is inspired to write:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  [26]

You see our “righteous acts” are those done in faith in the Son of God and what he has done on the cross for us. Paul later uses this image of robbing oneself with Christ to show its practicality by saying:

  • Romans 13:11-14 – “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  [27]

To be robbed properly for Christ’s wedding we put on Jesus Christ like a robe of righteousness, meaning we live out our walk with God dependent upon Him, not our own fleshly efforts. Without this robe a person is guilty and speechless before the King (Matthew 22:12; Romans 3:9-20), and will be cast into the outer darkness of hell (22:13).

Ninth, many are called, but few are chosen (22:14). What does this mean? It means the invitation to participate in God ‘s redemptive plan is extended to “many” but only those who are robed in Christ’s righteousness, trusting in Him, are “chosen” and accepted.

Tenth, you have to come on the King’s terms of invitation. It is a shame that this parable tells us that some will respond to God’s invitation but will come inappropriately dressed, or inadequately relying on something other than faith alone in Christ alone for their acceptance to the wedding salvation. Pastor Chuck Smith makes the following comment on this stating:

It seems rather sad that a person would actually respond to the invitation to come, but still not be accepted because he came on the wrong basis. I think that many times we make a great mistake in appealing to people to come to Jesus Christ for all of the perks and the benefits that they might enjoy. Your life all disturbed? You’re upset? You don’t know what to do? Well, Jesus can bring you peace. And they come for the benefits, rather than recognizing that I am hopeless and helpless, a sinner, and I need help. And that repentance from my sin, there are many who have never really repented of their sin. They continue in their deeds of unrighteousness though they have added the dimension to their life of Sunday attendance in church. But it hasn’t really had any effect in the transforming of their lives. They don’t have the wedding garments. They are not clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And thus, when the time comes and judgment is made, they will not enter into the kingdom but will be cast into what Jesus described as “outer darkness.”  [28]

 

This parable of the Wedding Feast is filled with meaning and challenge for the disciple. The tension is mounting between Jesus and His religious opposition. In the remainder of the chapter we see three examples of what makes one unworthy of attending God’s salvation wedding plan.

Those Unworthy For The Wedding

Jesus has just taught a parable on God’s invitation and people’s receptivity to it. What makes one unworthy to attend God’s wedding? The following interaction between Jesus and His opposition will reveal that to us.  Just as the lamb of the Passover feast was to be inspected for about five days (see Exodus 12:3,6), so too Jesus, the Passover Lamb that takes away the sins of the world was now to be inspected with questions by the religious leaders (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7).

Religion, wickedness and hypocrisy makes one unworthy of God’s wedding

Matthew 22:15-22 – “Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.17 “Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?19 “Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius.20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.”  [29]

Religion is human work to reach God. These Pharisees “plotted,” against Jesus. They thought they knew better than God and His Son. The Pharisees were obsessed with keeping the minutia of what they interpreted to be the Law of God.

The Pharisees tried to use the consensus hatred for Rome to trip up Jesus. They came to him with a politically charged question about paying taxes to Caesar. Someone has warned that you should never discuss politics and religion amongst friends and family because these two topics are sure to create arguments. You see Caesar claimed to be a “god” and therefore many Jews felt that to pay taxes to one who claimed to be “god” was blasphemous. If Jesus told the people they should pay taxes to Caesar, the Pharisees felt He risked falling into disfavor with the people. If He responded that the people should not pay taxes, the Pharisees though it would place Him in disfavor with Rome and liable to arrest.

Jesus said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?” He saw right through their weak plot and nailed them for what they were wicked and hypocrites (22:18). Wickedness” here is translated from the Greek term PORNERIA (Strong’s #4189) which means, “wicked’ depraved; malice; evil purposes and desires; malice; iniquity). These Pharisees were conniving in their own lustful way and trying to trip up Jesus and bring Him down to their level. They were hypocrites because they were presenting themselves to Jesus as genuinely interested in what He had to say, but they were only trying to rip Him down.

Jesus shows us that we need to give the government (Caesar) what is due them, and to God that which belongs to God (22:21). His response to the Pharisees is very significant and the opposition didn’t walk away and leave Him alone for no reason.

Whose image and inscription is this?”

Interestingly, it appears Jesus did not even have money of His own and had to ask a bystander to give Him a coin to point out the characteristics of it (22:19). Then He asks, “Whose image and inscription is this?” (22:20). His opponents rightly answered that it was “Caesar’s” image that was on the coin (22:21a). Then Jesus gives His answer, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (22:21). The point He makes here should not be missed. In effect Jesus is saying, if Caesar’s image is on the coin, pay taxes because the money belongs to him; and because you are created IN GOD’S IMAGE (Genesis 1:26), you belong to Him and therefore should give yourself to God. Jesus used their plot and turned it right around on them. They knew they were deficient in their walk with God (e.g. Matthew 15:1-9). Jesus pointed out their deficiency in no uncertain terms and that is why they walked away, they had been publicly shamed.

Those who follow God in a half-hearted, self-righteous way are unworthy to attend God’s wedding.

Rendering Unto Caesar

The Disciple is often confused as to their relationship to governing authorities. Just how do we render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s?  This of course, refers to the disciple’s relationship to government. In the epistle to the Romans the apostle Paul is inspired to explain the disciple’s responsibility to the government they live in. He is inspired to write:

  • Romans 13:1-7 – “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”  [30]

These verses tell us that governments are “appointed by God” and therefore receive their authority from God. Because of this “every soul” should subject themselves to the governing authorities in their locality or country. Governments are put in place to keep the peace. The only time a disciple has grounds to resist the governing authority is in the case where the governing authority contradicts and opposes the Higher Authority of God. In such cases the disciple must prayerfully pursue the direction of God in the Spirit.

Rendering unto God

When we continue in the second part of Romans 13 we see what it is that we render unto God. In the second portion of this chapter Paul is inspired to write:

  • Romans 13:8-14 – “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  [31]

Without going into too much detail, these verses show us that what we need to render unto God is “love” to those around us because love fulfills God’s Law. Secondly, we need to render unto God a persevering constancy in our everyday walk, a walk that puts on the Lord Jesus Christ and makes no provision for the lusts of the flesh.

 

Doctrinal liberalism and ignorance of the Scripture can make one unworthy for God’s wedding

Matthew 22:23-33 – “The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,24 saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.25 “Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother.26 “Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh.27 “Last of all the woman died also.28 “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”29 Jesus answered and said to them, You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.31 “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,32 I am 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.”33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.”  [32]

The Sadducees were the religiously liberal rationalists of Jesus’ day. They did not believe in miracles or in the resurrection. They thought they were superior to Jesus in intellect and so came to Him with what they perceived in their weak minds, was a flaw in Jesus’ teaching. Their unworthiness was rooted in their ignorance and disregard for God’s word.

Ignorance of God’s word leads to spiritual powerlessness

Jesus said to the Sadducees, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (22:29). Notice, they were mistaken, (they did not know the truth) because they did not know God’s word. Secondly, because they did not know God’s word, they did not know the “power of God” either. God’s word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). The word translated “power” here is derived from the Greek term DUNAMIS (Strong’s #1411) and refers to, “strength; power; ability; might; and virtue.” This is the same term used by Jesus when He instructs the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit:

 

  • Acts 1:8 - “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  [33]

God’s word contains His truth and the directions to receive His power to live by and minister in. God’s power and His word are inextricably intertwined. Without God’s word, you aren’t going to be dressed right for His wedding.

Jesus straightens out the Sadducees false concept of the afterlife by explaining that there is no marriage in heaven. Perhaps these Sadducees were thinking like modern day Mormons who teach that marriage is eternal and provides the means by which deified Mormons can populate their own worlds in the afterlife. If that was the case, they are sadly mistaken because Jesus clearly states here that there is no marriage in heaven (22:30).

That the dead are resurrected to afterlife is pointed out by Jesus who refers to the patriarchs and that, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (22:32). At the time that the scripture quoted by Jesus (“I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ – 22:32a) was received (Jesus quotes from Exodus 3:6), Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead for more than 430 years (Exodus 12:40), yet God still refers to Himself as the “God of . . .” these deceased patriarchs. This is the point Jesus makes, that if there was no resurrection as the Sadducees claimed, then why would God claim to be the “God of the living” 430 years after the patriarchs were dead? Jesus demonstrated from the Scriptures that the Sadducees’ doctrine was false and failed to take into account the truth of the Scriptures. The crowds were blown away at how easily Jesus thwarted the liberals attempt to entangle Him (22:33). Those who disregard God’s word are unworthy for His wedding.

Legalism makes one unworthy for God’s wedding

Matthew 22:34-40 – “But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 “This is the first and great commandment.39 “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’40 “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”   [34]

A “lawyer” then comes to Jesus. The rabbis taught that there were some 613 commandments of the law (248 laws that were positive exhortations in nature and 365 negative prohibitions).[35] They came to believe that it was impossible to keep all of these laws. The inevitable conclusion of those who would seek God on the basis of keeping law is that you cannot keep the law. This leads to rationalization of ones breaking the law and that is what happened amongst the “lawyers,” or scribes, those skilled and devoted to the law. They taught that since no one could keep all of the law that a person needed to focus on the more important laws. You could slide a bit on the lesser laws, but had to keep religiously the greater laws. They taught therefore, that there are degrees of sin. This is what is taught in Roman Catholicism when reference is made to mortal and venial sins. This lawyer wanted to know what Jesus believed to be the greatest commandment.

Jesus answers the lawyer by pointing Him to the Shema (22:37-38; Deuteronomy 6:4-5). The Shema is precious to the Jews. It is the Shema that is written and kept in the Mezuzah on the doorposts of Jewish homes. Orthodox Jews often wear phylacteries on their foreheads or forearms with the Shema written inside them. The message of the Shema is, your love for God must be supreme above everything else. Jesus then points to the second greatest commandment stating that one had to love their neighbor as they loved themselves (22:39). There are a few things to make note of in these verses.

 

 

You don’t have to learn to love yourself

Notice, Jesus says nothing about learning to love yourself first in order to be able to love your neighbor. Jesus simply assumes that people already love themselves, (no reference to self-love was needed here). The bible tells us that we all love ourselves:

  • Ephesians 5:29 – “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”  [36]

You see, “For no one ever hated his own flesh.” No one ever hated their own flesh, or hated himself or herself.  Now you might be saying, “I hate myself; I’m too fat; I’m not smart enough; I don’t make enough money . . .” But don’t you see the truth here that the reason you are so dissatisfied with your self is because you love your self so much you feel you should have better? The ultimate and most thoroughly selfish act is suicide. Suicide is self-destruction based on a love for self that is so obsessive that you seek to destroy yourself because you don’t have what YOU want. No, people don’t have to learn how to love themselves, they already do.

To love God, love your neighbor

The phrase that Jesus uses to relate these two great commandments is very important. Jesus says, “And the second is like it” (22:39). The word “like” here is translated from the Greek term HOMOIOS (Strong’s number 3664) meaning, “like, resembling, such as, the same as.” [37] Don’t miss the point Jesus is making here. It’s as though Jesus were saying that this second commandment is inextricably linked to the first commandment.  In other words, you love God by loving your neighbor. And indeed we see Him making this point later in Matthew when He states the criteria used to separate the sheep from the goats at His 2nd coming. Jesus describes the criteria in terms of loving acts done or not done to those around us:

  • Matthew 25:40,45 -  “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ . . . . 45 “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”  [38]

In the first epistle of John the apostle known as “the apostle of love,” is inspired to show this link as well when he writes:

  • 1 John 3:16-19 – “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.”  [39]
  • 1 John 4:7-8,20 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”  [40]

Therefore, on these two commandments rest the Law and the Prophetic writings (22:40). But how can we love? Anyone who has tried to love in their own strength knows that their attempts fall far short of the love God describes in His word? How can we love?

What is God’s love like?

The love that the Bible speaks of is not a mushy sentimental kind of love, (though God’s love is affectionate). No, it is a love that is active, faithful, and persevering. The apostle Paul described it like this:

  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a – “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails.”  [41]

We see that kind of love in Jesus. Indeed you could replace the word “love” with the name of “Jesus” and it would ring true. But could we substitute our name in the place of the word “love” and have the paragraph ring as true? Ah, that is the issue; how can we love like Jesus loves?

How can we love?

The only way a person can love the way God requires they love, is to have God give us His love. That love of God is given only to the ones who have turned from their sins to receive forgiveness from God through faith along in Christ alone and who have been filled with the Spirit of God, regenerated. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit fills the believer with love at conversion:

  • Romans 5:5 – “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  [42]

You will never love fully or completely the way God desires a person to love, until you accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord and are indwelled by the Holy Spirit at your regeneration or spiritual rebirth. To love like God wants us to love, you must receive that love from Him by faith. This is what the apostle John teaches when he is inspired to write:

  • 1 John 4:7-10 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  [43]

Love, “is of God,” love is, “not that we loved God.” No, when we look at the two commandments Jesus pointed two as being the greatest we see that they are very literally the crux of the Bible. When you take the vertical love due to God and cross it with the horizontal love due our neighbor, you get a cross, the cross of Jesus. If we are going to love, we need to turn to Jesus.

Why should we love?

You might be thinking, “Why do we have to love? Isn’t going to church good enough? I serve here and there, why do I have to love the people I’m around?” Well, besides the fact that, as we’ve shown, we love God by loving others, there is also the issue of appreciation. We love God because He first loved us. Read what the Bible says in this regard:

  • Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  [44]
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – “ For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”  [45]
  • 1 John 4:19 – “We love Him because He first loved us.”  [46]

When Paul notes the fruit of the Spirit he uses the singular form of the word “fruit” stating:

  • Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit [singular form of term “fruit”] of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  [47]

This love the Spirit produces in us is evidence that we have been born again and truly belong to God. As the apostle John writes:

  • 1 John 4:8 – “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  [48]

Love is the greatest because love is from God and shows we have His Spirit within us.

We do not love to be saved

We need to caution here that the way to salvation is not love. Love is not a way to work out way into the good graces of God or to attain salvation. If we put attempts to love before faith in Jesus, it is a dead work; but if we put faith in Jesus before love, it becomes a fruitful good work. Salvation is by grace, not any work that we do (Ephesians 2:1-9). But once saved, God has a plan for us to love those around us via good works (Ephesians 2:10). If we put love before faith, it becomes a work and no one can be saved by his or her own works.

You can’t be saved by keeping laws

Jesus is not teaching that salvation is based on the works of keeping these two laws; He is simply stating what the two most important Laws in God’s word are. The Bible teaches that it is impossible to be saved from one’s sins by keeping laws. The following verses confirm this by stating:

  • Galatians 2:16 - “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”  [49]
  • Galatians 3:10-13 – “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),”  [50]
  • James 2:10 – “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”  [51]

The Law is like a chain that stretches from heaven to earth. Those who seek heaven on the basis of keeping the law are suspended on the end of such a chain. If a person breaks one law, it is like breaking one link in that chain and they plummet to the depths of eternity and darkness. The verse above alludes to how one may be saved apart from the Law, and Jesus alludes to it too in the final words of Matthew 22.

The One Who Can Make Us Worthy For God’s Wedding

Matthew 22:41-46 – “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.”43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:44 The Lord said to my Lord, 1 “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’?45 “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.”  [52]

Jesus doesn’t leave the lawyer hanging on the law; he goes on to ask a question of His own. Jesus asks a question about the identity of “the Christ,” or Messiah (22:41). “Whose Son is He?” Jesus asks (22:42). The Pharisees respond with a pat answer that Messiah is, “The Son of David” (22:42). This was an accepted Messianic title used by those of Jesus’ day, but it is clear they few knew the significance of such a title. Jesus seeks to bring them into touch with the deeper meaning of this word.

Notice too, that Jesus refers to David’s writings as having been written, “in the Spirit” a clear evidence that Jesus believed in the inspiration of the Bible (see 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Jesus over and over again uses the word of God authoritatively and His disciples should do the same.

Jesus then goes on to quote from Psalm 110. Jesus repeatedly goes to the word of God to make His case to His opposition. You might wonder, “What’s the meaning of the way David said, “The Lord said to my Lord””?  Here is where it is important to have an understanding of the culture of Jesus’ day. For a father to refer to his son as, “lord,” would never happen. For a father to refer to his son as “lord,” meant that his son was greater than him and was culturally repugnant and unacceptable. This was especially true in the patriarchal system of the day. Therefore, Jesus points this out and asks why did David refer to his successor in this way. It was because David, in the Spirit, was referring to One greater than himself, Messiah.

David, in the Spirit, is sharing a spiritual scene that has been revealed to him. We see David tell us that what he heard “the LORD” (i.e. the Father) say to “my Lord” (i.e. Jesus), “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (22:44). The point here is that David in his messianic psalm was not referring to Messiah as simply a human successor to an earthly throne, but to One who was greater than any human king. That Person we know from Scripture is the KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16). Jesus is pointing out that the One David referred to here as Messiah, was not merely his human son, but the Son of God. You can’t keep the Law in your own strength, but God has made a way to be righteous through His Son. The reason for this is that Messiah “Lord” is given equal authority with the ‘LORD” when the verses says, “Sit at My right hand.”

Conclusion

God has a redemptive plan, a loving redemptive plan, and central to that plan is His Son Jesus Christ. A wedding and a marriage are the punctiliar and progressive events in which love is entered into and learned. Jesus chose well when He chose the wedding and marriage to illustrate the kingdom of heaven. And He has presented you and me with an invitation to participate in that loving plan. If you refuse to accept His invitation you are setting yourself up for regret. An unknown writer expressed such a future regret when they wrote:

When I stand at the judgment seat of Christ

And He shows me His plan for me;

The plan of my life as it might have been

Had He had His way, and I see

How I blocked Him here and I checked Him there

And I would not yield my will,

Shall I see grief in my Savior's eyes;

Grief though He loves me still?

Oh, He'd have me rich, and I stand there poor,

Stripped of all but His grace,

While my memory runs like a hunted thing

Down the paths I can't retrace.

Then my desolate heart will well-nigh break

With tears that I cannot shed.

I'll cover my face with my empty hands

And bow my uncrowned head.

No. Lord of the years that are left to me

I yield them to Thy hand.

Take me, make me, mold me

To the pattern Thou hast planned. [53]

 

Disciple, are you willing to attend that wedding? Disciple, are you worthy  through faith in Christ alone to attend that wedding? Are you dressed right in the righteous robe of Jesus? Are you loving God supremely by loving those around you? Don’t pass on God’s invitation to His wedding. Be willing and worthy in Him. Come to His wedding.

 

 

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[6]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[8]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[18]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[19]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[20]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[21]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[22]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[23]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[26]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[27]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[28] Chuck Smith, The Word For Today audiotape #8021 (WFT Box 8000, Costa Mesa CA 92628)

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[33]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House) 1930. p. 177.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[38]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[39]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[41]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[42]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[43]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[44]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[45]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[46]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[47]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[48]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[49]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[50]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[51]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[52]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[53] http://www.christianglobe.com/illustrations/theDetails.asp?whichOne=r&whichFile=regret