Matthew 21:28-32; Mark 12:1-12; Matthew 21:33-46; Luke 20:9-19; Matthew 22:1-14; Mark 12:13-17; Matthew 22:15-22; Luke 20:20-26; Mark 12:18-27; Matthew 22:23-33; Luke 20:27-40
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Matthew: Jesus' teaching in Matthew chapter 21 verses 31 & 32 is convicting: "I assure you, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the way to life, and you didn't believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to turn from your sins and believe him." This last sentence is so important for our relationship with Jesus. Have we turned from our sins? Do we believe Jesus' teachings are showing us the way to life? Do we believe that Jesus is who he said he was? Do we believe that Jesus can heal us now and free us now from what enslaves us today? And do we believe that Jesus literally gives us the gift of life everlasting? Below is an image of "The Parable of the Vineyard" by John S. C. Abbott and Jacob Abbott from the Illustrated New Testament (1878):
Verse 42 is so beautiful as Jesus quotes from Psalm 118:22-23: "Then Jesus asked them, "Didn't you ever read this in the Scriptures? `The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous to see.'" And Jesus - like the son of the farmer in the parable just before this verse - was rejected and murdered. However, Jesus didn't remain dead - he rose on the third day and today he is the cornerstone of Christianity. He is the cornerstone of our churches. And probably the biggest question each of us needs to ask ourselves - Is Jesus the cornerstone of our life? Is he the foundation in our life which anchors and directs everything else we do? If Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives, then indeed as this verse closes with, it is marvelous to see! Commentary on the Story of Two Sons in today's Matthew readings is online at bible.org at this link.
Today we read in Matthew chapter 22 the Parable of the Wedding Banquet. This parable has always been so convicting to me personally. It's basically about a king preparing an amazing feast at a wedding banquet, and inviting a ton of people to come to the feast. But - the people don't accept the invitation! They are "too busy" – taking care of their fields and their businesses. And I think about this parable in my own life. Am I sometimes "too busy" to accept Jesus' invitation to be with him? Am I sometimes too focused on my work or my social life or other distractions? Do I get myself so "distracted" that I don't spend time with Jesus? And in doing this, am I missing out on an amazing spiritual feast? How about you? Do you believe that Jesus is inviting you to spend more time with him? Are you "too busy" to do so? Do you believe that spending time with Jesus will actually be an amazing spiritual feast for your soul? Will you accept Jesus' invitation to the wedding banquet?
In verse 21 we read Jesus' famous line ""give to Caesar what belongs to him. But everything that belongs to God must be given to God." What you may not realize about the preceding verses is that the Pharisees and the supporters of Herod were trying to trap Jesus. Per the OYB Companion commentary, The Pharisees, a religious group, opposed the Roman occupation of Palestine. The followers of Herod - or Herodians - were a political party that supported the policies of Rome and Herod Antipas. Normally these 2 groups did not get along at all - but they united here to try to trap Jesus. If Jesus had said it was right to pay taxes to Caesar, the Pharisees would say he is opposed to God. And if Jesus had said the taxes should not be paid, the Herodians would have had him arrested. Jesus answer amazed them both... Below is an image of the Denarius (Roman coin) of Tiberius Caesar. Tiberius (42 B.C. - A.D. 37) became Roman Emperor in A.D. 14. This would have been the picture on the coin shown to Jesus, when he asked in verse 20: "Whose picture and title are stamped on it?"
Worship God: Today's readings about Jesus inviting us to his feast remind me of the Francesca Battiselli song "I'm Letting Go:"
Are you letting go? Click here and let go!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: ""Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." Matthew 22:21 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that God would show you what in your life He would have you give only to Him.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!