Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Thirty-one: Parables - Taxes - Marriage in the Resurrection - Greatest Commandment   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Thirty-one:

Parables of vineyard and wedding feast - Paying taxes - Marriage in the resurrection - Greatest commandment



PARABLES OF THE VINEYARD

     It was another day or two later, and Jesus was back teaching
in the Temple once more. And as usual the Pharisees were not too
far away. Knowing their deceitful hearts, He said to them, "What
do you think about this? A man had two sons, and he went to the
first and said, 'Son, go and work in my vineyard today.' And the
son answered, 'No, I will not!' But a little while later he
repented and went to work in the vineyard. The man went to his
second son and said the same thing, and that son answered, 'Yes,
sir, I will go,' but he did not. Now, which of the two did the
will of his father?"
     The Pharisees were quick to answer. They said, "Why the
first son of course." Jesus then said to them, "It is true what I
say unto you, the tax collectors and the harlots (prostitutes) go
into the Kingdom of God BEFORE you. For John came to you in the
pathway of righteousness, and you did NOT believe him, but the
tax collectors and the harlots DID believe him; and even when you
saw what was happening, you still did not afterwards repent and
believe him" (Mat.21: 28-32).

     Many of those Pharisees were not blinded, and they will miss
out on being in the Kingdom of God, for they were not willing to
repent of their wrong attitudes, thoughts, and practices. Some of
those Pharisees were blinded to the truth at that time, some
later, as we shall see in the book of Acts, did repent and accept
Christ as the Messiah and the Savior. They shall be in the first
resurrection, at Christ's glorious coming, along with many of the
tax collectors and harlots of Jesus' day, who also repented of
their sins, and walked in the way of righteousness. 
     But Jesus was here giving a strong message to those
Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees, who gave lip service to God,
but whose hearts were far from humble repentance, who were far
from walking in the light of God's straight and narrow pathway.
He was telling those who were not blinded to the truths of God
that He was teaching and preaching (and John the Baptist who did
likewise), that they would be outside of the Kingdom, looking in.
They would be among those that He mentioned earlier in His
teachings, that would be crying and gnashing their teeth, and
saying, "Lord, did we not speak in your name, did we not do
miracles in your name, did we not regularly attend church
services in your name?" And Jesus will say to them, "I never knew
you, go away from me, you who work lawlessness."

     Jesus went on to say to them, and to all that stood around
Him:

     "Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a
vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it,
and built a tower. He rented it out for others to work and
produce from, while he went into a far country for a long stay. 
Time went by and he sent a servant to the tenants, that they
should give to him some fruit from his vineyard. But the tenants
beat the servant and sent him away with nothing. And he
sent another servant, but the tenants beat him up, wounding him
in the head and treating him shamefully. He sent another servant,
and that one they killed. So it was with many others that he
sent, some they beat and some they even killed. The owner of the
vineyard said within himself, 'What shall I do?' He had a
precious son, and he said to himself, 'I will send him to them,
surely they will honor and respect him!' But when the tenants saw
the son they said among each other, 'This is the very heir that
he has sent to us. Let us kill him, that the inheritance may be
ours.' And they cast him out of the vineyard and did indeed kill
him. What then do you think the owner of the vineyard will
do to them? Yes, you know very well what he will do. He will come
and destroy those tenants, and give the vineyard to others who
will give him the fruit he deserves in its season."

     When those standing by heard this they knew what He was
getting at and what He was saying to them. They said, "God
forbid!"

     Jesus looking at them even more intensely said, "Have you
never read in the Scriptures: 'The very stone which the builders
rejected has become the head of the corner; this is the Lord's
doing, and it is marvellous in your eyes'? Everyone who fall on
that stone will be broken to pieces; but when that stone fall on
any one it will crush him to powder. Therefore I tell you, the
Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people
producing the fruits of it."

     The chief priest and the scribes and the Pharisees in the
crowd hearing all this perceived correctly that the man called
Jesus was speaking about them first, and the nation of Judah as a
whole, secondly. It was they who He was saying were the evil
tenants beating and killing servants that God was sending, and
that God would destroy them, and give His work that was entrusted
to them, to other people who would bring forth the fruits that
God wanted to receive. 
     Once more, instead of repenting, because they knew the very
truth that Jesus was telling them, they just hardened their
hearts even more. They tried within that hour to figure a way to
lay hands on Jesus to arrest Him for speaking those words, but
they feared the multitude of people that were all around, for the
people estimated in their minds that Jesus was a prophet from God
(Mat.21: 33-46; Mark 12: 1-12; Luke 20: 9-19).
     
INVITED GUESTS TO A MARRIAGE FEAST

     And again Jesus spoke to them in a parable, saying: "The
Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage
feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who had
been invited to the marriage; but they would not come. Again he
sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, look, I
have made all things ready for my dinner, oxen and fat calves
have been killed, and everything is ready; so come to the
marriage feast.' But they made light of it and laughed and went
away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest
took hold of his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed
them. The king was angry, and he sent his army and destroyed
those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his
servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were first invited
are not worthy. Go to the highways and roads and lanes, and
invite to the marriage feast as many as you can find.' And those
servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they
could find, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled
with guests."

     Jesus was here plainly telling them that the Jewish nation,
and especially its religious leaders, who should have been able
to recognize God's truth, were the first ones to be invited to
the Kingdom of God, through the preaching and teaching of John
the Baptist and now Jesus Himself. They not only refused the
invitation, but did shame and even killed some of the servants of
God sent to them over the centuries. 
     Jesus was telling them in pretty plain words that God, as
the king of the parable, would send an army that would come
against Judah and its religious leaders, to destroy them and burn
the city. This did take place in 70 A.D. when the Roman general
Titus came with his army against Judah and Jerusalem.

     The parable did not end there. Jesus went on to say, "But
when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man
who did not have on a wedding garment; and so he said to him,
'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And
the man was speechless, he had no answer to the question. Then
the king said to the attendants, his servants, 'Bind this man
hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men
will weep and gnash their teeth.' So I say to you, many are
called, but few are chosen" (Mat.22: 1-14).

     Here Jesus is telling people that although many will be
called to the Kingdom of God, after Judah and its people had been
given first chance to enter, though many from other nations would
be called (and we must remember that none can come to God unless
God first calls them by His Spirit - John 6: 44, 45, 63, 65) to
enter the Kingdom, there are conditions to meet in order to
inherit that Kingdom. One is repentance (Luke 13: 1-3) and
the other is to put on the righteousness of God as a garment
(Rev.19: 7-8 with Ps.119:171 with Mat.19: 17). Keeping the
commandments and works of God does not earn you salvation, for
you are saved by God's grace (Eph.2: 8), but doing the works of
God is expected of you (Eph. 2: 10). You are to have an attitude
of mind that is the garment of the wedding feast, in order to be
at the wedding feast and not be cast out. Those who do not have
the condition of the mind-set of a repentant and obeying
attitude, who are willing to say with Christ, "Not my will be
done, but your will be done Father," just will not enter the
marriage supper of the Lamb that is pictured in the book of
Revelation chapter 19.  They will be, as we have seen many times
already in the words of Christ's ministry, in earlier chapters, 
"on the outside looking in" to use a figure of speech.
     Many may be called to walk in the way that leads to the
wedding feast of the Kingdom, but you have to be among the
"chosen" in order to enter and live for all eternity in the
Kingdom. God does the calling, but you personally have to choose
to come under the conditions to be in, and remain in, the wedding
feast. Many may be called, but only the chosen inherit the feast
of the Kingdom of God.

CONCERNING PAYING TAXES

     The Pharisees were ever wanting to trap Jesus in His words
of response to their questions. This time they thought they had
the very question that would finally trip Him up and get Him in
hot water with all the people of Judah. This time they had the
help of the Herodians who also came with some of the disciples of
the Pharisees to question Him. Now, the Herodians were a party
among the Jews, formed probably under Herod the Great, and
basically held that it was right to pay homage to a sovereign who
might be able to bring the friendship of Rome and other
advantages. They had no title to reign in any way over the Jews
either by law or by religion.  They differed from the Pharisees
on the answer to the question both parties would now put to
Jesus, but here they joined forces with them in disguised but
open opposition to Jesus. They also saw Jesus as an enemy. The
Herodians then were something more than a political party and
something less than a religious sect.

     Both groups came to Jesus and with butter in their mouths,
or speaking in a way that would have turned stone to butter, they
said, "Oh teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no
man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach
the way of God."
     What a bunch of lies were now pouring out of those people
who represented the sect of the Pharisees and the band of
Herodians. They did not believe one word of what they had just
said to Jesus.
     They continued with the question that they were sure would
be the final death blow to Jesus' popularity with the people, "Is
it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or
should we not?" Most in Judaea did not like being under the Roman
power. If Jesus said yes, give taxes to Rome, the Pharisees
thought He would then be on the "outs" with the people, and if He
said no, do not give taxes to Rome, then the Pharisees could
report Him to the Roman authorities, as someone trying to turn
the people against Rome. Either way they thought they had Him
this time.  

     They could not fool Jesus for one second. He knew exactly
what was going on and why they had come to Him with this
question. He knew they were a group filled with hypocrisy, on
both sides. He said to them, "Why do you try to put me to the
test? Bring me a coin, and let me look at it." And so they did,
they brought Him a coin, and that was their second mistake, the
first being the very question they asked Him. "Whose likeness
and inscription is this?" Jesus asked them. "Well.....well..."
they began to answer with some hesitation, "it is the likeness of
Caesar." They sensed by now that they, not Jesus, were in for the
public embarrassment.
     "Very well then," Jesus began to reply, "you should render
to Caesar the things that are Ceasar's, and you should render to
God the things that are God's."
     The faces of those who asked Him the question first went as
white as snow, then as red as a beet-root in embarrassment. They
were stunned and everyone of them was speechless, they could not
utter one word. They were both amazed at His reply, and also
angry at Him for once more turning the tables upon them, and
making them look silly and ridiculous among all the people
standing by. With not one single word, they turned away from Him
and departed (Mat.22: 15-22; Mark 12: 13-17; Luke 20: 20-26).

     Jesus taught that we are to have a certain amount of respect
for secular Governments. Some Governments of men, we as
Christians, living in some parts of the world, need to move away
from, escape out of the land of that Government, for they are
very evil towards Christians (recently we had a large black
family come to the city I live in, and the church I attend. They
came to Canada to escape the harmful evil Government of the
Middle Eastern nation they were from, because they were under
possible physical violence from that Government because they were
Christians). 
     This situation above did not exist in Judea during the time
of Christ. The Roman Government allowed the Jews to have all
freedom to teach and practice their religion. There was no fear
of physical violence from the Roman Government if the Jews lived
in a peaceful way within the Roman Empire. Hence, under such a
living situation Jesus taught people should pay taxes to the
secular Government, and be thankful that they did not have to
flee for their lives as they taught and practiced the word and
truths of God.

A QUESTION OF MARRIAGE IN THE RESURRECTION

     On the same day the Sadducees came to Jesus with a question
they thought was going to have Him treading on His shoe laces and
falling flat on His face (of course I use a metaphor as they wore
sandals not shoes with laces in those days). They were going
to show the Herodians and the Pharisees "how to do it." The
Sadducees did not believe in "the resurrection" of the dead to
eternal life. This was their question: "Teacher, Moses
wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no
children from her, the man must take the wife and raise up
children for his brother."

     This was a law in the books of Moses, but here they only
state the basic law, it was not written in stone, that the living
brother HAD to do this, in other words there was a clause in the
law that could be used so the brother did not have to take his
dead brother's wife in marriage (see Deut.25: 5-10).

     The question they had for Jesus was based on the basic
principle of this law of Moses. They continued, "Now there were
seven brothers; the first took a wife and died without having
children from her; and the second, and the third took her,
likewise all seven had her as wife and left no children, and they
all died. Afterwards the woman died also. Therefore in the
resurrection, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as
wife."

     You could see all these Sadducees with a large grin on their
faces, oh how they thought they had won the day, finally they
were thinking, we the great priests of the Temple, have backed
this Jesus fellow into a corner and He is finally defeated in His
theology.  Oh how they were thinking that they the Sadducees were
the victors over this man that many believed was the Messiah.
This question they thought would be proof that this Jesus was NOT
the promised Messiah, and the Son of God as He was claiming. 

     And Jesus said to them, "How wrong you are, for you know not
what the Scriptures teach nor the power of God."

     The Scriptures that the Sadducees could read clearly stated
there would be a resurrection (see Daniel 12: 2; Ezekiel 37;
Isaiah 26: 19), and the "power of God" that Jesus was talking
about, is not only the literal power that God has, but it is also
knowing the "spirit" and essence of what the Scriptures of God
taught on that subject. With those two things in hand, Jesus was
able to continue to say, "The sons of this age marry and
are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to
attain to the age to come and to the resurrection from the dead,
neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any
more, because they are equal to the angels and are the very sons
of God, being sons of the resurrection. And as for the dead being
raised, have you not read what is written in the book of Moses,
in the passage about the burning bush, and how God said to him,
'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob'? Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for
all shall live in Him. You are very wrong in your theology on
this matter"
     And when the crowd heard all this, they were astonished at
His teaching, and the Sadducees found they had tripped over their
own shoe laces, and it was they who had their faces in the dust
of the ground (Mat.22: 23-33; Mark 12: 18-27; Luke 20: 27-38).

     Yes the Bible teaches very clearly there will be a
resurrection, in fact as we have seen, Jesus taught (John chapter
5) that ALL who had ever died would be resurrected. What Jesus
teaches here is that those who will be in the resurrection to be
very sons of God, will be like the angels in that they will
neither marry nor will they be given in marriage. There will be
no husband and wife marriages as we in this physical life know
them. There will be no sexual relations for those in the
resurrection to eternal life, no sexual relations as we know and
practice it in our physical marriages.
     This explanation of Jesus' also tells us that angels do not
marry, neither do they have, nor can they have, sexual relations
among themselves or among and within human beings. Some teach
that in Genesis chapter six, angels, be it "fallen ones," came to
earth and married and had sexual relations with physical women,
and that union produced great giants. What Jesus said here in the
Gospels completely blows away such a wild idea that some hold
concerning Genesis chapter six. The Pharisees actually taught
that idea about angels marrying physical women, and we know that
Jesus had already warned His disciples about the "leaven" of the
doctrines of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Mat.16: 6-12). 
Much of what they taught was error and false.

     We shall know each other when in the resurrection, be able
to do things together, even eat meals together, have all the
inter-actions with each other that we enjoy today in the flesh,
just as Jesus could with His disciples AFTER He was raised from
the dead. But in this passage we have the clear teaching from
Jesus that those in the resurrection to life in the Kingdom of
God, will not marry, nor have sexual relations as we do today
when we in this age, marry each other.

THE GREAT COMMANDMENT

     It was not long before the Pharisees heard that Jesus had
silenced the Sadducees. They came together again in a little
huddle to determine what their next question would be for Jesus
to try and answer, with the view that He would not be able to
answer or give an answer that would disgrace or make Him look
inept before all the people.

     Looking from above, with a bird's eye view, down on the
Temple, all of this would have seemed quite funny, if it was not
all so serious. You had the chief priests, scribes and elders of
the people, in the first huddle to plan their attack on Jesus
with a trick question, and Jesus scoring a touchdown against
them. Then the Herodians and Pharisees huddled down to plan their
attack question on Him, and again He scores a touchdown again
them. After that the Sadducees call time out and huddle down to
come up with a question He could not answer, and Jesus scores a
touchdown with the ball they kick at Him. Now, the Pharisees
regroup, they call for another time out, and huddle down again to
plan their attack against Jesus.
     All really quite funny, looking from above on all these
little "sect huddles" going on in the Temple grounds, if as I've
said, it was not so serious a matter. This was not a game these
sects were playing, they were dead earnest about trying to nail
Jesus' hide against the wall. This time one of the Pharisees who
was also one of the scribe lawyers, asked Him this question,
"Teacher, which commandment is the first, the greatest
commandment in the law?"

     Without any hesitation Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear,
O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your life,
and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second
is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no
other commandments greater than these."
     And the lawyer scribe said to Him, "You are right teacher;
you have truly said that He is one, and there is no other but He;
and to love Him with all your heart, and with all your
understanding, and with all your strength, and to love one's
neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings
and sacrifices."

     And when Jesus saw that the man answered wisely, He said to
him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."

     After all this questioning from the different sects, and all
of Jesus' correct and wonderful answers to them, there was not
one person who dared to ask Him any other question (Mark 12:
28-34).

ABOUT THE MESSIAH'S ANCESTRY

     No one was brave enough to ask Jesus any more questions
after all this, but Jesus thought it was now His turn to ask the
Pharisees a question. While they were still as one group before
Him, He asked them, "Tell me, what do you think of the Christ?
Whose son is he?" The lawyer scribes were quick to answer, "Why,
the Christ is the son of David."
     "Well then," replied Jesus, "if that is so, how is it that
David, inspired by the Spirit, calls Him LORD, saying, 'The LORD
said to my LORD, sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies
under your feet'? (Ps. 110:1). If David then calls Him LORD, how
is HE his son?"
     And no one was able to answer Him a word, they had no answer
for the question Jesus now asked them. And from that time forward
not a single person asked Him any more questions (Mat. 22:
41-46).

     Jesus was showing them that THE MESSIAH was not just from
the line of their great king David, but that the Messiah was
David's LORD, the Lord that David worshipped.  The Messiah was
DIVINE God, as well as coming in the physical form to earth via
the blood line of David. This we saw way back in the very first
few chapters of this New Testament Bible Story. Mary, who was to
bear God's Son, was from the physical line or ancestry of
Israel's ancient king David.

     The Messiah, Jesus was pointing out to them, was to be BOTH
humanly physical as well as DIVINE LORD or God.

     Jesus had put up with a lot from the Pharisees, they had
questioned Him time and time again, they had attacked His
character, slandered Him, called Him names, even said He did
things by the power of the Devil. Times was short now, Jesus knew
He would soon be put to death, and the Pharisees would have a
large part in bringing that event to fruition. Jesus was going to
tell the Pharisees and all people standing around, just where it
really was with the Pharisees. He would speak plainly about them
and their attitude as never before. His words would, as we say,
makes their ears burn.

              .................................

Written December 2002
     

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