Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

Matthew Ch.22 / 28 Ch.s


* The parable of the marriage feast. (1-14) The Pharisees
question Jesus as to the tribute. (15-22) The question of the
Sadducees as to the resurrection. (23-33) The substance of the
commandments. (34-40) Jesus questions the Pharisees. (41-46)

#1-14 The provision made for perishing souls in the gospel, is
represented by a royal feast made by a king, with eastern
liberality, on the marriage of his son. Our merciful God has not
only provided food, but a royal feast, for the perishing souls
of his rebellious creatures. There is enough and to spare, of
every thing that can add to our present comfort and everlasting
happiness, in the salvation of his Son Jesus Christ. The guests
first invited were the Jews. When the prophets of the Old
Testament prevailed not, nor John the Baptist, nor Christ
himself, who told them the kingdom of God was at hand, the
apostles and ministers of the gospel were sent, after Christ's
resurrection, to tell them it was come, and to persuade them to
accept the offer. The reason why sinners come not to Christ and
salvation by him, is, not because they cannot, but because they
will not. Making light of Christ, and of the great salvation
wrought out by him, is the damning sin of the world. They were
careless. Multitudes perish for ever through mere carelessness,
who show no direct aversion, but are careless as to their souls.
Also the business and profit of worldly employments hinder many
in closing with the Saviour. Both farmers and merchants must be
diligent; but whatever we have of the world in our hands, our
care must be to keep it out of our hearts, lest it come between
us and Christ. The utter ruin coming upon the Jewish church and
nation, is here represented. Persecution of Christ's faithful
ministers fills up the measure of guilt of any people. The offer
of Christ and salvation to the Gentiles was not expected; it was
such a surprise as it would be to wayfaring men, to be invited
to a royal wedding-feast. The design of the gospel is to gather
souls to Christ; all the children of God scattered abroad, #Joh
10:16; 11:52|. The case of hypocrites is represented by the
guest that had not on a wedding-garment. It concerns all to
prepare for the scrutiny; and those, and those only, who put on
the Lord Jesus, who have a Christian temper of mind, who live by
faith in Christ, and to whom he is all in all, have the
wedding-garment. The imputed righteousness of Christ, and the
sanctification of the Spirit, are both alike necessary. No man
has the wedding-garment by nature, or can form it for himself.
The day is coming, when hypocrites will be called to account for
all their presumptuous intruding into gospel ordinances, and
usurpation of gospel privileges. Take him away. Those that walk
unworthy of Christianity, forfeit all the happiness they
presumptuously claimed. Our Saviour here passes out of the
parable into that which it teaches. Hypocrites go by the light
of the gospel itself down to utter darkness. Many are called to
the wedding-feast, that is, to salvation, but few have the
wedding-garment, the righteousness of Christ, the sanctification
of the Spirit. Then let us examine ourselves whether we are in
the faith, and seek to be approved by the King.

#15-22 The Pharisees sent their disciples with the Herodians, a
party among the Jews, who were for full subjection to the Roman
emperor. Though opposed to each other, they joined against
Christ. What they said of Christ was right; whether they knew it
or not, blessed be God we know it. Jesus Christ was a faithful
Teacher, and a bold reprover. Christ saw their wickedness.
Whatever mask the hypocrite puts on, our Lord Jesus sees through
it. Christ did not interpose as a judge in matters of this
nature, for his kingdom is not of this world, but he enjoins
peaceable subjection to the powers that be. His adversaries were
reproved, and his disciples were taught that the Christian
religion is no enemy to civil government. Christ is, and will
be, the wonder, not only of his friends, but of his enemies.
They admire his wisdom, but will not be guided by it; his power,
but will not submit to it.

#23-33 The doctrines of Christ displeased the infidel Sadducees,
as well as the Pharisees and Herodians. He carried the great
truths of the resurrection and a future state, further than they
had yet been reveled. There is no arguing from the state of
things in this world, as to what will take place hereafter. Let
truth be set in a clear light, and it appears in full strength.
Having thus silenced them, our Lord proceeded to show the truth
of the doctrine of the resurrection from the books of Moses. God
declared to Moses that he was the God of the patriarchs, who had
died long before; this shows that they were then in a state of
being, capable of enjoying his favour, and proves that the
doctrine of the resurrection is clearly taught in the Old
Testament as well as in the New. But this doctrine was kept for
a more full revelation, after the resurrection of Christ, who
was the first-fruits of them that slept. All errors arise from
not knowing the Scriptures and the power of God. In this world
death takes away one after another, and so ends all earthly
hopes, joys, sorrows, and connexions. How wretched are those who
look for nothing better beyond the grave!

#34-40 An interpreter of the law asked our Lord a question, to
try, not so much his knowledge, as his judgment. The love of God
is the first and great commandment, and the sum of all the
commands of the first table. Our love of God must be sincere,
not in word and tongue only. All our love is too little to
bestow upon him, therefore all the powers of the soul must be
engaged for him, and carried out toward him. To love our
neighbour as ourselves, is the second great commandment. There
is a self-love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest
sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a
self-love which is the rule of the greatest duty: we must have a
due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we
must love our neighbour as truly and sincerely as we love
ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of
others. By these two commandments let our hearts be formed as by
a mould.

#41-46 When Christ baffled his enemies, he asked what thoughts
they had of the promised Messiah? How he could be the Son of
David and yet his Lord? He quotes #Ps 110:1|. If the Christ was
to be a mere man, who would not exist till many ages after
David's death, how could his forefather call him Lord? The
Pharisees could not answer it. Nor can any solve the difficulty
except he allows the Messiah to be the Son of God, and David's
Lord equally with the Father. He took upon him human nature, and
so became God manifested in the flesh; in this sense he is the
Son of man and the Son of David. It behoves us above all things
seriously to inquire, "What think we of Christ?" Is he
altogether glorious in our eyes, and precious to our hearts? May
Christ be our joy, our confidence, our all. May we daily be made
more like to him, and more devoted to his service.