Matthew 22 is a direct extension of Matthew 21. In my Bible i have actually crossed out the chapter number for 22 to de-emphasize the separation. Overall, the day that these chapters represent would have been a day to sell tickets to, pop some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show! Things are starting to get interesting!
Jesus begins the discussion with a parable. A kings son is getting married and he invites the important people to the wedding feast, but no one is willing to go. Rather they abuse and kill his messengers. So he destroys them, and he invites strangers from the street… anyone willing to come. The Pharisees know that this parable is directed towards them, so they fire a couple of volleys back. They try to trap Jesus between the law of the land and the sentiment of the people. Jesus walks through that trap pretty easily. Next the Sadducees (who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead) test Him. Jesus not only clears that trap, but He also answers to and clarifies the truth / theology to respond to their confused beliefs. So instead they send in a legal expert to test Him. The legal expert questions Jesus, and of course He answers beautifully. Finally, Jesus asks them a tough question about the Messiah and how the Messiah does not fit their viewpoint / expectations.
All of this silences the pharisees… “No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.” He wins the debate. He wins the day, and many of His enemies are now solidified against Him. Ultimately though, it’s all part of the plan, and He prevails.
Compared to the other chapters, this one is definitely much shorter. I only discovered how short the chapter was when i was almost done with it. It is only nine verses compared to most other chapters that average closer to 32 verses. At the same time, it has taken me longer than 1/3 of the time to do it as a regular chapter. I have been very groggy and it has been very difficult for me to focus. As a result, nine verses has taken me about as long to do as 16-18 verses on a normal day. It’s not unsurprising that it is on the day that i have a much shorter chapter, that that is when i just can’t stay focused. It’s like God has been giving me the energy and focus on the days that i really need it, and on days like today He reminds me of how much this kind of schedule wrecks havoc on my body. A reminder that i really need to take early bedtimes seriously to help me function better.
There is a ton of very heavy theology in this chapter. I think that i could really dissect this chapter and easily double my regular 400-500 word post for it. In this chapter God is beginning to prepare Moses for what He is about to do. This final plague is going to go the distance. It is going to push Pharaoh to the limits so that he pushes back and ejects the Hebrew people out of the land. As such, YHWH has to prepare Moses and the people to leave.
God blesses the people with honor and favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and Moses himself with great esteem in their sight. When they go out, it is not going to be with a whimper but with a bang. As a result Moses and the people need to be prepared. To be ready to move out.
So He tells Moses what to expect and what to do in the process. He gives him not only the instructions, but the go-ahead to get the job done. The people may have wanted to leave and thought that they were ready when Moses first presented God’s command to Pharaoh, but they were far from that. They still aren’t fully ready, as we will see in future chapters, but now they have all that they need to be successful.
How about us? Is YHWH preparing us for something bigger? Do we think we are ready and that we can handle what He has for us, or does God have more He needs to do in our lives before all of this happens?