Matthew 22; Matthew 23

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Matthew 22

1 Jesus again used stories to teach the people. He said,
2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son.
3 The king invited some people to the feast. When the feast was ready, the king sent his servants to tell the people, but they refused to come.
4 "Then the king sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who have been invited that my feast is ready. I have killed my best bulls and calves for the dinner, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.'
5 "But the people refused to listen to the servants and left to do other things. One went to work in his field, and another went to his business.
6 Some of the other people grabbed the servants, beat them, and killed them.
7 The king was furious and sent his army to kill the murderers and burn their city.
8 "After that, the king said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready. I invited those people, but they were not worthy to come.
9 So go to the street corners and invite everyone you find to come to my feast.'
10 So the servants went into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 "When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man who was not dressed for a wedding.
12 The king said, 'Friend, how were you allowed to come in here? You are not dressed for a wedding.' But the man said nothing.
13 So the king told some servants, 'Tie this man's hands and feet. Throw him out into the darkness, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.'
14 "Yes, many people are invited, but only a few are chosen."
15 Then the Pharisees left that place and made plans to trap Jesus in saying something wrong.
16 They sent some of their own followers and some people from the group called Herodians. They said, "Teacher, we know that you are an honest man and that you teach the truth about God's way. You are not afraid of what other people think about you, because you pay no attention to who they are.
17 So tell us what you think. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
18 But knowing that these leaders were trying to trick him, Jesus said, "You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me?
19 Show me a coin used for paying the tax." So the men showed him a coin.
20 Then Jesus asked, "Whose image and name are on the coin?"
21 The men answered, "Caesar's." Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and give to God the things that are God's."
22 When the men heard what Jesus said, they were amazed and left him and went away.
23 That same day some Sadducees came to Jesus and asked him a question. (Sadducees believed that people would not rise from the dead.)
24 They said, "Teacher, Moses said if a married man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him.
25 Once there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died. Since he had no children, his brother married the widow.
26 Then the second brother also died. The same thing happened to the third brother and all the other brothers.
27 Finally, the woman died.
28 Since all seven men had married her, when people rise from the dead, whose wife will she be?"
29 Jesus answered, "You don't understand, because you don't know what the Scriptures say, and you don't know about the power of God.
30 When people rise from the dead, they will not marry, nor will they be given to someone to marry. They will be like the angels in heaven.
31 Surely you have read what God said to you about rising from the dead.
32 God said, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' God is the God of the living, not the dead."
33 When the people heard this, they were amazed at Jesus' teaching.
34 When the Pharisees learned that the Sadducees could not argue with Jesus' answers to them, the Pharisees met together.
35 One Pharisee, who was an expert on the law of Moses, asked Jesus this question to test him:
36 "Teacher, which command in the law is the most important?"
37 Jesus answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'
38 This is the first and most important command.
39 And the second command is like the first: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'
40 All the law and the writings of the prophets depend on these two commands."
41 While the Pharisees were together, Jesus asked them,
42 "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They answered, "The Christ is the Son of David."
43 Then Jesus said to them, "Then why did David call him 'Lord'? David, speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit, said,
44 'The Lord said to my Lord: Sit by me at my right side, until I put your enemies under your control.'
45 David calls the Christ 'Lord,' so how can the Christ be his son?"
46 None of the Pharisees could answer Jesus' question, and after that day no one was brave enough to ask him any more questions.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Matthew 23

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his followers,
2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees have the authority to tell you what the law of Moses says.
3 So you should obey and follow whatever they tell you, but their lives are not good examples for you to follow. They tell you to do things, but they themselves don't do them.
4 They make strict rules and try to force people to obey them, but they are unwilling to help those who struggle under the weight of their rules
5 "They do good things so that other people will see them. They make the boxesn of Scriptures that they wear bigger, and they make their special prayer clothes very long.
6 Those Pharisees and teachers of the law love to have the most important seats at feasts and in the synagogues.
7 They love people to greet them with respect in the marketplaces, and they love to have people call them 'Teacher.'
8 "But you must not be called 'Teacher,' because you have only one Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters together.
9 And don't call any person on earth 'Father,' because you have one Father, who is in heaven.
10 And you should not be called 'Master,' because you have only one Master, the Christ.
11 Whoever is your servant is the greatest among you.
12 Whoever makes himself great will be made humble. Whoever makes himself humble will be made great.
13 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You close the door for people to enter the kingdom of heaven. You yourselves don't enter, and you stop others who are trying to enter.
15 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You travel across land and sea to find one person who will change to your ways. When you find that person, you make him more fit for hell than you are.
16 "How terrible for you! You guide the people, but you are blind. You say, 'If people swear by the Temple when they make a promise, that means nothing. But if they swear by the gold that is in the Temple, they must keep that promise.'
17 You are blind fools! Which is greater: the gold or the Temple that makes that gold holy?
18 And you say, 'If people swear by the altar when they make a promise, that means nothing. But if they swear by the gift on the altar, they must keep that promise.'
19 You are blind! Which is greater: the gift or the altar that makes the gift holy
20 The person who swears by the altar is really using the altar and also everything on the altar.
21 And the person who swears by the Temple is really using the Temple and also everything in the Temple
22 The person who swears by heaven is also using God's throne and the One who sits on that throne.
23 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You give to God one-tenth of everything you earn -- even your mint, dill, and cumin. But you don't obey the really important teachings of the law -- justice, mercy, and being loyal. These are the things you should do, as well as those other things.
24 You guide the people, but you are blind! You are like a person who picks a fly out of a drink and then swallows a camel!
25 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash the outside of your cups and dishes, but inside they are full of things you got by cheating others and by pleasing only yourselves.
26 Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean, and then the outside of the cup can be truly clean.
27 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You are like tombs that are painted white. Outside, those tombs look fine, but inside, they are full of the bones of dead people and all kinds of unclean things.
28 It is the same with you. People look at you and think you are good, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and evil.
29 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets, and you show honor to the graves of those who lived good lives.
30 You say, 'If we had lived during the time of our ancestors, we would not have helped them kill the prophets.'
31 But you give proof that you are children of those who murdered the prophets.
32 And you will complete the sin that your ancestors started.
33 "You are snakes! A family of poisonous snakes! How are you going to escape God's judgment?
34 So I tell you this: I am sending to you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify. Some of them you will beat in your synagogues and chase from town to town.
35 So you will be guilty for the death of all the good people who have been killed on earth -- from the murder of that good man Abel to the murder of Zechariahn son of Berakiah, whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar.
36 I tell you the truth, all of these things will happen to you people who are living now
37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone to death those who are sent to you. Many times I wanted to gather your people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you did not let me.
38 Now your house will be left completely empty
39 I tell you, you will not see me again until that time when you will say, 'God bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.