13.03 The First Examination Of Jesus

13.03 The First Examination Of Jesus

Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 13.03 The First Examination Of Jesus

Unit 13

The Passion Week Begins


Chapter 03

The First Examination Of Jesus


13.03.00.A. JESUS ADDRESSED THE CROWD by James Tossit.

13.03.00.A. JESUS ADDRESSED THE CROWD by James Tossit. Tensions increased as Jesus continued to preach and demonstrate, by performing miracles, that He was bringing forth the Kingdom of God. For this the religious establishment confronted Him.

13.03.01 Introduction

Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 13.03.01 Introduction

13.03.01 Introduction

The similarities between the sacrificial lamb and the Passion Week of Jesus are astounding.  Just as each family’s sacrificial lamb was examined for any possible imperfections, so likewise, Jesus was examined by the Pharisees for any possible “imperfections” (violations of the Written and Oral Laws). Both examiners looked for reasons to reject the “offering.”  Just as every small sacrificial lamb lived in a Jewish home and was loved by a Jewish family between the tenth and fourteenth of Nissan, so likewise, Jesus was in Jerusalem where He was loved by thousands between the tenth and fourteenth of Nissan.


From Bethany Jesus returned to the temple where Jewish leaders approached to examine Him. In their minds, the only authorized teachers were those who had graduated from a recognized theological school; they had “rabbinic authority.” Jesus obviously had not graduated from one of their schools and, therefore, another examination of the Miracle Worker was required.  Ironically, while they examined Him, in reality, it was they who were being examined. There were four examinations of Jesus that were parallel to the examinations of the lambs that occurred in Jewish homes at this same time. The religious leaders were looking for any possible imperfection in His theology, lifestyle, or intentions.[1]  They had two goals in mind:


  1. To find any issue by which they could bring Jesus before the Romans for execution. This was by far their primary objective.


  1. To find any substantial evidence they could present to the crowds, since His popularity was growing exponentially. But that goal was hindered by the ongoing problem, that due to corruption in the ranks of the Sadducees and leading Pharisees, the people were greatly displeased with their religious leadership. Therefore, their ability to persuade anyone was limited.


A summary of the four examinations is as follows:


  1. The first examination was by the priests (Sadducees) and elders (Pharisees) on Tuesday, April 4, the 12th day of Nisan. They desired to uncover cause for which to accuse Jesus before the Romans and discredit Him before the people. However, in that conversation Jesus responded by presenting three parables: The Parable of the Two Sons (Mt. 21:28-31; 13.03.03), The Parable of the Householder (Mt. 21:33-41; 13.03.04), and the Parable of the Wedding (Mt. 21:1-14; 13.03.07).


  1. The second examination was by the Herodians who desired to present Jesus before the Roman on the grounds of treason. Any charge of rebellion or failure to pay taxes qualified. So they presented the fundamental question on whether it was proper to pay taxes to Caesar (Mt. 22:20).


  1. Then the Sadducees returned for a third examination. They asked Jesus a question pertaining to eternal life (Lk. 20:28-33), something that they themselves did not believe in. Jesus responded with Exodus 3:6-7.


  1. After the Sadducees, the leading Pharisees returned for the fourth and final examination of the day. They were legalists who knew that Jesus highly prized the Written Law over their Oral Law. So they asked which was the most important law (Mk. 12:28-34). They agreed with His response and evidently, from this point on they abandoned their attempts to trap Him.

[1]. For an exhaustive study on this subject, see Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 25ff.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 13.03.02 THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS QUESTIONED

13.03.02 Mk. 11:27-33 (See also Mt. 21:23-27; Lk. 20:1-8) In the Temple




27 They came again to Jerusalem. As He was walking in the temple complex, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came 28 and asked Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority to do these things?”

29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 Was John’s baptism from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”

31 They began to argue among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From men’”— they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was a genuine prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

And Jesus said to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”


Jesus returned to the temple where He was confronted by His adversaries. They again attempted to embarrass Him before the massive populace to find accusations to use against Him.  This time they questioned the source of His authority.


“The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came.”  The instigators of the death of Jesus were known as the proverbial “unholy trinity” – the Sadducees, scribes, and the elders – all three groups that comprised the Sanhedrin.  Notice that the Pharisees are not mentioned because they are absent from the biblical text from this point on and are presumed by scholars not to be involved.



“By what authority.”  It is interesting that the leaders questioned His authority, especially in light of the fact that they failed to find anything He did wrong according to the Written Scripture. They had asked the same question of John the Baptist (Jn. 1:19-25) and of Jesus earlier in His ministry (Jn. 2:18-22).   The “authority” they were speaking of could come only from the temple priesthood.  In essence, their question was: Who had given Jesus the right to teach on the Kingdom of God?  Was He an impostor or a temple teacher?  The questions by the religious leaders had no reflection upon proper credentials as a rabbi, since that office would not be in existence for at least another century. At this time Jesus was called “rabbi” out of honor and respect, not as a teaching title.



In the Hebraic idioms there were two possible phrases that would give the religious leaders what they wanted. If Jesus claimed authority of either:


  1. Being the Messiah + the son of David = that was treason and rebellion


  1. Being the Messiah + the Son of God = that was blasphemy[1]


Was John’s baptism from heaven or from men?” In typical rabbinic style, He answered the question with another question. They carefully contemplated the answers and the consequence of each answer, because they were masters of theological debate.  However, they could not make any comment because, whatever they said, would have reflected negatively upon them.  Therefore, they responded, “We don’t know.”  However, they did know. They were fearful to say that the baptism was human and equally afraid to say it divine.

The phrase “was it from heaven…?” means “was it from God?” The Jews, throughout history, have substituted words and phrases in place of the Divine Name, as not to abuse it (Ex. 20:7).  For this reason, Jesus did not directly say His authority was from God, but He certainly implied it.  John the Baptist did likewise. As to the question, the leading Pharisees chose not to answer it.

The counter response by Jesus, “neither will I tell you,” was hardly a failure to answer the question. This was typical rabbinic dialog – to respond in like manner.  In essence Jesus said, “Since you won’t answer my question, I will not answer yours.” By their silence they said, “You win,” a non-verbal confession that angered them all the more.


The message was clearly communicated.  Everyone understood that John the Baptist was a prophet and that his authority was divine.  Likewise, Jesus was a prophet, whose authority was also of divine origin. The fact that neither John nor Jesus were educated in a school of a leading rabbi totally frustrated them. To add insult to injury, both had become more popular among the masses than had any of their leaders. Jesus then continued the conversation to teach those truths concerning the kingdom with the use of four parables recorded in Matthew 21:28 – 22:14.[2]


  1. The Parable of the Two Sons (Mt. 21:28-32),


  1. The Parable of the Only Son (also known as the Parable of the Wicked Tenants) Mt. 21:33-41; Mk. 12:1-9; Lk. 20:9-16), and


  1. The Stone that the Builders Rejected.


  1. Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Mt. 22:1-14).


Unfortunately, throughout history some theologians have said that these parables suggest that God has replaced Judaism with the church in His eschatological plan.  This misinterpretation has given foundation to what has become known as “Christian anti-Semitism.” (A better phrase would be “church-sponsored anti-Semitism” since true Christianity cannot be connected with the hatred of any kind, especially anti-Semitism.)  Those who espouse this replacement theology often indicate that these three parables build up to a crescendo in declaring God’s decision to permanently turn away from the Jews.

Notice that the key theme of every parable is in some way focused on Jesus and clarifies a point He is teaching.[3] The objective is to have mankind be transformed into the image of Christ with practical true to life lessons and examples. Unfortunately, some early Gentile church fathers considered these parables allegorical.  This was a grave mistake, because parables in rabbinic writings are almost never allegorical. The resulting interpretations are both misrepresented and inaccurate.[4]


After the first test questioning Jesus’ authority, He told four parables:

[1]. At this point, the term “Messiah” and “Son” with a capital letter did not mean deity to the Jewish audience. Understanding Jesus as Deity did not fully occur until after the resurrection and ascension.

[2]. See commentary on Mt. 21:18-19; Mk. 11:12-14.

[3]. Young, Jesus and His Jewish Parables. 5-7.

[4]. Young, Jesus and His Jewish Parables. 103.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 13.03.03 PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS

13.03.03 Mt. 21:28-32          




28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go, work in the vineyard today.’

29 “He answered, ‘I don’t want to!’ Yet later he changed his mind and went. 30 Then the man went to the other and said the same thing.

“‘I will, sir,’ he answered. But he didn’t go.

31 “Which of the two did his father’s will?”

“The first,” they said.

Jesus said to them, “I assure you:

Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God

before you!

32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness,

and you didn’t believe him.

Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him,

but you,

when you saw it,

didn’t even change your minds then and believe him.


This passage is somewhat unusual, as it has two parts commonly referred to as a pericope.[1]  The first part is the parable (vv. 28-31) followed by its explanation (v. 32).  Here Jesus told the story of a certain man who had two sons to whom he had given instructions to work in the vineyard.  The first son refused to obey, but later repented and complied with his father’s instruction. The second son said he would comply, but later changed his mind and was disobedient.


The explanation is that the second son, an illustration of the Jewish leaders, was appointed by God to perform various religious functions, but in fact, they were disobedient, hypocritical, and rebellious toward God. The first son represents those wicked religious leaders who repented, either in the ministry of John the Baptist or of Jesus, and he became fully dedicated and obedient to God. To assume that this parable implies the kingdom would be taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles is eisegesis (meaning to replace the original meaning with one’s own interpretation).[2]  The theme of the discussion was not on a future position of the church, but rather, on the sinfulness of the Pharisees.[3]


Jesus specifically indicated that prostitutes and tax collectors would get into heaven before these religious leaders.  This greatly offended them because they were convinced there was no need to repent because they were the sons of Abraham and, therefore, were guaranteed eternal life.  By their confession, they were true descendants (sons) of Abraham, but by their actions they were outside of God’s providence and not Abraham’s children. Repentant sinners, such as the prostitutes and tax collectors, were accepted by Jesus, while the leaders could not imagine that they too were sinners because they were God’s chosen people.  They failed to receive the warning and that was the only point of the parable.[4]

[1]. Hagner, “Matthew 14-28.” 612; See Appendix 26.

[2]. For further study, see Scott Jr., J. Julius. “On the Value of Intertestamental Jewish Literature for New Testament Theology.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 23:4 (Dec. 1980). 315-24.

[3]. A rule of hermeneutics is that parables are not to be used for the establishment of doctrines.


[4]. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 765-66.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 13.03.04 PARABLE OF THE HOUSEHOLDER AND THE ONLY SON

13.03.04 Mk. 12:1-9; Lk. 20:9-16 (See also Mt. 21:33-41)



Mk. 1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away.


2 At harvest time

he sent a slave to the farmers

to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from the farmers.

3 But they took him, beat him, and

sent him away empty-handed.

4 Again he sent another slave to them, and

they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully.

5 Then he sent another,

and they killed that one.

He also sent many others;

they beat some and they killed some.


6 “He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

7 “But those tenant farmers said among themselves,

This is the heir.

Come, let’s kill him,

and the inheritance will be ours!’

8 So they seized him,

killed him, and

threw him out of the vineyard.

9 “Therefore, what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers and give the vineyard to others.


Lk. 16b But when they heard this they said, “No — never!”


This parable has been a favorite instrument to prove the doctrine of replacement theology.[1]  But with that there is a serious hermeneutical problem. Parables were never to be used for establishing doctrine, not in biblical times and not today.  This parable is one of special interest because Bible translators and commentators have given this parable a number of different titles, based on their interpretation of its meaning.


Titles give an understanding of what a parable is about, but sometimes titles also shade the meaning of a parable. Using the title Kingdom of God with this parable may be a leading directive as to how it is interpreted.  However, if the title is The Parable of the Murdered Son, then the focus of the parable points toward the murdered son. On the other hand, if the title is about the wicked tenants, it will focus the attention of the reader on the tenants. For example, the Thompson Chain Reference Bible, NAS edition, titles it the Parable of the Landowner, but has marginal notes with references to the rejection of Jesus, Israel being cut off, the Gentiles, and it clearly gives the implication of the Gentiles replacing the Jews. On the other hand, if it would have the words Wicked Tenants then the tenant farmers become the focus of the story.  However, in its cultural context, the vineyard owner is the true hero and focus of the story.[2]  Furthermore, it has been often been stated herein that Jesus often used persons and events of history as the backdrop of some parables and stories. In this case, the parable is a retelling of Isaiah 5:1-6. It is this author’s opinion that the title should be The Parable of the Only Son,[3] as the focus of all parables point to Jesus and His Kingdom of God.


In this case, Mark was rather detailed in the description of the man who established the vineyard.  In essence, the man made a huge investment.  Not only did he plant the grape seedlings, but he also placed a fence around it to keep out wild pigs (boars) and thieves, he built a wine press that clearly indicates that he expected to receive the rewards of his investment. And finally, he built a watchtower to enable his servants to do their job well and they would also have a comfortable housing. For many centuries towers[4] served two purposes.


  1. Some shepherds were stationed in the tower to look for thieves and wild predatory animals just as vineyard owners looked for thieves and wild boars.


  1. The tower served as a second home for those who tended to the flocks and crops.


The listeners were very much acquainted with the agricultural process and Jesus made the connection of that process to those who desired to kill him – and as such this parable has a single theme focused on the Sadducees and leading Pharisees. The story itself is somewhat complicated with vineyards, an absentee property owner, and rebellious tenant farmers.  Furthermore, the phrase “A man planted a vineyard” is reflective of Isaiah 5:1-2 where the song of the vineyard is the image of Israel.  Jesus, therefore, wove the message of Isaiah into His parable, making it more complex than usual.  To clarify the parable, note the following list of characters:


Cast of Characters

The Owner of the Vineyard    =          God

Watchtower                            =          Temple of God

The vineyard                           =          The people of Israel

The tenant farmers                  =          Jewish leaders

Slaves who were sent              =          The prophets

Son                                          =          Jesus


It is evident that a landowner had accomplished the sizeable task of establishing a functional vineyard that had all of the necessary equipment for the production of wine.  After he placed several farmers in charge, he went on a journey.  The rent was generally collected by a business manager.  But once the farmers were in charge they decided to take ownership of the vineyard.  When the owner sent his servants to the vineyard, the farmers killed them.  The imagery could not be missed by the Pharisees. They knew that in previous years their forefathers killed numerous prophets sent by God.


The passage clearly says, “This is the heir.”  It does not say, “He claims to be the heir.” The leading Pharisees and Sadducees enjoyed the “kingdom” they had which was of their own making and Jesus was clearly a threat. Furthermore, in the parable, Jesus said “this is the heir,” because He knew that they had correctly recognized Him – the Pharisees and Sadducees knew He was the Messiah.


When the tenant farmers said that “the inheritance will be ours” if they killed the owner’s son, they were legally right in terms of inheritance laws of the time.  An ancient law stated that if an heir did not claim his land, it could be declared “ownerless” and therefore, anyone could claim it.[5] This was typical business law throughout the ancient world, as evidence by a hereditary lease of a vineyard discovered by archaeologists in the early twentieth century in ancient Parthia.[6]



13.03.04.A. HEREDITARY LEASE OF A VINEYARD. The legal document dated to 22-21 B.C., was written on Parchment and reflects the conditions of Mark 12:1-9 and Luke 20:9-16. It is from Kopanis, in the Kingdom of Parthia, and is evidence that some of the legal contracts and proceedings Jesus used in His parables were common to all nearby cultures.


In the parable the landowner sent one servant after another. Each one was either ill-treated or killed.  Finally, in order to insure the rent would be paid, the landowner sent the son whom he loved. In both the Greek and Hebrew, the son is described as the “beloved son,” which is equal to “the only son.” This is a significant point and shows the emphasis.  Jesus was speaking of Himself and this is the theme of the parable. Immediately following this dialog, Jesus speaks of Himself as a stone (see below).  The business managers who were sent are equal to the Old Testament prophets who were sent to the children of Israel.  Some tenants were beaten, while others were killed in real life; some prophets were beaten while others were killed. Only a few ever enjoyed the honor they deserved.  Just as the only son was killed by the tenants, herein Jesus predicted His own death.


“Destroy the farmers and give the vineyard to others.” This phrase has generally been interpreted to mean that the covenant promises that were given to national Israel would now be transferred permanently to the church, and the Jews would be destroyed.[7] That is hardly the case. Rather, the divine authority given to the Jews to have the Word of God produce fruit would be transferred to the Gentiles. The irony is that Jesus told them He knew they were going to kill Him. However, their hatred was so great they failed to recognize the prophetic insight of their intentions.  One must wonder how blind these men were, having been witnesses to multiple miracles, yet refusing to believe in Jesus.  The phrase was an announcement of a two-fold judgment.


  1. The Kingdom of God would be removed from them, and


  1. It would be given to a people who would produce the fruit desired by God.


Clearly, this had a reference to the Gentiles as the heirs of the Kingdom of God. The parable angered the Pharisees and Jesus responded before beginning the parable of the most important wedding banquet. There are two possible interpretations to this parable:


  1. Was the purpose of this parable to forecast the coming rejection of the Jewish people so they would be replaced by the Gentile church as the “New Israel?”


  1. Or was the purpose to focus on the death of the “only son?”


While the first question has historically been affirmed, there are a growing number of scholars who affirm the second with the theme being on the “only son.”[8] Since parables point toward Jesus and His Kingdom of God, the only viable interpretation is the “only son.”


Finally, this parable is an example of what theologians call “practical atheism.” The tenants, just as the Jewish leaders of Israel, said they believed in God and may have even prayed and discussed life in religious terms.  However, their conduct demonstrated that they had no “heart-belief” in God; no desire to live life according to His divine plan – hence – they were “practical atheists.”[9]

[1]. See definition in Glossary in Appendix 26; A rule of hermeneutics is that parables are not to be used for the establishment of doctrines.


[2]. Bailey, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes. 410-14.


[3]. This title was originally suggested by Brad H. Young.

[4]. Sometimes the word for an agricultural “tower” or “watchtower” is translated as “booth,” “shack,” or “shelter,” as in Isaiah 1:8.


[5]. New International Version Study Bible footnote on Mk. 12:7.

[6]. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East. 33. Artifact in the British Museum.

[7]. This is a core element of replacement theology.  See “Replacement Theology” in Appendix 26 for more details.


[8]. For a comprehensive study on this parable and others, see Brad H. Young. Jesus and His Jewish Parables. Tulsa, OK: Gospel Research Foundation, 1989. See also Brad H. Young. Jesus the Jewish Theologian. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995.

[9]. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 341. Another term for “practical athiests” is “secular Christians.” Obviously both terms are oxymorons.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 13.03.05 THE STONE THE BUILDERS REJECTED

13.03.05 Mt. 21:42-44 (See also Mk. 12:10-11; Lk. 20:17-18) In the Temple




42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This came from the Lord
and is wonderful in our eyes? (Ps. 118:22-23)

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruit. [44 Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whoever it falls, it will grind him to powder!]”  


This passage is part of the preceding parable of the wicked tenants.  And Jesus included an Old Testament quotation and the Jews knew precisely what He was talking about. Early in His ministry Jesus gave hints of who He was and the consequences to those who opposed Him, but now He was more direct. Three times Jesus had just announced His Messiahship in a firm and unmistakable manner.


  1. Jesus had ridden a donkey into Jerusalem, thereby reflecting the image of a king.


  1. He then cleansed the temple again, as if He owned it.





  1. Now He said He was “the stone that the builders rejected.”[1] The cornerstone was critical to the integrity of the building, as Jesus was critical to the integrity of life.[2] The “stone” that was rejected was the cornerstone – meaning Jesus. Furthermore, the name of the chief builder (tekton) was often inscribed upon it.[3]


In this tense social-political environment, were Jesus to have made a public announcement of His divine office, a riot would have ensued and the Romans would have killed many innocent people, along with the disciples. But Jesus showed Himself to be a master diplomat in how He announced His Messiahship.


This was the final point of conflict with the Sadducees and the upper Pharisee echelon.  They understood that Jesus was telling them they would be destroyed and their position of religious authority would be given to others.  Jesus saw Himself as the smiting stone of Daniel 2, which would bring destruction upon them.  He used the imagery of Isaiah (5:1-7) to describe the Sadducees as the vineyard which produced bad fruit. They realized He was predicting judgment upon them. This explosive accusation caused them to determine to put Jesus to death. The prophetic words of Jesus came true.  When the Romans destroyed the temple, they also destroyed the entire priestly caste of the Sadducees and the upper Pharisee echelon, both of whom were the policy makers of first century Judaism.


Ironically, the prophetic messengers of God were killed by those who were to be the beneficiaries of the message. The words of the Hallel (Ps. 114-18) included a phrase that pertained to the Messiah at this time.[4]


“The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruit.” This phrase means that the Kingdom of God would be taken from the Jewish people and given to the Gentile church, although not all messianic scholars would agree with that interpretation.  They state that the Kingdom of God was taken from the Jewish leaders and given to different leaders (who, by the way, comprised the first century church).


Finally, this parable has not been without its share of controversies. It is considered to be one of the most complicated and debated parables and some critics have even said that all or parts of it were probably additions by the early church fathers.[5] However, their opinions have no foundation, and furthermore, there are two significant details that attest to its authenticity, especially the Psalm quotation.


  1. An important feature of the parable is the son/stone wordplay. Jesus often used wordplays, as did many others[6] – at times it is a normal part of conversation. The wordplay is obvious only in Hebrew or Aramaic language, but is lost when translated into another language.


  1. Mark and Luke used the word “beloved” to describe “son,” as part of the broader “son” theme. As one scholar said, it is clear that the gospel writers associated the parable’s “beloved son” who is the key figure of the parable with the “stone,” the “Son” figure, and Jesus Himself. [7]

[1]. Examples of other titles for Jesus are the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6); the head of the corner (Ps. 118:22; Lk. 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7); The head of the body (Col. 1:18; 2:19); the head of the church (Eph. 1:22; 5:23); the firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:20); The firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18); the captain of our salvation (Heb. 2:10); the first and the last (Rev. 1:17); the firstbegotten (Heb. 1:6); and the firstborn (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 12:23).

[2]. See”Cornerstone” in Appendix 26.


[3]. Bookman, When God Wore Sandals. CD Trac 12; Issler. “Exploring the Pervasive References to Work in Jesus’ Parables.” 327.


[4]. For the identifying connections of Jesus with the Hallel (Ps. 114-118), see 04.06.01.


[5]. For an exegetical study on this passage, see Lanier, “The Rejected Stone in the Parable of the Wicked Tenants: Defending the Authenticity of Jesus’ Quotation of Ps. 118:22.” 733-58.


[6]. Another example of a wordplay is a statement by Caesar Augustus when he spoke of the cruelty of Herod the Great. The Roman historian Macrobius wrote in his Saturnalia (2.4) that Augustus said, “I’d rather be Herod’s pig than his son.” The words “pig” and “son” sound similar in Latin. (See 03.06.04)


[7].  Lanier, “The Rejected Stone in the Parable of the Wicked Tenants: Defending the Authenticity of Jesus’ Quotation of Ps. 118:22.” 738.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 13.03.06 RELIGIOUS LEADERS ANGERED

13.03.06 Mt. 21:45-46; Lk. 20:19 (See also Mk. 12:12)




Mt. 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they knew He was speaking about them. 46 Although they were looking for a way to arrest Him, they feared the crowds, because they regarded Him as a prophet.


Lk. 19 Then the scribes and the chief priests looked for a way to get their hands on Him that very hour, because they knew He had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.


Nonetheless, Jesus gave them another parable.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 13.03.07 PARABLE OF THE WEDDING BANQUET

13.03.07 Mt. 22:1-14




1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent out his slaves to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. 4 Again, he sent out other slaves, and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: Look, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

5 “But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the others seized his slaves, treated them outrageously and killed them.  7 The king was enraged, so he sent out his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned down their city.

8 “Then he told his slaves, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ 10 So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding.

12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 For many are invited, but few are chosen.”


This is a unique parable in that it is one of dual separation as follows:


  1. Separation from national Israel


  1. Separation from those believers who are improperly dressed for the messianic banquet


To bring clarity to this passage, examine briefly the cast of characters.


Cast of Characters

King                            = God

First group                   = The Jews who did not come

Second group              = Gentiles who were not invited previously

Slaves                          = The prophets sent to the Jews over the centuries

Outsiders                     = Gentiles (non-Jews) who were invited to come



Appropriate Attire      = Character of a godly person

Inappropriate Attire    = Character of an unrepentant person


Separation from national Israel

The king (Jesus) gave three invitations, of which the first two went to the Jewish people.


  1. The first invitation was sent by the various prophets who preached the Word of God throughout the centuries, and many of them were rejected and some were even martyred.


  1. The second invitation to the Jewish people was by Jesus Himself, and He too was martyred.


There is an unusual element in the parable because the custom was to send out two invitations for a wedding banquet.  But in this case, three invitations were sent.  The third invitation was by Jesus and His apostles who went to the Gentiles. At verse 11 the second phase of this parable begins – the parable of separation. Now that the Gentiles have been invited, it is apparent that of those who responded, meaning those who became saved or said they did, not all will be permitted to the banquet.  Why?    


Separation from those believers who are improperly dressed for the messianic banquet

Jesus clearly stated that everyone is invited to His messianic banquet – Gentile, Jew – everyone. But He also makes a unique point that not everyone who is invited will enter into the banquet hall. An important cultural element is this: it was the custom for the wealthy and persons of high rank to provide wedding garments for those whom they invited. If anyone refused to come, or if they came but would not wear their wedding garments, they insulted the host of the banquet.[2]  An important feature of this comment is that the deciding factor of who comes is not Jesus, but those people who decided not to wear their wedding garments (Gk. enduma).  Those who wear appropriate attire have the character of Christ and those who do not wear the required garments are those who say they are believers, but their lives do not match their words. Just as the persons of rank showed their kindness by providing wedding garments to all the guests, the same shall be provided by the Host – the King, but those “garments” are His character.[3]


On a side note, this parable has often been used to support the doctrine of predestination, but there are two problems with this interpretation.[4]


  1. In predestination, it is Jesus who determines who decided before the foundation of the earth who goes to heaven or who goes to hell. In this parable, as in others, the decision is left to the individual.


  1. A standard rule of Jewish hermeneutics is that parables are never to be used for the establishment of doctrine.


A wedding was always a time for great celebration, as it was seen as the beginning of a new family. The “dinner” of verse 4 was not the evening meal, but the noon-breakfast or luncheon meal[5] which enabled the attendees to enjoy fellowship for the rest of the day. The custom of the time required that literally everyone be invited, including those living in remote areas and byways (verses 9-10).[6]


Again, it is evident Jesus used a parable that was of common knowledge to the people.  The one He presented was similar to a story of the rabbis and recorded in the Babylonian Talmud. In the Jewish culture it was customary for any good rabbi, when teaching a lesson in the form of a parable to give an explanation. Jesus was a Master Teacher who followed the cultural norm in this regard.  From rabbinic literature is an example of a “king” parable:

The matter may be compared to a king who arranged a banquet and invited guests to it.  The king issued a decree which stated: “Each guest must bring something on which to recline.” Some brought carpets, others brought mattresses or pads or cushions or stools, while still others brought logs or stones. The king observed what they had done, and said, “Let each man sit on what he brought.”  Those who had to sit on wood or stone murmured against the king.  They said, “Is it respectful for the king, that we, his guests, should be seated on wood and stone?”  When the king heard this, he said to them, “It is not enough that you have disgraced with your wood and stone the palace which was erected for me at great cost, but you dare to invent a complaint against me!  The lack of respect paid to you is the result of your own action.”


Similarity, in the Hereafter, the wicked will be sentenced to Gehenna and will murmur against the Holy One, blessed be He, saying, “We sought His salvation.  How could such a fate befall us?”  He will answer them, “When you were on the earth, did you not quarrel and slander and do evil?  Were you not responsible for strife and violence?  That is why it is written, ‘All you that kindle a fire, that encircle yourselves with firebrands, walk in the flame of your fire and among the brands that you have kindled’ (Isaiah 50:11).  If you say, ‘This we have from your hand,’ it is not so; you have brought it on yourselves and, therefore, ‘you will lie down in torment.’”

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 153b           


The matter may be compared to a king who arranged a banquet and invited guests to it.  The king issued a decree, but the people complained and did not show the respect that was due to a king. Similarity, in the hereafter, the wicked will be sentenced to Gehenna and will murmur against the Holy One Blessed Be He, saying,


“We sought His salvation.  How could such a fate befall us?”  He will answer them, “When you were on the earth, did you not quarrel and slander and do evil?  Were you not responsible for strife and violence?  That is why it is written, ‘All you that kindle a fire, that encircle yourselves with firebrands, walk in the flame of your fire and among the brands that you have kindled’ (Isa. 50:11).  If you say, ‘This we have from your hand,’ it is not so; you have brought it on yourselves and, therefore, ‘you will lie down in torment.’”   

 Ecclesiates Rabbah 3:9


In the parable of Jesus, the Jews were the guests of honor at the banquet.  They received their invitation by the Hebrew prophets.  But by the time Jesus came onto the scene, they had convinced themselves that they would be the only persons at the heavenly wedding banquet, so they did not come to the hallowed event.  Therefore, the host of the banquet sent other servants again to invite guests, and after another poor response, the host finally invited anybody and everybody.  However, when the host saw that some of the attendees were not wearing wedding clothes, he threw them out.

Finally, some commentators have observed the parallel of this narrative with the historical event when a Jewish delegation went to Rome and objected to Augustus the succession of Archelaus after the death of Herod the Great.[7] Clearly, when Jesus told a parable, He structured it so the people would understand and remember what He taught.


He sent out his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned down their city.”  While the Jews believed they would be the only chosen people at this event, Jesus completely upset their theology.  Four decades later the Romans besieged the Holy City, murdered thousands, and burned the temple.


“Wedding clothes.”  As previously stated, persons of wealth or high rank showed their magnificence by providing wedding garments to their guests.[8] In this context, the wedding garments are symbolic of righteousness provided by God’s gracious character. However, concerning the one who rejected the garments, Jesus reflected upon the words of the prophet Hosea, who said,


What will you do on a festival day,
on the day of the Lord’s feast?

Hosea 9:5


Jesus said that one must be ready at all times for the messianic banquet. But while many are aware of the coming wedding, few will do what is necessary to be prepared for the event.



“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”  Those who are “invited” or “called” as some translations read, are simply those who heard and accepted the invitation of salvation.  Those who are “chosen” did the same but continued their Christian lifestyle and obeyed His Word.  This passage has often been incorrectly been interpreted to either support or deny the doctrine of predestination. As previously stated, the standard rule of hermeneutics is that parables are not used to support or deny doctrines.



13.03.07.Q1 Was Jesus familiar with non-biblical literary sources?

 To the modern reader, the answer might be an affirmative – yes.  However, Jesus lived in an oral tradition culture where stories were handed down from generation to generation.  Within such a culture, great care is taken to insure that the historical accounts are transmitted accurately – a skill and tradition that has been lost in today’s modern Western culture.  Therefore, when Jesus referred to an account that may have been written in the book of Tobit, He probably was familiar with it by way of oral tradition. At this time, writing materials were extremely expensive and difficult to acquire.  So rabbis had to memorize great volumes of Scriptures and extra-biblical books.[9]


Jesus was typical of orthodox rabbis of His period. They all taught the same basic truth and only in a few instances did Jesus introduce new elements into His sermons. Of course, the most dramatic of these elements was the eventual proclamation of Messiahship. Modern students at times conclude, since Jesus did not lie, that every story or parable Jesus told was an actual historical event.  But as a Master Teacher, He would four sources to illustrate a point:


  1. Historical events


  1. Word plays on a legend known to everyone


  1. Stories to teach a lesson


  1. Reflections on an Old Testament story


All orthodox rabbis used these elements in their instructional lessons. An example is found in 2 Samuel 12:1-4 where Nathan told King David the famous parable of a rich man who had many sheep but took the lamb of the poor man.  The account was so real to life that David was ready to kill the rich man, only to learn that the prophet spoke of David himself. Likewise, rabbis as well as Jesus also used story parables to touch the hearts of men.  To create a story that presented a truth never meant that the story was a historical event.



[1].  The significance of the messianic banquet was very important to Jesus (Heb. Yeshua). The wedding imagery between Himself and His church as it was reflected in a first century Jewish wedding is discussed by Dr. John Fischer, a messianic scholar and rabbi in video 09.03.04.V1 and Professor John Metzger in video 14.02.05.V2.  See the following as well: Discussion of the “best place” in Lk. 14:7-14 (12.02.05); the great messianic banquet in Lk. 14:15-24 (12.02.06); the wise and foolish virgins in Mt. 25:1-13 (14.01.07); only the father knew Mt. 24:36 (14.01.05); the preparation of a new home in Jn. 14:1-4 (14.02.14).


[2]. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 243-44.    


[3]. Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 2:414-15; Vine, “Marriage, Marry.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:394.


[4]. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 244.    


[5]. Scholars debate as to when the wedding feast was served.  Some say it was an evening meal. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:119.  


[6]. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:120.  


[7]. Josephus, Antiquities 17.11.1.


[8]. Vine, “Garment.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:261, and “Marriage, Marry.” 2:394-95. See video 09.03.04.V1 by Messianic Rabbi John Fischer who discusses first century wedding imagery, and video 14.02.05.V2 by Professor John Metzger who discusses the Passover, the Last Supper and its implications to the Messianic Banquet.


[9]. This dedication to study and memorize might explain why today, the Jewish people who comprise only one-half of one percent, have attained an outstanding twenty-two percent of the Nobel Peace Prizes.

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