Matthew: Day 22

Jesus Is Our Access to God

by

Today's Text: Matthew 22:1-46, Psalm 110, Hebrews 10:11-14

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:1-46, Psalm 110, Hebrews 10:11-14

Don’t get me wrong. I really do love my job, but I am not a morning person. Just the other day, I woke to the sound of my phone’s beeping alarm. Ugh. That was my first response. But as my feet hit the ground, something seemed off. Oh, that’s right. It’s Saturday, isn’t it?

It’s sad but true: I’ve been known to get so caught up in the daily grind that I’ve forgotten about the glory and goodness of the coming weekend.

The Sadducees didn’t just forget about the good news; they completely denied the possibility of life after death. Anyone remember singing at Vacation Bible School, “I don’t want to be a Sadducee, because they’re so sad you see”? Well, the reason they were “sad” is because their sect of Judaism had no hope for bodily resurrection. The Sadducees wanted to make the idea of the resurrection look ridiculous, and Matthew 22 recounts their attempt to trap the Messiah with a trick question.  

How did Jesus respond to their attempts at trickery? He lovingly responded to them in their own language, and then offered them a challenge. Because the Sadducees esteemed Moses over all others, Jesus quoted what Moses had to say about the resurrection. When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, He said, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). The Lord used the present tense—“I am,” not “I was.”

“He is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:32). Jesus confirms that Abraham is living, Isaac is living, Jacob is living. There is life after death. Hallelujah!

It’s easy for us to judge the Sadducees’ unbelief because we have the full and complete gospel in mind. We know that Jesus went down to the grave and rose again. Still, while we might not outright deny the resurrection, do we sometimes forget about it? It’s easy to get so focused on our everyday lives that we lose sight of our heavenly future. We live in fear, cling to earthly security, and fight for status. We may not deny the resurrection with our tongues, but we do with our thoughts and actions.

Christ’s response to the Sadducees is a response for all of us. The Lord understands where you’re coming from and wants to lovingly speak to you about what’s to come. He knows exactly what makes you forget the eternal hope—whether you’re struggling with anxiety, exhausted by caring for children, distracted by work, or any number of other things. He gets it, but He doesn’t leave us there. He gives us true hope.

Jesus also challenged the Sadducees to know Scripture better. Could the same be said for us? When we lose sight of the good news, let’s fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word and open our ears to the Lord who speaks to us. May we delve into our Bibles for wisdom from above and hold fast to the living hope of the resurrection.

Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
- 1 Peter 1:3-4

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Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

  • Thank you Jesus because your single offering has made all the difference and now there is hope.

  • Elizabeth

    today’s

    • Elizabeth

      oops…todays passage and really this whole devotional have been helping me to really think about what is important in life. not health, not an easy day to day life, not a clean house, not any of that. Just salvation. It is what God wants me to focus on. On loving Him, trusting Him, spending time with Him, teaching My girls about Him. I’ve been so caught up lately in the worries of this world. He is calling me to turn my eyes upon Him, and that feels so much better.

  • Thanks for the insight, Kristi!

  • Alicia Brothers

    This reading today has allowed me the courage to post and tell others about the journey I have been on this past year. I have always struggled with mental health issues. I am now a 34 year old women with 4 children happily married. About a year and a half ago I had a breakdown you could say. I was pregnant with my fourth and had relapsed into a dark depression full of anxiety. I couldn’t feel peace in my own home or anywhere for that matter. I had always been a follower of Christ and had a deep belief and connection. What took me from being in a depression to a total breakdown was my mind suddenly losing hope in God. It was sudden and tore my world apart. I have spent the past 15 months searching and reading gospel and searching for answers. I feel I am coming closer to being back where I was but I still struggle daily. I am healthy and happy but still looking for peace with myself and god. I am thankful to have SRT daily.

    • Alicia – thank you for your bravery. Pregnancy and post pardum bring with it many many hormones. I found Jesus, combined with therapy and medication, to be VERY helpful in rounding out the edges so to speak. I’ll be praying for you on your journey.

    • Julie

      My heart goes out to you Alicia. I am so glad you reached out to share. I can truly relate to you. I too had a rough year and a half myself. Things were happening that were out of my control and I had to find a place to put everything. Finding SRT, getting back to reading my bible and coming to this site for support has been helpful. Like CJ, I also decided I needed therapy and medication, that was hard for me to admit but so necessary for my recovery. I am finding my way back and I am so glad for this community. I’m still very much a work in progress but I am so thankful for His love and guidance. Many Blessings to you Alicia and you too CJ. I will keep you both in my prayers!

    • Rachel Lynn

      May God remind you of this every day. Seek His word and in community woh others. God has kept you close. You are Loved, Alicia!

    • Banks Lovett

      Reading your story brought tears to my eyes. I have walked in those very same foot steps and it is so hard. I have struggled on and off with anxiety and depression for a couple of years. I have had times that were “easier” than others but like you- I got pregnant a year and a half ago and my depression took a turn for the worse. I got to places that I emotionally had no clue were possible. I was in a huge mess for a while and completely lost hope. Somehow though- little by little I’ve started to see a clearer picture. Bit by bit I feel God is revealing to me the strength I can find in Him and he constantly reminds me that I cannot do this on my own. I know without a doubt that the depression made me rely on God and intentionally grow my relationship with him more. There are still times where I beat myself up for what I have gone through, and for what I’ve thought or experienced, and I even can easily find myself getting upset or angry for even having to deal with it all in the first place. But I have come to realize that Jesus is the only thing that makes sense- when everything is going crazy and my emotions want to take over- he is the constant. It’s not always easy but I have to trust that it will be worth it.
      Hang in there! You are on the right path. And don’t ever think your in this alone ♥️♥️

    • Carol Burnum

      Alicia, I totally understand you. I had a difficult year in 2017. I much better now. I thought it was a spiritual battle only, then I realized it’s mental and physical too. Instead of trying to manage my anxiety I learned to accept it. Our brains are a miraculous wonder. I am about 99% better now. I also went to see a good doctor and he used the right medications for me. I read the book DARE and would recommend it to you. I was having anxiety about my anxiety. I am on a strong antidepressant which helps so much. If anything I would tell you that it is not totally a spiritual battle but a physical one also. Praying you find answers.

  • When God creates a human being does God choose whether that person will choose God since God know all things including if that person He is creating will choose to follow God ?

    • Rhonda Johnson

      I often wonder things like this as well.

    • Sidney

      God created us as humans to have “free will” leaving us to decide our faith.

    • Danka

      He gave us free will so he’s not choosing it. He just somehow know if we choose Him. When you imagine that you know what your friend will do in the future, but it’s not your choice, it will be more understandable maybe.

    • Chloe

      Ch

    • Chloe

      As they replied, it is free will. God knows whether or not you will chose Him, but He does not force you into that decision. He guides you, but you ultimately have the choice to follow His guidance. He wants to have a loving relationship with you and if He forced you into following Him, you following Him wouldn’t be love because love isn’t forced.

    • Elle

      I don’t feel satisfied by the answer of free will… why are we compared to seed and soil?(wheat and tares, some seed fell on good soil, some on other various types of soil, ect.) Why does Jesus refer to his own sheep? Can I belong because I decide to? If I am wheat can I decide to become a tare or visa versa? If I am wheat, why on earth would I want to be a tare? How is it possible for Jesus to say that not one will be lost, if it is somehow in man’s power to be? Why would we need a savior? I’m not trying too be contrary or to make this conversation cloudy. I am seeking clarity, I am seeking understanding. If I love only because he loved me first… where is my free will? Didn’t God harden Pharaoh’s heart? Isn’t he just gathering back to himself what is his? Honest questions.

    • Lizzieb85

      Simply: yes.
      I encourage you to read Romans 9 along with some commentary. God is not constrained by time like we are. He knows everything at all “times”. The Bible says He knew His children before even creating the heavens & the earth.
      This can be a dividing topic as some believe in free will & others in God’s election. It’s probably good to look deeper into this. But I think Romans 9 does a good job of showing that God is creator, & we are not. He is righteous, just, loving, all-knowing, powerful, & worthy of all glory. We are not. As a follower of Christ, I trust Him wholeheartedly that He knows what He’s doing & I do not.

    • Lizzieb85

      These other comments didn’t show up when I originally posted so I want to respond a bit about the “free will” answer. The purpose of my post is to encourage thinking & reverence for God’s power, knowledge, love, & absolute other-worldiness that we mere humans can’t comprehend & for which He deserves our praise, trust, & adoration for.

      So I will start by saying that I’ve almost always leaned towards the free-will answer to this question. However, in recent studies of the Bible, some other truths have penetrated my heart & thinking. I wish I had the time & space to share all, but I will try to be brief.

      The Bible says that even Faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8-9). And that Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved from our sins & have eternal life with God. The Faith God gives us to believe is the only way to become one of His children. We do not manufacture our own faith, so as not to even be able to boast about our own faith (it is ONLY from God. God gets all the glory, all the time). Does God give Faith to everyone & it is our free will to choose to exercise it or not? I don’t know. But the Bible is clear that God loves ALL people & wishes that ALL would not perish (2 Peter 3:9). But we all know that not EVERYONE becomes a spiritual child of God. Jesus says this in today’s parable. “Many are invited, but few are chosen”. I think this is clear that God does choose who will be His children. Romans 8:28-30 talks about how God predestined, foreknew, called, etc… Romans 9 talks about God being the Creator of all things, as being perfectly Just. His ultimate goal is to glorify Himself, & who are we to question His methods? I just studied this passage, & I think I am still wrestling with it which is why I wanted to share.

      I think that a blanket statement about free will glosses over the magnitude of God’s knowledge, power, & justice. Yes, there are many many passages in the Bible about God’s love for us. I put that into this equation & do not gloss over it. I believe His love for the people He created is great, unfailing, & that He is faithful beyond all we can comprehend. And that’s just it. We can’t comprehend it because we are not God. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is to be PRAISED & revered for His Deity. We are His creation & cannot ever fully understand what or why He does what He does. We can trust what He HAS revealed to us, & that is His love story written in the Bible to us. If you believe in Jesus’ Salvation; you have assurance of eternal life. We do not know all. Only God does. We do not know who He has called, but He commissions us to tell EVERYONE about Him. In not knowing who will be His children, we have hope that ALL have the potential to be. So, we must trust the concrete things that the Bible tells us; God is love, He is the perfect Judge, He is Holy, He is all-knowing, & all-powerful. I do personally struggle with what this implies; that there are people God has not chosen to be in His family. That hurts. But God. I believe He is trustworthy & faithful. I believe He is all that the Bible says He is. I trust Him even though I can’t comprehend it.

      Here’s another thought: as humans, descendants of Adam, our default is to be a sinner. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Being a Sinner is our identity. A sinner’s default destiny is eternal separation from God. Unless God intervenes, that is the destiny of every human on earth. Eternal death. But God made a way through Jesus. God gives us the faith to believe in Jesus. Our sin nature cannot make faith for us. That is poor thinking. How can any good come out of the filth of our sin? It can not. Good only comes from God. Faith alone comes from God. Again, I ask, does God give faith to everyone & it is their free will to choose? I don’t know. What I do know is that God is to be glorified. Him alone for our salvation. However it actually comes about, it is by His hand.

  • Courtney Cates

    Really good devotional today. We do get hung up on earthly things and don’t pay attention to the future and our desire for heavenly things.

  • Janet Gregston

    Thankful for your good reflection Katie Stoddard. Thanks for the encouragement and exhortation.

  • God, you are the God of the living! Praise to you for the single sacrifice that removed all my sins, washing me white as snow, to enter into the kingdom of heaven, alive and able to praise you all of my days! So often I am consumed by this world- my focus is constantly on the here and now- my conviction is to rely on the scriptures, having Gods further embedded in my heart, for the here and now- and to have the mindset of eternity always in front of me.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Life! He is God of the living! My grandparents ~ my sister ~ my best-friend and her two sons ~ many others! PRAISE GOD! We have the certain hope of eternal life due to Christ’s perfect sacrifice! God is good all the time! All the time God is good!

  • Elena Valdez

    God of the living! AMEN!

  • Calle Demeter

    What does Matthew 22:11-13 mean?

    • Kelly Chataine

      We must be clothed in Christ’s blood and righteousness to enter heaven. We are not able to be saved/forgiven without Christ’s blood. When God looks upon us, He sees the perfect sacrifice of His beloved Son, which makes us heirs.

    • Stacy

      My Bible commentary says the robes were given to wedding guests to wear. To refuse to wear it would be an insult and would in essence say in arrogance i don’t need it. We need Jesus righteousness to enter heaven so we need to choose to put on the robe of his righteousness to enter heaven. My paraphrase from life application Bible.

    • C J

      Many people were invited to the wedding. Since they were not given notice, (my study Bible said) the servants would’ve provided robes for them. Since the man was not wearing his robe, we can only assume he chose not to put it on. Therefore, he was thrown out of the wedding. God gives a general invitation for all to receive him, but because He is loving, He also gives us free will to choose Him. This man was invited, but chose to reject the gifts given to him, so he was thrown out. I picture it like this: when we become believers, we put off our old clothes and are given the fresh new clean clothes the Holy Spirit provides.

      The other point here (vs 13) is regarding the doctrine of election. Although all are invited, not everyone is chosen. This is an uncomfortable thought for some. But we ALL deserve punishment, so I am so humbled that he chose to show mercy on me. He RESCUES those he chooses, and they choose to follow him.

    • Kristi L

      My Study Bible says, “It was customary for wedding guests to be given garments to wear to the banquet. It was unthinkable to refuse to wear these garments. That would insult the host, who could only assume that the guest was arrogant and thought he didn’t need these garments, or that he did not want to take part in the wedding celebration. The wedding clothes picture the righteousness needed to enter God’s kingdom – the total acceptance in God’s eyes that Christ gives every believer. Christ has provided this garment of righteousness for everyone, but each person must choose to put it on in order to enter the King’s banquet (eternal life). There is an open invitation, but we must be ready.”

      I see this as a reminder that we cannot enter heaven through our own merit or righteousness. We can’t earn our salvation. We must accept God’s gift of salvation through Christ’s finished work on the cross and choose to live our lives governed by Him.

    • Bessie

      I’ve wondered that, too and so I read Matthew Henry’s commentary. He said that the wedding feast is God the King anointing His son, Jesus as the bride of the church. The wedding garment is the gospel and all who put it on are welcome. Since the Jews rejected Jesus, thus refusing to come to the feast, God opened it to all who would believe.
      What jumped out at me is that no one at the wedding feast recognized the one who didn’t have the garment on. It wasn’t until the King arrived that he noticed the man. Only the King could see the man’s heart was not right. As with believers today, we cannot discern another person’s heart. Only God can and should and will do that. We need to focus on our own heart.

  • DebbieinAZ

    I believe this is referring to those who accept the call and receive Christ as their savior. I found a good explanation here. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-did-jesus-mean-by-many-are-called-but-few-are-chosen/ Hope that helps.

  • Jo Gistand

    I loved that quote from the devotional, because we can fight against our own fleshly thoughts through knowing the scriptures. We will have a kind and loving response to ourselves and others.

  • Katalina Gonzalez

    I absolutely loved this devotional because it brings me back to a thought that I always try to remind myself of and that’s that everything in this life is temporary. Everything on this Earth will one day fade and cease to exist. All of my possessions, all of my work, all of my experiences will have come to an end. The true life I’m going to live will be up in Heaven with my Savior. Sometimes I forget about that when I’m crippled with anxiety over certain things or I desperately want something that I have no money to buy… but I immediately go back to the idea that it is just a temporary feel of happiness, while God is eternal. Heaven is eternal. So if you ever start to feel that sadness, that pain or that want that you can’t have, just remember, it’s all just temporary. Earthly possessions, Earthly desires, Earthly experiences don’t last forever. But God does. Heaven does. And it awaits you <3

  • Jo Gistand

    “Christ also challenged the Saducees to know

  • Jessica Terpstra

    Living with hope in the resurrection today!

  • I am guilty of forgetting there’s life after death. Life is such a fleeting thing, and yet, I become so wrapped up in the situations I find myself in and let my worries and fears control me.

    Just over the weekend I faced a challenge. I was asked to do a task I didn’t feel comfortable doing, but I said yes due to obligation. So I let this approaching task drive me crazy emotionally, physically, mentally, and unfortunately, spiritually as well. I forgot to go to God for my peace and instead I looked for peace within my surroundings. As if people can provide me with the comfort of my living God! I forgot, in my worry, that the Spirit of God (the same one that overcame death!) resides in my body!

    So I did the task, despite my fears. And you know what? It wasn’t so bad. I survived it. Those uncomfortable couple hours it took to accomplish the task are just a microscopic dot when it comes to ETERNAL LIFE WITH JESUS! Oh how I can’t wait to be in the presence of God, where His Glory is impossible to be forgotten.

    Lord, give me the mindset that where You are, there is abundant life. Remind me that You’re with me always, even now. Amen.

  • Janet Caldwell

    Many are invited, but few are chosen. This parable has always confused me. Any thoughts?

    • Kathy

      I also am confused with this particular parable.

      • DebbieinAZ

        I believe this is referring to those who accept the call and receive Christ as their savior.

    • Peggy

      I think that line refers to the fact that Christ died for all, but only a few hear and accept salvation.

    • Kristi L

      I looked up the Greek translation for the word “chosen” in verse 14.

    • Ash

      I found this commentary that breaks down each section – it might be helpful!
      https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/matthew-22/

    • Kristi L

      Sorry! Posted my reply too early! Anyway, the Greek word for “chosen” is elektos. Here is a quote I found for the definition: Typically, 1588 /eklektós (“select, chosen”) describes people who choose to follow the Lord, i.e. become God’s choice by freely receiving faith (4102 /pístis) from Him. Accordingly, these two terms are directly connected (see Tit 1:1; Lk 18:7,8).

      So I think it means that Christ died for all of us, but only a few respond to God’s call and receive salvation. In choosing to follow God, as the definition I posted states, we also become His choice or His “elect,” as other passages in the Bible describe it.

      • Terri

        It says many are invited, not all.

        • Kristi L

          Terri, good point. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. In that case, perhaps the verse is talking about the doctrine of Election/Predestination that Danielle mentioned in reply to Janet’s original question. This is still something I am trying to wrap my head around, but God’s ways are so much higher than our ways that it’s possible I may never truly understand it. The Bible does tell us that we are chosen though. I have on doubt about that, and I am so incredibly thankful that He chose me.

    • Janet Gregston

      Thank you Kristi L. And I think Christ could say this because God, Father, Holy Spirit is eternal without beginning or end and knew each creation before the foundations of the world.

    • Jo Gistand

      Great explanation Kristi! I took it to mean something similar. Everyone has the opportunity to hear the gospel in some form or another, as it is written in our hearts. Some openly disregard it and deny the very existence, and are not “chosen” as the elect. How thankful I am that GOD chose me to break my heart and open my eyes so that I could see him and choose him.

    • Danielle

      I think it refers to the doctrine of Election and that God chose those he would save from the foundation of the world. The original invitees disregarded the invitation so the host sent out his servants to invite those that were “common folk”. God is the host and sent prophets to invite people to the wedding (repentance). They refused and continued to go about their daily duties and ignored the invitation. So God sent Jesus and he invites the sick and poor and wretched and they come willingly.

  • Churchmouse

    Yes! It is when I dive into the deep end of the Living Water, the Word of God, that I can swim strong against the riptides of this life. God reminds me to not settle for treading water but to swim determinedly for shore. He waits there. He is not just making breakfast for me but a banquet awaits. On that heavenly shore is Jesus and all those who also dared to get out of the boat and dive in with reckless abandon. May I dive deep every day. May I swim strong. One day He will reach from the shore and pull me up and out of the waters and into His forever embrace. What a day that will be! Thank you, Lord, for Your Truth that keeps me going.

  • “Because of His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope…

  • Kianna Boatswain

    Good read for the day!

  • Tracy Sims

    So grateful he is the God of the living!

  • Barbie Oates

    God of the living! YES!

  • Hannah Souter

    Woo

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