Matt 22:1-14 The Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast
Bruce R. McConkie
"In this Parable of the Marriage of the King's Son, sometimes called the Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast, Jesus teaches these truths: (1) His own divine Sonship; (2) the impending destruction of Jerusalem; (3) the rejection of the Jewish remnant of the covenant race; (4) the gospel call to the Gentiles; and (5) that those who answer the gospel call will not be chosen for salvation unless they put on (the robes of righteousness.) Compare Luke 14:16-24.
"Deity himself is the king in the parable; Jesus, his offspring and heir, is the king's son; and those first invited to 'the marriage of the Lamb' (D. & C. 58:11) are the chosen and favored hosts of Israel to whom the gospel had been offered in ages past. 'The remnant' who rejected the later invitation with violence and murder were Jewish descendants of ancient Israel; and it was their city, Jerusalem, which was violently destroyed." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1: 597.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"And so it is, as the millennial day approaches, that the servants of the Lord go forth, inviting all men, Jew and Gentile alike, to come to 'the supper of the Lamb,' to 'make ready for the Bridegroom,' to come to 'a feast of fat things,' and 'of wine on the lees well refined,' to come to 'a supper of the house of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited.' (D&C 58:6-11; 65:3.) And it shall yet come to pass that those who accept the invitation and come to the feast, but who do not wear the approved wedding garments and are not clothed in the robes of righteousness, shall be cast into outer darkness. In that day only the pure and the clean shall feast at the eternal table." (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, 354.)
"In the 22nd chapter of Matthew's account of the Messiah, we find the kingdom of heaven likened unto a king who made a marriage for his son. That this son was the Messiah will not be disputed, since it was the kingdom of heaven that was represented in the parable. And that the Saints, or those who are found faithful to the Lord, are the individuals who will be found worthy to inherit a seat at the marriage supper is evident from the sayings of John in Revelation: ' . . . The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints' [Rev. 19:7-8]."(Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, 101-102.)
Matt 22:3 he sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come
George Albert Smith
"How much this is like the world today! God has restored his Gospel. He has sent his servants into the world. They have called all men to repentance, as far as they could reach them; have not reviled them or been unkind, but have invited them to come into the wedding feast that the Lord has prepared, and in many cases they have been ignored. People have been too busy to hear the message. The invitation meant nothing to them. They didn't believe in what was being done, and in some cases they have ill-treated those who had come to them in kindness and love.
"The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of peace. It is not a gospel of contention. We are instructed by the Savior to go into all the world and teach this Gospel unto every creature. That commandment has been given to the Church in this day. We do not go out in our own name or in our own strength, but we offer to our Father's children these precious truths, that are essential for them to understand in order that they may gain the blessing that our Heavenly Father intends." (Conference Report, October 1930, Second Day-Morning Meeting 64.)
Matt 22:5 But they made light of it
"'Again he sent forth, . . . saying, . . . I have prepared my dinner, . . . and all things are ready. . . . But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise' (Matthew 22:2-5). Back to the office and the farm as they virtuously called attention to solid work to be done and 'made light' of mere partying. Yet it was a gross insult to their generous host. 'Deny not the gifts of God!' is the final plea of the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:8). Who would despise such gifts?" (Approaching Zion, 234)
Matt 22:7 the king...sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city
Details such as this are not without literal fulfillment. The Jewish nation was punished for rejecting the prophets. In 70 AD, the Roman armies sacked Jerusalem-starving, massacring, and crucifying the people. Josephus records the following:
"But when they (the Roman soldiers) went in numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is, of such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this sight, and went out without touching any thing. But although they had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner, yet had they not the same for those that were still alive, but they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men's blood." (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, book VI, chap. VIII, v. 5)
Matt 22:11 he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment
"It was well known to the Savior's audience that one had to be suitably dressed to appear before a king. The apparel of the guest was a reflection of respect for the host. It was also a matter of common knowledge that the appropriate dress for such an occasion was that of white robes (Clarke, Adam. Clarke's Commentary. 3 vols. Nashville: Abingdon Press, no date given. 3:210). It appears evident that people brought in from the highways of the earth would have neither time nor means to procure wedding garments. The king had obviously supplied his guests from his own wardrobe. All had been invited to clothe themselves in the garments of royalty. The man cast out had chosen to trust in his own dress rather than that provided by the king. By interpretation, he had chosen to join the true worshipers, that is the church or kingdom of God, yet he had not chosen to dress as the others had dressed. He was not one with them. He desired the full blessings of the kingdom, but on his own terms, not those of the king. He had spurned the ritual garment and the righteousness associated with it. This is emphasized in the Joseph Smith Translation, which adds to the statement that many are called but few chosen the explanation that 'all do not have on the wedding garment' (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 22:14).
"All who are to feast in the heavenly kingdom must be properly clothed. They must be wearing the garments of purity and holiness, garments made white through 'the blood of the Lamb' (Revelation 7:14)." (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Gospel Symbolism, 133.)
George Albert Smith
"Here was a man who came into the wedding feast, and when the time came the king or the master saw that he didn't have a wedding garment on. He had ignored the importance of it, apparently. He had come in, not prepared, expecting to participate...
"The world seems to think that they can come whenever they are ready. Our Father's children do not understand that there is some preparation to be made. The adversary has so deceived them as to make them believe that no preparation is necessary, anything will do, but in this message that the Savior gave in a parable to his associates we are informed that there must be some preparation, and without that preparation no one will be permitted to partake of the more precious gifts of our Heavenly Father. That applies to the membership of this Church who have an idea that because they have been invited, and because their names appear upon the record among those who have been called, there is nothing more for them to do; men who have been blessed in a financial way; women who have become prominent in social life. They have forgotten the Lord and are not preparing for the feast to which he has invited them.
"Our Heavenly Father intends that we shall prepare for the wedding feast or we will be excluded. He expects us to continue to store our minds with the truth, and to disseminate that truth as opportunity offers among all his children. The fact that our names appear upon the Church records is no guarantee that we will find our place in the celestial kingdom. Only those who live worthy to be members of that kingdom shall find place there." (Conference Report, October 1930, Second Day-Morning Meeting 68.)
Matt 22:15-16 the Pharisees...took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians
Christ's enemies hated each other, but when it came to discrediting Jesus of Nazareth, they were best buddies. The Pharisees would combine with the Sadducees if it suited their evil purpose. This time the Pharisees joined hands with the Herodians-a marriage only of convenience. On this particular day, the Sadducees joined in the fray, trying to trap him with their favorite subject, the resurrection (v. 23-33). Indeed, every Jewish sect claiming any authority would challenge Jesus, but none would do so successfully.
Wisely, Luke noticed the irony of these temporary alliances, 'And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves' (Lu 23:12). It would seem that these evil factions could agree on only one thing-to combine their strength against Christ.
"Perhaps it was by the invitation of Providence that the contending sects of Judaism, whether religious or political, confronted Jesus in the temple this day to challenge his Messiahship. All in turn manifested their murderous hatred, were confounded and silenced, and affirmed their zealous devotion to the Prince of Darkness." (Joseph F. McConkie, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 5: The Gospels, ed. by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet, 383 - 384.)
Matt 22:17 Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Howard W. Hunter
"The question was maliciously framed so as to require an answer of 'yes' or 'no,' either of which would give them the basis to destroy him. If he had said, 'Yes, pay the tax,' he would have been called a traitor. It would have driven a wedge between him and his followers and created rebellion. If his answer had been, 'No, it is not lawful to pay the tax,' they would have delivered him into the hands of Rome on the charge of treason.
"His adversaries intended that Jesus would be gored on whichever horn of dilemma he might choose. The interesting thing about his answer is that he did not evade the question, but he answered it clearly and positively without being caught on either horn." (Conference Report, April 1968, Second Day-Morning Meeting 65.)
Matt 22:21 Whose is this image and superscription?
James E. Talmage
"One may draw a lesson if he will, from the association of our Lord's words with the occurrence of Caesar's image on the coin. It was that effigy with its accompanying superscription that gave special point to His memorable instruction, 'Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's.' This was followed by the further injunction: 'and unto God the things that are God's.' Every human soul is stamped with the image and superscription of God, however blurred and indistinct the line may have become through the corrosion or attrition of sin; and as unto Caesar should be rendered the coins upon which his effigy appeared, so unto God should be given the souls that bear His image. Render unto the world the stamped pieces that are made legally current by the insignia of worldly powers, and give unto God and His service, yourselves-the divine mintage of His eternal realm." (Jesus the Christ, 506)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Yes, to Caesar we owe taxes. But to God, in whose image we are minted, we owe ourselves!' ("Answer Me," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 31)
Matt 22:21 Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's
"Peter's counsel to the Saints in his day was: 'Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.' Such a course, Peter said, 'is the will of God.' Hence these words of counsel: 'Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.' (1 Pet. 2:13-17.)
"Elder McConkie has pointed out:
"Subjection to secular power does not constitute a divine approval of the system of government involved. . . . The Lord's counsel . . . is obedience and subjection. . . . Rebellion would bring civil penalties that well might preclude true worship itself. . . .
"Paul is of one mind with his fellow apostle in counseling the saints 'to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.' (Titus 3:1-2.) . . . He exhorts that 'supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority.' Why? 'That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.' That is, so that we may be free to live our religion and work out our salvation. 'For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.' (1 Timothy 2:1-3.)" (Kay P. Edwards, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 7: 1 Nephi to Alma 29, ed. by Kent P. Jackson, 279-280.)
Dallin H. Oaks
"The apostle Peter taught the early Saints to submit themselves to civil authority. (1 Pet. 2:13-17.) These teachings recognize that the saints of that day were subject to two different authorities-the laws of man and the laws of God.
"Whenever the laws of God are given and administered by one authority and the laws of man are given and administered by other authorities, some who are subject to these two different laws and authorities can become confused. Some may not understand which laws apply to a particular circumstance...Such misunderstandings occur in our own day. Some Latter-day Saints are confused over the content, purposes, and procedures of the two kinds of laws that apply to them, the laws of God and the laws of man.
"The divinely directed pattern in this dispensation is clear. It is one of dual jurisdiction. The children of God in every nation are subject to one authority that establishes and administers the laws of God and to another group of authorities who establish and administer the laws of man." (The Lord's Way, 210.)
Howard W. Hunter
"The wisdom of this answer defines the limitations of dual sovereigns and defines the jurisdiction of the two empires of heaven and earth. The image of monarchs stamped on coins denotes that temporal things belong to the temporal sovereign. The image of God stamped on the heart and soul of a man denotes that all its facilities and powers belong to God and should be employed in his service.
"The lesson taught by the Master is so clear that elaboration is not necessary, nor will I labor the point. The test to be applied in weighing allegiance to sovereignty, where dual sovereigns are involved, is a matter of wisdom. I submit that there is no real conflict which creates a serious question as to allegiance.
"In the present day of unrest, the question might appropriately be asked, what do we owe to Caesar? To the country in which we live? We owe allegiance, respect, and honor. Laws enacted to promote the welfare of the whole and suppress evil doing are to be strictly obeyed. We must pay tribute to sustain the government in the necessary expense incurred in the protection of life, liberty, property, and in promoting the welfare of all persons." (Conference Report, April 1968, Second Day-Morning Meeting 66.)
Matt 22:21 Render...unto God the things that are God's
Spencer W. Kimball
"One day, a friend took me to his ranch. He unlocked the door of a large new automobile, slid under the wheel, and said proudly, 'How do you like my new car?' We rode in luxurious comfort into the rural areas to a beautiful new landscaped home, and he said with no little pride, 'This is my home.'
"He drove to a grassy knoll. The sun was retiring behind the distant hills. He surveyed his vast domain. Pointing to the north, he asked, 'Do you see that clump of trees yonder?' I could plainly discern them in the fading day. He pointed to the east. 'Do you, see the lake shimmering in the sunset?' It too was visible. 'Now, the bluff that's on the south.' We turned about to scan the distance. He identified barns, silos, the ranch house to the west. With a wide sweeping gesture, he boasted, 'From the clump of trees, to the lake, to the bluff, and to the ranch buildings and all between-all this is mine. And the dark specks in the, meadow-those cattle also are mine.'
"And then I asked from whom he obtained it. The chain of title of his abstract went back to land grants from governments. His attorney had assured him he had an unencumbered title.
"'From whom did the government get it?' I asked. 'What was paid for it?'
"There came into my mind the bold statement of Paul: 'For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.' (1 Cor. 10:26.) ....
"And then I asked, 'Did [the] title come from God, Creator of the earth and the owner thereof? Did he get paid? Was it sold or leased or given to you? If gift, from whom? If sale, with what exchange or currency? If lease, do you make proper accounting?' And then I asked, 'What was the price? With what treasures did you buy this farm?'
"...'Yea, all things which come of the earth, . . . are made for the benefit and the use of man. . . .' (D&C 59:16, 18.) This promise does not seem to convey the earth but only the use and contents which are given to men on condition that they live all of the commandments of God.
"But my friend continued to mumble, 'Mine-mine,' as if to convince himself against the surer knowledge that he was at best a recreant renter.
"That was long years ago. I saw him lying in his death among luxurious furnishings in a palatial home. His had been a vast estate. And I folded his arms upon his breast, and drew down the little curtains over his eyes. I spoke at his funeral, and I followed the cortege from the good piece of earth he had claimed to his grave, a tiny, oblong area the length of a tall man, the width of a heavy one.
"Yesterday I saw that same estate, yellow in grain, green in lucerne, white in cotton, seemingly unmindful of him who had claimed it. Oh, puny man, see the busy ant moving the sands of the sea." (Conference Report, April 1968, Afternoon Meeting 73-74)
Hyrum M. Smith
"The very image of God is impressed upon the children of men. They belong to him; He owns them, and he will never rest until he has brought them into a condition where they gladly and voluntarily render unto God that which belongs to God." (Conference Report, October 1916, Second Day-Morning Session 42.)
Matthew 22:23 the Sadducees...say that there is no resurrection
One of the main doctrinal differences between the Pharisees and Sadducees revolved around the afterlife. James E. Talmage said, "The powerful Sadducees of that day condemned the doctrine of a resurrection; the Pharisees professed vague concepts of resurrection of or from the dead, in the sense of there being some awakening of the Spirit that had been asleep; but only those who had accepted the testimony of the Christ believed in the absolute and literal resurrection." (Conference Report, April 1928, Third Day-Morning Meeting 91.) "Sadducean doctrine denied the actuality and possibility of a bodily resurrection, the contention resting mainly on the ground that Moses, who was regarded as the supreme mortal lawgiver in Israel, and the chief mouthpiece of Jehovah, had written nothing concerning life after death." (Jesus the Christ, 68)
As this was a critical doctrine for them, the Sadducees chose a question designed to make a mockery of the doctrine of the resurrection. Their question was also designed to make a mockery of the doctrine of celestial marriage. In the final analysis, the Lord's response made a mockery of them, for they understood 'neither the scriptures (regarding the resurrection), nor the power of God (regarding celestial marriage).' (v. 29)
Matthew 22:24 his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother
This concept is part of the doctrine of celestial marriage, for how can the first brother have any seed if the family does not continue in the eternities. The Sadducees, however did not understand this principle. There had not been a prophet holding this power in Israel for about 400 years. What little they knew about it came from scripture and tradition but not from true doctrine. In Genesis, Judah does command one of his sons to raise up seed to his brother (Gen 38:7-10), but does so in error as the first son was so wicked that the Lord destroyed him.
Joseph F. Smith
"They did not understand the principle of sealing for time and for all eternity; that what God hath joined together neither man nor death can put asunder. (Matthew 19:6); they had wandered from that principle. It had fallen into disuse among them; they had ceased to understand it; and consequently they did not comprehend the truth; but Christ did. She could only be the wife in eternity of the man to whom she was united by the power of God for eternity, as well as for time; and Christ understood the principle but He did not cast His pearls before the swine that tempted Him." (Conference Report, April 1912, Afternoon Session. 136.)
Matthew 22:28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be?
"The modern equivalent would be for a woman who does not believe in Christ, in his redemptive mission, or in resurrection, to ask a modern prophet which of the seven men to whom she had been married will be her husband in the world to come. The answer, obviously, is none of them. Because one unbeliever has been told that she has no claim on spouse or family in the world to come certainly is not to say that those who prove worthy of the full blessings of the Lord, including the blessings of eternal marriage, have no such promise." (Robert L. Millet, The Mormon Faith: Understanding Restored Christianity, 183.)
Matthew 22:30 in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage
James E. Talmage
"In the resurrection there will be no marrying nor giving in marriage; for all questions of marital status must be settled before that time, under the authority of the Holy Priesthood, which holds the power to seal in marriage for both time and eternity." (Jesus the Christ, p. 548.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"This is the only answer the Lord could have given to these unbelievers. It is in full accord with the revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, wherein the Lord says that, 'when they [those of this world who do not keep the whole law] are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven; which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.' (DC 132:16-17)
"The answers are exactly the same and apply to those who may be worthy of some salvation, notwithstanding their rejection of the eternal marriage covenant. There will be no marrying, neither giving in marriage among those who reject the truth of the everlasting gospel. That privilege is confined to those who keep the commandments of the Lord in their fulness and who are obedient to the laws of God.
"Restrictions will be placed upon those who enter the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms, and even those in the celestial kingdom who do not get the exaltation; changes will be made in their bodies to suit their condition; and there will be no marrying or giving in marriage, nor living together of men and women, because of these restrictions." (Doctrines of Salvation, 2: 73.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"From this answer given to these Sadducees, the Christian world reached the conclusion that there is no marriage beyond this mortal life. Therefore marriages, whether performed by ministers of religion or by officers of the law who are duly authorized, are performed until death separates the contracting husband and wife. This form of marriage, however, was not from the beginning.
"In giving instruction to the Pharisees, the Savior set forth a very different doctrine. They came to him and questioned him on divorce. In the answer which he gave to them he taught the doctrine of the eternal marriage covenant.
"Here we have in the words of Jesus the declaration that the marriage covenant is intended to be eternal...Why the difference in the answers? The Sadducees denied the resurrection and the future life; the Pharisees accepted both, and each got the answer according to belief and attitude in life. Let it be remembered that the first marriage on this earth was made before there was any death. In that day the Lord said: 'It is not good for man to be alone.' Therefore he gave him a wife. This marriage was not intended to be broken, and the idea of death and an eternal separation never entered into it." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:146; 2:120.)
Matthew 22:32 I am the God of Abraham...God is not the God of the dead, but of the living
James E. Talmage
"This was a direct assault upon the Sadducean doctrine of negation concerning the literal resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees were distinctively the zealous upholders of the law, wherein Jehovah affirms Himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; yet they denied the possible resurrection of these patriarchs, and made the exalted title, under which the Lord had revealed Himself to Moses...The declaration that Jehovah is not the God of the dead but of the living was an unanswerable denunciation of the Sadducean perversion of scripture; and with solemn finality the Lord added: 'Ye therefore do greatly err.' Certain of the scribes present were impressed by the incontrovertible demonstration of the truth, and exclaimed with approbation: 'Master, thou hast well said.' The proud Sadducees were confuted and silenced; 'and after that they durst not ask him any question at all.'" (Jesus the Christ, 509)
Matthew 22:37 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart
Howard W. Hunter
"This clear, concise, unmistakable restatement of the Decalogue reduces the ten laws, the 'thou shalt nots,' as they are often called, to two simple admonitions containing the element of love-love the Lord and love thy neighbor.
"He loves the Lord with all his heart who loves nothing in comparison of him, and nothing but in reference to him, who is ready to give up, do, or suffer anything in order to please and glorify him. He loves God with all his soul, or rather with all his life, who is ready to give up life for his sake and to be deprived of the comforts of the world to glorify him. He loves God with all his strength who exerts all the powers of his body and soul in the service of God. He loves God with all his mind who applies himself only to know God and his will, who sees God in all things and acknowledges him in all ways." (Conference Report, April 1965, Second Day-Morning Meeting 58.)
Heber J. Grant
"The longer I live, the more I study the gospel, the more I come in contact with men, the more forcibly am I impressed with the truth of the sayings of our Savior in the words that I have just read to you. If we did in every deed love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, there would be no need of urging from time to time upon the people the necessity of keeping the commandments of the Lord. It would be a pleasure to them to serve God and keep His commandments. We are told that where a man's treasure is, there will his heart be also, and if we loved the Lord with all our heart and mind and soul, serving Him would be the great object of our lives, and the treasure we would work to gain would be His love. If we followed that second commandment, to love our neighbor as ourself, there would be no need of bishop's or High Council trials; our difficulties would all be settled amicably, if we really and truly loved our neighbor. It would be almost a waste of time to appeal to the people for donations, to urge them to be liberal, to be generous, to strive for the benefit and welfare of their fellows.
"While we as a people do not fully come up to the requirements of the first great commandment, nor completely meet the requirements of the second, yet, I bear my testimony to you here today, I believe that of all people upon the face of the earth, there is no other people who love the Lord their God as do the Latter-day Saints. There is no other people upon the face of the earth who give such absolute evidence of their love of God by their acts, by the sacrifices they make, by the labors they perform, by the diligence with which they strive to serve God and keep His commandments. I believe there is no other people to be found on the earth that compare to the Latter-day Saints in these respects." (Conference Report, October 1911, Afternoon Session. 21.)
Thomas S. Monson
"If you or I were there, we might then have asked, 'Master, how might we best show our love?' Perhaps we would have heard the words, 'He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.' (John 14:21.) Or, 'If ye love me, keep my commandments.' (John 14:15.)
"Another question: 'How might I best show my love for my fellowmen?' And the words of King Benjamin could well apply: 'When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.' (Mosiah 2:17.) Service is the best measuring stick of love." (Be Your Best Self, 193-194.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"When these two rigorous requirements receive more deep reflection than is usually given to them, one observes that there is a significant difference in the breathtaking wording of the first great commandment compared with that of the second commandment. We are to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our strength. But we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. (Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:29-34; Luke 10:25-28.)
"The first commandment does not read, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God as thyself.' This would be both too little and the wrong kind of love. Nor does the second commandment read, 'Thou shalt love they neighbor with all thy heart, mind, soul, and strength.' This would be neighbor worship.
"Whereas our Perfect Father can be trusted with our bestowal of all our devotion of heart, mind, soul, and strength, we cannot. Nor can our neighbor. Moreover, only when proper love of God comes first can our love of self and neighbor be safely shaped and nurtured." (Notwithstanding My Weakness, 24 - 25.)
Matthew 22:39 love thy neighbour as thyself
"This is not emotional fluff. This is not pie in the sky, wishful thinking, or idealistic gas. Love is not some subsidiary principle that allows the weepy among us to go off on a crying jag. It's not just something thrown in for the benefit of the sisters or for the super-sensitive 'artsy' types. It is not an option that may be ignored by those who would prefer not to clutter their lives with other peoples' problems. There is a grand key here, probably the grandest of them all. It is this: the heart and soul of the gospel is love, and all the rest is commentary. Whatever else we may perceive religion to be, we are wrong-for true religion is love in action-God's love for us and our love for God and for our neighbors." (Stephen E. Robinson, Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good News, 125.)
Richard L. Evans
"I read into this something, or would like to read into it today, something which is not always read into it: I think this implies not only that we should love our neighbors, but in a very sincere and real and unselfish way we should also love ourselves. I think the Lord God must have intended that we should have a high regard and respect for ourselves as well as a high regard and respect for other men." (Conference Report, April 1959, Afternoon Meeting 114 - 115.)
Elder Heber C. Iverson
"'If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother (mark the strong language employed), he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?' (1Jn. 4:20) Hypocrisy, the spirit of the Pharisee, was most contemptible in the estimation of the Master, and brought forth such strong condemnation in such forceful language as he was not wont to use. Again he said, 'A new commandment I give unto you, that ye shall love one another; and hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples, because ye love one another.'" (Conference Report, October 1920, First Overflow Meeting 102)
Boyd K. Packer
"The Lord might have answered, love your neighbor as you love your husband or your wife, or love your neighbor as you love your parents or your best friends. But He knew something. He knew that while there are many exceptions to any rule as to who loves whom, there is virtually no one who does not love himself. In this we are all alike." (Teach Ye Diligently, 125.)
Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets
Eldred G. Smith
"These two commandments are inseparable. It is impossible to fulfil the first without fulfilling the second. We cannot love our Father in heaven without loving our fellow men and loving our neighbor." (Conference Report, April 1961, Afternoon Meeting 69.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"If we will observe this first law, the second naturally will follow, and in fact, as the Savior has pointed it out, we will not be guilty of a breach of the law and the prophets in anything else." (Conference Report, October 1947, Afternoon Meeting 145.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Since all the laws and the prophets hang upon the first and second commandments (see Matthew 22:35-40), our keeping of those two great commandments is the biggest and most constant challenge. If, however, after all they have done for us, we do not have enough faith to love the Father and Jesus, or if we deny the divinity of the Lord who so agonizingly ransomed us, whatever else in life we honorably accomplish it will not qualify us for eternal association with them." (Lord, Increase Our Faith, 28.)
Gene R. Cook
"That great summary statement of the Lord is so inclusive: all of the scriptures in the Savior's day centered upon those two great commandments. What they do is tie an individual or family to the Lord. And when the Lord is part of something, it will not fail." (Raising Up a Family to the Lord, 74.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"This must be the foundation of our instruction: love of God and love for and service to others-neighbors, family, and all with whom we have association. That which we teach must be constantly gauged against these two standards established by the Lord. If we shall do so, this work will continue to roll forward." ("He Slumbers Not, nor Sleeps," Ensign, May 1983, p. 8.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Like His Father, Jesus is perfect in love, knowledge, power, justice, judgment, kindness, mercy, patience, and truth.
"Reflecting upon those eternal attributes with which we are to be seriously and constantly concerned in our lives, we see that the capacity to love is at the very center of the two great commandments. Indeed, the other commandments that follow the two great commandments seem by comparison more like helpful and needed guardrails to keep us on the straight and narrow path! Surely the primacy of love is demonstrated by its recurring appearance in the cluster of commandments." (Even As I Am, 38.)
"When we can keep these two commandments, do you not think that the law of God will be written in our hearts? Yes, and it will never be erased. When I have a manifestation, through the brethren that speak, that the love of God is planted in their souls, that God rules and reigns in their affections, I care not what language they make use of to express their ideas, there is joy, peace, and solid satisfaction in listening to the words of their mouths." (Journal of Discourse, 9: 292.)
Matthew 22:42 What think ye of Christ?
Ezra Taft Benson
"Several years ago, a number of prominent theologians were asked the question, What do you think of Jesus? Their replies startled many professed Christians.
"One asserted that a 'true Christian' must reject the resurrection. Another admitted that New Testament scholars were so divided on the question that one cannot say anything certain about the historical Jesus. Another scholar and teacher of Jesuit priests explained, 'It is difficult to say in our age what the divinity of Jesus can mean. We are groping now for a way to express it-we just don't know.' ("Easter 1966-A Quest for the True Jesus," Newsweek, April 11, 1966, p. 72.)
"In a public opinion poll conducted by George Gallup, Jr., seven in ten adult American respondents said they believed in the divinity of Christ. But 90 percent of these said that Jesus is divine only in the sense that He embodies the best that is in all men. (Church News, October 23, 1983.)
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consents to no such ambiguity in relation to our position regarding Jesus Christ." (Come unto Christ, 2.)
Elder John M. Knight
"One thing that impresses me is this thought, the Latter-day Saints must be forever the champions of the divinity of Christ's mission, and ever be his chief defender in the world. I have little patience with agnostic Christians, who accept a salary for preaching to please their congregations, and who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ's mission, and who are doing all in their power to eradicate belief in him from the minds and hearts of the people who look to them for guidance. You go among them and propound the same question that Jesus of Nazareth asked of the Jews in his day, 'What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is he?' and I am sure that you will be astounded at the number and the uncertainty of the answers that you will receive from them. One will say to you, 'He is a prophet sent of God.' Another will say, 'He is the ideally perfect character.' Another will tell you that he is the greatest of all moral teachers. But you press them for something more definite; ask them, 'Is he divine? Was he God Is he God?' and they will tell you, some of them, 'We do not know,' 'We cannot tell,' 'We cannot concern ourselves with difficult theological questions.' Some of them more honest than the rest will tell you outright, 'No he is not God; he is not the Son of God, and he never claimed to be, in any of his well attested sayings.' They will tell you that he was a man in every sense of the word, with not only a human body but with human intellect and will, and that he bore the same relationship to the human family that you and I bear to that family." (Conference Report, October 1924, Third Day-Morning Session 120.)
Harold B. Lee
"What think ye of Christ? Today we should ask ourselves the question, in answer to what the Master asked of those in His day, 'What think ye of Christ?' (Matthew 22:42.) We ought to ask as we would say it today, 'What think we of Christ?' and then make it a little more personal and ask, 'What think I of Christ?' Do I think of Him as the Redeemer of my soul? Do I think of Him with no doubt in my mind as the one who appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith? Do I believe that He established this church upon the earth? Do I accept Him as the Savior of this world? Am I true to my covenants, which in the waters of baptism, if I understood, meant that I would stand as a witness of Him at all times, and in all things, and in all places, wherever I would be, even until death? (See Mosiah 18:9.)" (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams, 8.)
David O. McKay
"'What think ye of Christ?' . . . To the Church, and to the world, I repeat this question as being the most vital, the most far-reaching query in this unsettled, distracted world." (Gospel Ideals, Improvement Era, 1953, p. 1.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"My friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters all, the most important question in human history is one which will not go away. It echoes down through the corridors of time. And 'Jesus asked them,...What think ye of Christ?' (Matt 22:42) Sooner or later, this is the vital question for all mortals, including you, my friends. And a failure to answer this question is an answer." (Investigator Fireside, Jan. 5, 1984)
Neal A. Maxwell
"For many moderns, sad to say, the query 'What think ye of Christ?' (Matthew 22:42) would be answered, 'I really don't think of Him at all'!" (If Thou Endure It Well, 50.)
Matthew 22:42-43 whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord?
The 110th psalm begins, 'The LORD Said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.' In other words, Elohim said to Jehovah (David's Lord), "sit here at my right hand, until all your enemies have been destroyed." The psalm goes on to talk about the power of the Messiah, who would rule in the midst of his enemies, who would be called a 'priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek', who would 'strike through kings in the day of his wrath,' and 'judge among the heathen' (Ps 110:2-6). These are the unmistakable tasks of the Messiah. Therefore, this remarkable passage, correctly interpreted, explains that it was the Lord Jehovah who would become the Messiah. David's Lord would become David's son. This conundrum was too much for the Pharisees. To them, the Messiah was to be a mere mortal of Davidic descent. To the prophets, it was revealed that Jehovah himself would condescend to be born of Mary (1 Ne 11:13-22). But this single, glorious truth had been hid from the Jews. Why? Because their unbelief made them unworthy. Jesus, then, took advantage of their unbelief-turned the tables on the would-be inquisitors-and stumped them with the riddle of how David's Lord could become David's son. Apparently, they learned their lesson, for 'no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.' (v. 46)