Sunday, May 3, 2009


1. Jesus responded by telling even more of His special kind of stories, saying,

2. “The Kingdom of/from the heavens is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son.

3. He sent out his servants to call in all the invited guests, but they just wouldn't come!

4. Then he sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, 'Look, everything is on the table right now…the beef has been butchered, and all the side dishes that go with it have been prepared to perfection. You are invited to come as you are to this amazing feast and celebrate with us!'

5. But these rude and clueless invitees basically shrugged their shoulders, ignoring the opportunity before them, and went off…one to weed his garden, and another to work in his shop.

6. The rest weren’t just indifferent…they were openly hostile and aggressive. For no apparent reason they beat up on the messengers, and then killed them.

7. When the king heard about this he was understandably infuriated, and sent his soldiers to put those ungrateful murderers to death, and to burn down their whole city.

8. Then he said to his servants, “Here we’ve prepared this gorgeous wedding banquet, sparing no expense, but the ones who were initially invited didn’t want our company, insulted our hospitality, and refused to join in our celebration. But we planned a wedding with a party, and so we will have the wedding…and we will have our party!

9. I want you to go out into the busiest intersections in town where all kinds of people interact with one another, and invite anyone and everyone you find to our beautiful banquet!”

10. So the servants took to the streets, searching every highway and back alley, rounding up anyone and everyone they laid eyes on, regardless of who they were, or where they were, or what they were doing at the time. And so the banquet was on, and every seat at the table was filled, as was every available spot on the dance floor, and every corner of the reception hall.

11. But when the king entered the banquet and looked over the whole scene, he saw a man who wasn't properly dressed in the appropriate, traditional attire that a gentleman would normally wear to a wedding feast at that time, in that culture.

12. So he went to him and said, “My friend, what makes you think that just because you were invited to my banquet, you can come in here ignoring protocol and insulting our customs?” The man was completely speechless, and just looked at him, offering no excuse or explanation for this breech of etiquette, as if he had been muzzled or gagged.

13. Then the king said to his servants, “I want him out of here this instant! In fact, just so that he won’t try to come back in and disrupt my celebration, tie him up and make him sit outside in the dark…keep him away from the rest of my guests, so that they will be spared having to see him snarl at them, and grind his teeth in anger simply because they are having a good time, and he was put out of the party."

14. For many in this nation are called…you, as a people, have all been invited, in fact… but out of that great number, relatively few of you are eligible for Kingdom-life.

15. After this the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might entangle Jesus in His talk, causing Him to slip up and say something that they could use against Him.

16. So they sent some of their own disciples to Him, along with a few of Herod's followers mixed in to ask, “Teacher, we know that You have integrity, that You teach the way of God truthfully, regardless of possible consequences, that You are uncompromising in Your ethics, and that You don’t pander to your audience.

17. That being said, tell us what You think about paying taxes…is it lawful to pay the tribute levied on individuals to Caesar or not?”

18. But Jesus replied, “Do you big phonies honestly think that I don’t see through these kinds of bogus questions? Surely you can’t be simple enough to assume that I would be rendered gullible by your empty compliments. That kind of flattery may work on you, but it doesn’t on me…why do you keep trying to trap me with these tired old tricks?

19. All right…I’ll play along with your silly game. Do you have a coin? Let me see it.” They handed him a silver piece.

20. OK…this engraving…whose likeness and image is it? And whose name is on it?"

21. They said, “Caesar's.” Then He said to them, “Well, then, it should be obvious, shouldn’t it? Pay to Caesar the things that are due to Caesar, and pay to God the things that are due to God. It’s that simple.”

22. The Pharisees didn’t have a comeback. Once again the profound simplicity of His words had left them speechless, so they went away shaking their heads.

23. The same day some Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection of the dead, came to Him with a question of their own.

24. “Teacher”, they began, “Moses said that if a man dies, leaving no children, his brother should marry his widowed sister-in-law, and raise a family for his brother with her.

25. So, let’s say there were seven brothers, and the first married and died, and, having no children, left his wife to his brother.

26. Then, the second brother also died childless, and the third, down to the seventh.

27. Now…stay with us on this…let’s say that, last of all, the woman died also.

28. This is our question…in this scenario, in the resurrection, to which one of the seven brothers will she be wife, since she was married to all of them?”

29. But Jesus replied to them, “Not only is your premise implausible…quite a stretch, to say the least…your entire question is wrong-headed. It exposes a basic flaw in you…that you are ignorant…ignorant of the Scriptures…ignorant of God's power.

30. For in the resurrection, neither men nor women get married, nor are they considered married when they enter the resurrected state…in that sense they are like the angels who live in the heavenly realm.

31. But as to the larger question…the very reality of the resurrection of the dead…have you never read what was declared to you by God, Himself?

32. He clearly said, ‘I AM (not, “I was…”) the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob!’ Don’t you get it? By Him saying I AM their God, He is revealing that He is the living God…not of dead people, but people who are alive!”

33. And when the crowd that had gathered around Him heard these words, His message of life bore witness with them, and they were filled with amazement at His teaching.

34. Now when the Pharisees discovered that He had gotten the best of the Sadducees, as well, they gathered together with them, joining forces for all-out assault.

35. So they chose one of their religion scholars who was a lawyer to speak for them, posing a question to Him that they hoped would finally show Him up.

36. He approached Jesus and said "Teacher…about the commandments…as You well-know, some are light and some are heavy…which command in God's Law is the most important one?”

37. Without missing a beat, Jesus answered, "‘Love the Lord your God with all of your heartfelt passion, your willed intention, and your complete intellect or intelligence.’

38. This is the most important…the one at the top of the list.

39. But there is actually a second one which ranks so high that it is virtually part of the same commandment: 'Love others as unconditionally as you love yourself.’

40. These two commandments (which are three, really, because in the second one is the implied commandment to love yourself…so think of them, in a sense, as ‘three in one’) are like nails (or a nail) in a wall; and everything…and I mean everything…in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

41. Now while the Pharisees were still standing there, pondering this and regrouping, Jesus came back at them with a question of His own.

42. He pointedly asked them, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said, "He is David's son."

43. Jesus replied, "Well, if the Christ is, indeed, David's Son, then how do you explain that David, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, calls Christ his ‘Lord’?

44. Because he (David) said, ‘God said to my Master’, or, literally ‘The Lord said to my Lord’, sit here at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’

45. Now if David calls him 'Master’ or ‘Lord’ can He at the same time be his son?"

46. Once again they were stumped, legalistic literalists that they were. But on this occasion, they finally realized that there was just no way to win one of these Scriptural sparring matches with Jesus. So, reluctantly accepting the fact that all of their trick questions had backfired on them, and, unwilling to continue to risk losing face again in one of these public exchanges, they just quit asking questions for good from that day on.


Donald said...

Verse 46 reminds me of when a friend of mine was over visiting me many many years ago.
I had a martial arts magazine laying around and he was flipping through it.
There was a topic concerning self defense where two guys were showing about a half dozen different techniques on how to get out of a particular situation. Of course the same two guys were used in each scenario and the same guy was the attacker each time.
Each of the attacks was perpetrated on the victim while he was sitting on a park bench.
After my friend had seen the attacker getting the crap beat out of him after about the third or fourth failed attempt he commented that you would think that the guy would figure out that the dude sitting on that bench trying to mind his own business was not the guy that he needed to be "screwing" around with and decide to leave him alone.
I guess the religious leaders finally learned their lesson and decided that Jesus was not the guy to be "screwing" around with.

Northern Light said...


I am finally able to drop in and say hello and let you all know that I have been thinking of and praying for everyone of you, while here in the midst of Paradise in Maui, Hawaii.

I couldn't stream in this morning, as it was 4am my time and the earliest I could access a computer coffee shop was 6 am this time....and we're 6 hours off. So...I prayed at 4am and will catch the DVD when I get back to Michigan on May 8th.

Peace and Love to all.....
Northern Light

Avatar said...

NL, it was a beautiful day of worship and communion...with the Body of Christ.

karl said...

Thanks Bishop for The Mystery of the Table of the table today. I know God is continuing to unveil to me understanding of this and the body. Thank you for the reminders and words that we need.

verse 49 about unconditional love especially spoke to me here in your blog because I wrote down a short story of a father and son and unconditional love on my blog. Thank you for all the paraphrasing, I've prayed at times, as I'm sure others have, too, for The Spirit to bless and guide you in your writings.

I also ask, too, if you would please remember me in agreement as well for God to use me in my writing to bless others too. Thanks.

Manifestation seems to be what I keep hearing, and I just have a feeling that you will hear lots of testimonies from people this month of what God has done and is doing.

Pamela T. said...

Avatar, I agree, it was a very sweet Spirit. To worship with no pretense and just soak in his presence today was such an awesome blessing to end the week and begging the new. To share communion with our church family; feeling the connection it brings to us through us. We are truly one in the body of Christ. He restores us and refreshes us.

MITN - Beautifully and so contemporary written. Love you used the word bogus.
We too will be questioned, and asked to compromise the truth. Stand Firm and speak with the voice of the Holy Spirit and in Love. (Just felt led to say that).

What a sweet, sweet blessed morning. Pamela

Pamela T. said...

so much for spell check should have been begin the new week. LOL

tracy said...

Great day today in the house of the Lord. I love it when daddy gets his house in order. Irregular heartbeat since Tuesday-did not come down because I have to work out that whole your healing and the word are in you thing myself....but here I will publicly take that. Much love to the body. MITN is turning out better than I could've imagined can't wait to hold the finished work and savor it. Man I love books- old books, new books.....fiction, non fiction,biographies...all of it! if you saw all of my poor little dog eared, highlighted, wrinkled books that you have previously written for would laugh.

Son of Zadok said...

Got wind down there tonight?

Erik said...

Worship Service was excellent today, poured through each distinct individual and between the whole of all of us. Thank you Bishop.

MITN XXII – Re verses 1 – 14, there is more, The King revised His order re the man who was dressed culturally/socially differently. The man has been released and welcomed back into the party, to the front row, there is now no dress code (Paul referenced this in C 2) . Those who were originally invited are now doormen for the previously uninvited. Once the previously uninvited are all in, the originally invited come on in.

The un-culturally dressed are cleared. The yoke is light (which extends to dress code), after all, the least (and least dressed) are welcome at the head table. The point being that the invite is not based on protocol, but on receptiveness of the invite. Granted, specific cultural understanding of dress adds value, but since the originally uninvited are not focused on dress protocol, this is not an issue for them. We come in the paradigm/ dress we have. In fact, the lack of dress leaves us bare, which can be initially uncomfortable, is actually preferable.

The council erred and left this out. However, our experience and The Spirit has expounded - In peace.

This leads into the ultimate of all – Love God with all, and each other with all that we have for ourselves. All of this blended in, is retro to the verses above.

The beauty is we al get to get in on the gig God originated in the flesh, All are forgiven, all are blessed, all included. All does mean All ( not one excluded, no matter what we perceive). Remember, our perception is exactly that OUR perception, OUR paradigm, and that WE are also aware of the Grand Paradigm that includes every view, exactly as designed by God, The Creator of all paradigms, even those we cannot fathom, those we perceive as other sheepfolds.

Izumi/JOY said...

11 & 12 - at first, I wondered about these verses. Why would Jesus say that "the life" is more than food or clothes, elsewhere, and lavish attention on these topics, here?

Then, I remembered what He said about what defiles men.

The thanksgiving card permits guests into God's gates, and praise-clothes, into His courts.

What places them under His banner?

Izumi/JOY said...

36. Interesting that they chose a religious scholar - a lawyer, to challenge the One Who bears governments on His shoulders.

40. He prophesied His own death; the Answer was esoteric and literal. Love how this reminds me of John 1:1 and 1 John 4:8.

* Service was beautiful, yesterday; full of grace.

Northern Light said...


Did you smile when you see Hawaii signed on to your visitor feed? Who knows who might "tune in" after looking over my shoulder in these coffee shops, where I access the computer, when I can break from the crowd.

Prayers for all, the beach is the place to pray, for sure. Ahh...

Peace, Love & Happiness !

Northern Light

Anonymous said...

I like how well the thought of oneness with God is conveyed in verse thirty. Our marriage in this realm is sybolic of that union to come where there will be no need for gender at all. We will all be one together united with the together One.

Yesterday was among the sweetest of services that I have felt in body mind and spirit. The way that you explained KFC grilled chicken was awesome. My wife and me ate there and besides it being every bit as good as you made it sound we also felt like we were having Sunday dinner with family and you were at the head of the table. We saw a sweet little girl with her dreamland tag still on her back and when I said hellow to little Molly, she looked up at me as if to say without speaking, do I know you? They left before we did and she looked back through the window at me one more time.

It was a peaceful day and it carried over into today as well. That was a wonderful feast you served up, sir. Moah pleeze!

Avatar said...

v.1 “special kind of stories”…well, I’m up “late”…and pondering these verses…which I guess is the point of a special kind of story…and of this beautifully crafted phrase…it works on you, and says “think about this!”

So here’s this wedding banquet—that would be the Kingdom Now not later—a celebration, a joyful “day”, a day focused on a forever union…the coming together of a bride and a groom…but these verses say the Kingdom is like the king…and the king is the only one who noticed the dress of one who slips in wearing offensive clothes…one who decided not to wear the clothes of a gentleman…

I’ve always read these verses as someone coming in without knowing about Jesus… without his robes of righteousness on, “covering who I really am”…but
v. 12 is an amazing revelation of the importance of the “no answer” [once again, the expanded MITN version takes a short often overlooked verse and shows its importance!]. Why would someone really WANTING to be at the feast have no answer? And it is the king who recognizes him as one who desires to disrupt…maybe not even recognizing it in himself…so the king has the snarly disrupter bound…and kept out.

Is this the follow on to the wheat/tares special kind of story?…except now the king wants the disrupter in each of us to be removed…so the “rest” of us, the only part that CAN enjoy the feast can come on in!

Dear God, bind any disrupter, any Pharisee in me that wants to keep me from enjoying your feast. And, thank you, Pharisees, here during the years that Jesus walked on the earth, for being the manifestation of the thing in me that Jesus needed to speak to.

Avatar said...

oh...and thank you Sadduccees, too...since,
v.46...both of you then [and now in me] were "unwilling to risk losing face in these public exchanges" and showed yourselves to be the ones who had no answer for the questions of the king.

Thank you Bishop, for your labor in Matthew...In The Now...a memory erasing Men in Black wand for such a time as this...

Izumi/JOY said...

Amazing coincidence about v. 21. In front of me is one of the postcards I mailed from Las Vegas. (dated 4-21-09)

The picture on front is a giant sized replica of Michelangelo's statue of David displayed at Caesar's Palace.

I already blogged how our room on the 16th (1+6=7) floor faced Caesar's Palace. Absurd in the natural realm, but there were so many baffling moments, almost didn't jot them down.

They seemed to correlate to CITN blog topics; stuff I've posted, etc.

* Larry Light (yes, that was the man's real name) checked us in.

* Olive was a concierge & Olivia worked maid service. (whoa! Glitch in the matrix moment)

* Joseph's coat of many colors (Donny Osmond's costume) is displayed in the Flamingo's lobby.

* Vin Diesel's pic is displayed amongst others (Keanu Reeves & Will Smith to name a couple) @ Planet Hollywood.

* Bamboo was the carpet's print on our floor.

* Paul McCartney was in town, playing at the Hard Rock Hotel.

* Across from our window, at the Mirage: The Beatles Love

* Elton John, Bette Midler & Cher - all within walking distance of our hotel.

* Music is amplified in the city.

Anyway, my point (and yes, there is one) is, this: if you hadn't chosen to paraphrase the book of Matthew, Bish, maybe I wouldn't have been cognizant of prayer opportunities.

Because MITN was/is in my spirit, I (often - like, several times a day) repeated verse 21 towards Caesar's Palace.

I hope(d) that my mustard seed faith could (can) germinate enough light energy to speak
to the dew on a fern leaf in a National Forest, echo through Red Rock Canyon, gather water deposits from Springs Preserve, generate momentum from the Hoover Dam, and direct it here & outward (nations/generations).

Maybe it's foolishness (how my imagination works or must look), just wondered about the history of David's statue (skillful shepherd, soothing psalmist, heroic warrior, crazy praiser, priest & prophet) and its placement @ Caesar's Palace.

Thought it'd be fun to bring him back. (sure felt like that Sun. morning)

Brenda said...

Service was so special on Sunday that I could only just go home sit in my favorite chair and let the word just wash over me. I normally spend some time with my family after church but I just felt the urge to go home and continue in the worship mode. God is taking me somewhere in this latter day but it is not all clear yet. As I continue to sit at the feet of the Shepard and learn, my soul says YES.

I really enjoyed reading chapter 22, just know it blessed me and I stand with my eyes pressed against the window eagerly waiting for the next chapter.

Sunday Night Service with your parents was off the chain. I am so glad I came because I have been praying for something for three years and when Mother Swilley said your 21 days may be now but you may not like the answer, my spirit quicken because the light came on and I realized that HE had already answered my prayer I just didn't like the answer. Now I can let that go and begin to fly toward my destiny.
I so enjoy hearing your parents minister to us, thanks for giving them a chance to impart their wisdom to us. Your father speaks in that deep resounding voice which commands you to listen and learn. Your mother speaks in that funny way that you do but getting the point across. I see both of them in you.

Anonymous said...

This is excellent insight Erik, and it plays very well with other sayings like when Jesus told his disciple that those who want to be greatest must make themselves the least. the least (and least dressed) are welcome at the head table. The point being that the invite is not based on protocol, but on receptiveness of the invite.

This comes natural for those that are not trying to do it and it is also what I see beyond the humanity of those who have given themselves to the gospel. I like what was said in MITN concerning the outcast not trying to make an excuse for himself. This is akin to not giving the food of the children to dogs but the dog was confident in the love that was in her heart that even dogs eat the crumbs of that manna and are nourished. There must have been a great static potential of agape love building up in the Heart/heart of the God/man Jesus as He told these things prophetically to those who were not listening with their hearts. It is no wonder to me that the symbolic pouring of the water and blood from Jesus side on the cross is so special to so many. I've seen it represented as a flame and a circle and I love the implication of both. For me it represents the release of pent up pressure that was held in the heavenly realm until it had built up enough static pressure that upon its release would wash everything that exists in this place of human consciousness clear of anything that could prevent our realization of Creator's care for creation. The only thing that keeps any human from operating in our best potential of that same Love is our own alienation of self that many times separates us in our mind from Perfect Love but it has been said and is true that does not even matter because what God has JOINED TOGETHER in the CHRIST can not be separated by any power including that blonging to the One it was established by.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bloggers,

The Word for this morning is our God Reigns.

Izumi/JOY said...

Knowing the Lord, they're probably tucked throughout Scripture, but, V. 36 ("...As You well know, some are light, and some are heavy..") resembles song lyrics to me.

Erik said...

Hi Anon 931 AM Tue ,050509.

Amen – WE are washed through our consciousness, and cleared of anything that restricts our realization of The Creators Care for All of Creation, We are able alienate ourselves, and even that does not matter, as you wrote. Our strength is in The Creator, such strength, confidence, openness and trust, that The Creator provides that strength is something that S/He will not overcome, and actually made it so that S/He cannot - in the construct of the Universe that Godself , made, and manifests in the flesh.

Jesus, The Flame, The Circle, Peace, The Expression of Abundance, Trust made Flesh, both male and female, beyond the humanity and in every breath of humanity, incomplete without humanity while completing humanity - God , the Name within All Names, and every single Name has God within it. Everything, everyone, every experience is the expression of omnipresent, omniscient God.

All that God Creates, is joined together, completely, which why is the Choice of Life, The fruit of The Tree of Life to love our neighbor as we Love ourselves. The alternative is choosing death, which is available. However, We All choose life, as evidenced by our existence.

Thank You Anon 931.

Avatar said...

wordver: lever

Interesting, since I also just noticed that 10 people have logged on here in the last hour and 2 minutes...