This week I am not going to go any farther than the second word of the text (Matthew 22:1-14; the fifth word in Greek): 'again'. Jesus is going to tell another parable. But the word 'again' is fascinating and shows a great deal of variety between the first three gospel accounts--even though they are considered to be quite similar.
Matthew uses the word over a dozen times and frequently connects it to Jesus' speaking. Mark uses the word over two dozen times and usually connects it to certain actions. Luke uses the word only three times within the entire account--although it is the longest!
There was admittedly a lot of repetition in Jesus' life. He said similar things at different times. He gave that special Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 and then gave it some significant differences in Luke 11. People sometimes did not get what Jesus wanted them to get, and so some things have to happen a second time. When the text says that something happens AGAIN, it is probably important. (There is the old saying: 'Repetition is the mother of learning'.)
In Matthew we learn that Jesus and speaking go together. We hear that prophets are AGAIN sent to tell the people what God wants to say. Jesus repeats himself when something is important. Jesus' connection to the first living creature of God's throne, a man, is clearly made within this account (see Ezekiel 1 for a detailed description of that throne).
So what about the use of the word 'again' in Mark? The author uses it in a normal way, repeating certain actions, in Mark 2:1, 2:13, 3:1, 3:20, 4:1, 5:21, and 7:14. (But in 7:31 the word 'again' is used--but not usually translated--although the text never indicates that Jesus went to Tyre and Sidon previously. Around this part of Mark the style of the language changes, so it is probably best just to look at these initial uses.)
We have Jesus doing things over again in these first few chapters. He is repeating his actions. I would like to suggest a connection to the second living creature of God's throne, a lion. A lion is a very territorial animal; they sometimes stay in the same area for generations. The connection to actions rather than words also fits with this connection.
Perhaps you can tell where I am going with the infrequent use of the word in Luke. The third living creature is the ox, an animal used for plowing. And, ideally, the animal should go in a straight line. He should not go in circles. He should not have to plow the same ground over again. Jesus is heading, in a straight line as it were, for Jerusalem.
It is nice to see the intricate details of a text working together, yet showing a significant amount of variety. And God loves to repeat himself when it comes to showing his love.