Read Matthew 22
At the end of Chapter 21, the Pharisees, Priests, and other religious hypocrites realized that Jesus had been talking about them as the ones who had rejected God by rejecting his Son.
They were not happy about this and felt helpless at that time because the crowds that gathered thought Jesus to be a prophet. He taught with authority, not like the religious hypocrites taught, but they began their plans to arrest him and kill him.
While the religious hypocrites planned their next move, Jesus continued teaching with another Parable.
It begins with the kingdom of heaven is like…
While there are instances where we could make this parable allegorical, as the author of the parable chose to use this literary tool to give us insight into the kingdom of heaven, we should seek that insight as well.
A king had prepared a wedding banquet for his Son. Many had been invited over the past months or maybe even years. There was no RSVP. You were just expected to be there, though you didn’t know the exact date or time. You were invited.
When the time grew near, messengers would let you know that it was time to come to the banquet.
In the parable, the servants took the message to many that it was time to come to the wedding banquet. Nobody came. Nobody responded to what was surely the biggest event of that time. More messengers are sent. Nobody came.
The invitees had their excuses in order—work, school, soccer practice, Netflix binge, and probably COVID-1. Business as usual was the choice of those invited to the banquet.
Perhaps, it went a little farther than just choosing the daily routine over the banquet of a lifetime. Some of the servant messengers were mistreated and even killed by those who were invited but just didn’t have time to attend.
This was more than just a no thank you. This was rebellion against the king.
They had time to kill the messengers but not to come to the banquet of a lifetime.
In the parable of the tenants, we compare the Landowner to God and the servants to the prophets and we could do that again here, but let us instead focus on the reaction of those who had been invited to the banquet.
They had other things to do.
They rejected the invitation.
They went so far as to shoot the messenger. There were no bullets in the first century, but the metaphor applies.
Normally, you shoot the messenger when he brings bad news. Here the messengers brought wonderful news—not only are you invited, but it is time to put on your dress blues or dress whites tell you wife to put on her evening gown and go celebrate with elaborate dining and entertainment.
The king was not happy with those who did not respond by coming to his banquet. In fact, the parable tells us that he sent his army to destroy these rebels.
You might want to think twice before you skip out on that next baby shower.
The king sent out more messengers to invite whomever they came across. Whosoever will may come!
You think that the movie title The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was original, but that was the second invitation list in this parable. That filled the wedding hall.
But when the king arrived, one man had not dressed for the occasion. The king went to him straight away and asked him how he got in wearing those clothes. The man was speechless.
The king had the man bound hands and feet and thrown out. The king was serious about this banquet.
The text says the man was thrown out into the darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. This parable has many coming to bad endings.
Some are too busy to come. Some have more important things to do. Some don’t change out of their work clothes as if they were just stopping in to get something at the deli in Walmart.
And some who most would have thought didn’t belong got to enjoy the banquet given by the king.
Remember that this parable follows closely behind the parable of the two sons where Jesus told the Pharisees and other religious hypocrites that the tax collectors and prostitutes would enter the kingdom of heaven ahead of them.
This parable immediately follows the parable of the tenants where Jesus told these same hypocrites that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce fruit.
Now we see the same thing in this parable with the setting of a banquet. This section ends with these words.
For many are invited but few are chosen.
Many are called but few are chosen.
God desires none to perish but he lets us make our own decisions. He chose us but how will we respond? We have been invited. Usually, our decisions don’t involve a fancy banquet with the king, but they do involve choosing to live for God. They involve showing mercy to those who could never repay us.
Those decisions involve being rich towards God. Those decisions involve making Christ Jesus the cornerstone of our lives.
When God invites to live to the full, we dress up and live it up. Remember this is a parable that gives us insight into the kingdom of heaven. We should first make analogy to the kingdom which is available to us now.
Living it up might involve helping others but we respond to God’s invitations. We become known as disciples of Christ Jesus by our love. Our banquet clothes consist of love, mercy, generosity, and faithfulness to the One who made us and redeemed us.
When its time for the banquet in the age to come and the roll is called up yonder, we will be there, and dressed in our best.