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Itís fascinating to me how after only a few years of being married, a couple can sometimes communicate with a very small number of words. Husbands, if you will, imagine this scene with me. Youíve been invited to a party, and after spending the day working out in the yard, you dash into the house and get cleaned up. You go to your closet, but you suddenly realize that youíre not quite sure about what sort of dress is appropriate for this function. Youíre not sure if itís completely casual, or if itís a little dressier affair and you need to wear slacks and a sport coat. But you find an outfit that you think will work, and you put in on, and comb your hair, get the car keys and go out to the living room, where your wife is waiting.
She looks at you, and smiles -- but itís not the sort of smile that says, "Darling, I really love you." Itís more of a sort of a polite smile. She looks at you and says five words to you. Just five. She says, "Is that what youíre wearing?" And you know how to respond. You go back to the bedroom and you change clothes!
Here in Matthew 22, Jesus tells a story that has to do with clothing, and what to wear, and he even talks about wearing the wrong thing. Itís a disturbing story in some ways, and it doesnít have a happy ending. But itís a story with several important lessons, so letís take a look at it together this morning.
I. The Message of the Parable
A. The invitation rejected.
"The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding.Ē
Now it was unlikely that any of the people Jesus was speaking to had ever actually been to a royal wedding feast, but they were all familiar with wedding feasts in general and had some idea of the importance and magnificence of one that a king would prepare for his own son.
In that day and time, a wedding feast was the highlight of all social life. And a wedding feast that a king prepared for his son would be the ďmother of all feastsĒ. Jesus was picturing the most elaborate celebration possible. This was the ultimate party. If it took place in Boone, it would no doubt have been held at the Broyhill Inn, but it would make everything thatís happened there this weekend look like nothing.
I think itís significant that Jesus often compared his kingdom to a feast or a banquet. Being a part of Godís kingdom is like going to a party. Itís a festive occasion, a time of fellowship, a time of joy. A lot of people seem to believe that you canít enjoy yourself if youíre a Christian, that to be a Christian you have to denounce every joy and pleasure that abound in this world. But I think Jesus wanted us to understand that the greatest joys this life has to offer are found in his kingdom.
"The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the weddingÖand they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, íTell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."í But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his business.Ē (Matthew 22:2-5).
Now in that place and time, there was a two-stage process of
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