Summary: God provides us with all that we need to come to the table, if we’re willing to go and change.
We had a very exciting event take place here a couple of weeks ago. Right before our very eyes, Jim got down on one knee and asked Leslie to be his wife. With that part out of the way, now the work begins. They’ve got a wedding to plan! Any bride can tell you that even the simplest, smallest wedding still requires a lot of time and energy. A wedding is a huge celebration. It’s a party, celebrating the love that two people have for each other and, despite what marriage has become, celebrating the highest, most sacred bond that we as humans can enter into together.
When Erin and I were planning our wedding, it was a very exciting time. Talking together and dreaming of spending the rest of our lives together, counting down the days until we would be married. Those are days that I will always remember. Now, for most of us guys, we have the easy part to play in the planning of our weddings. Understanding that it’s the brides day, we say, “yes, dear,” a whole lot. Do you like the flowers? Yes Dear. Do you like the dress? Yes Dear. I remember showing Erin the tux I wanted and then her showing me the one I was getting! The bride and her family normally get to do most of the planning. Most guys are alright with that because the bride and her family do most of the paying too!
One of the parts of the wedding that takes the most planning and time and money, is the food. It’s not a wedding without the food. A year or two ago, Donald Trump was married, again, in what was called the wedding of the century. The feast that they laid out before their guests cost them over 2 million dollars. It was highlighted, like any good wedding feast, by the cake. They had a 7 tier cake with over 3000 white icing roses on it. They went all out. They set the bar pretty high, Jim. This was not an event to be missed and those who received invitations did not dare to turn them down, it was a once in a lifetime wedding, a once in a lifetime reception, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Jesus told a story of a wedding feast that would have outshone even the great Donald Trump’s. This was a royal wedding. It was an invitation from the King. The food was ready, the decorations were out, the musicians were tuning up, the party was ready to begin. There was only one problem, the people who were invited decided not to show up.
In Matthew chapter 22 verses 1-14, Jesus tells the parable of the wedding feast. It’s a parable, like many others, that seeks to explain the reality of God’s kingdom through a story that everyone can understand. I think it’s interesting to note that when Jesus is referring to the Kingdom of God here, he compares it to a party. He compares it to an event that is desirable and where great joy and pleasure would be found. So many have this picture of Christianity as a dry, boring system of do’s and don’ts when the reality is that it’s in God’s kingdom that we find all that our heart longs for. It’s a place of laughter and happiness that we will never find in anything that this life can offer. Jesus compares it not to a funeral or some somber and sober event, but to a party.
Remember, as we go through this story, that this is Passion Week. Every word, every teaching, every action has added significance here as Jesus wraps up His earthly ministry. Remember, these are the events that ultimately will push the Pharisees over the edge and put into motion their plan to put Christ to death.
Listen to the end of chapter 21:
MT 21:45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
At this point, the only thing holding the Pharisees back from having Jesus arrested is their fear of the people. They are still concerned about outer appearances and how their actions will look to the people and so they wait for the chance to turn the people away from Christ and to do away with their competition. So, they are already fuming and Jesus pushes it even further.
Read Chapter 22:1-14
Like we’ve done with the other parables that we’ve looked at, let’s identify the obvious symbolism found in this story. The King would be God, His Son, of course, is Christ. The servants are different people at different times, and we’ll be talking about them later. The invitation that is offered is the gift of salvation.