Summary: What is our response to God’s wedding invitation? What kind of clothing does God require?
Prelude, Purpose & Plan
What is our response to God’s wedding invitation? What kind of clothing does God require? What are we doing with the opportunity God has placed before us? Let’s see that our invitation to salvation has a twofold responsibility. Let’s look at the Parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 22:1-14.
Matthew 22:1-2 A Royal Wedding
What is the kingdom of heaven like? In Matthew 22:2 Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son.” It has been represented on earth by the Church and Israel. Christianity was originally Jewish. Most Jewish leaders refused the invitation. Most Bible commentators see the marriage allegory as symbolic of salvation for the Church. The marriage feast in ancient times lasted for days. It involved great preparation and expense. Kings of this world and royal weddings can be shallow affairs of families who plundered their country’s wealth. This is an invitation from a self-sacrificing king who died to save his people.
Matthew 22:3 An Invitation
Are we invited by God? In Matthew 22:3 we read a parable about a king who “sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.” Shocking! How much have we watered down the fear of God? Does it picture God’s invitation to attend church, but we ignore it? Fear means deep reverence and respect and to be afraid. Are we so unafraid to disrespect God? Throughout history, kings were to be feared. Knowing what he wanted was pretty easy to figure out. The invitation was issued politely, but a wise person knows that the king’s wish is a command.
Matthew 22:4 A Banquet
Is God’s kingdom like a party? In Matthew 22:4 a king sent second invitations to a wedding, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” Our wedding is one of life’s best parties, a celebration of a lifelong commitment, legal protection and heaven’s blessing. Marriage was given by God so that a man and a woman might always enjoy each other's companionship, help, support and appropriate expressions of human sexuality. A wedding invitation is to celebrating the start of life’s most important human relationship. Our Christian calling is pictured by an invitation to a grand wedding.
Matthew 22:5 A Rejection
Do people reject God’s invitation? In Matthew 22:5 when a king invited guests to his son’s wedding, “they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.” How does God feel after thousands of years of people rejecting his invitation to the greatest celebration of his kingdom? What a discouraging picture is this wedding parable! What could be more important in our lives than paying attention to our Maker’s invitation? What could be more urgent than to rush to his invitation and go to where he is being celebrated? We are invited. A church is near. How could anyone pay no attention?
Matthew 22:6 A Murder
Why kill the person who invited you to a wedding? In Matthew 22:6 several people made light of a king’s wedding invitation and, “the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.” Opportunity knocks very rarely. Miss it and waste years of our lives looking for a dream situation that may never come along again. We spurn opportunities and miss them. A king offered an opportunity, but people ignored it and mistreated and even killed his messengers. We are invited to the greatest celebration on earth. That celebration takes place every Sunday at a local church. Let’s not abuse those who invite us and let’s not miss out.
Matthew 22:7 An Angry King
Does God ever get angry? In Matthew 22:7 a king’s wedding invitation was refused, his messengers were murdered, and we learn, “when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” Is avoiding church, with obvious exceptions for the sick and elderly, a bad idea? We have a weekly invitation to a heavenly celebration. In the parable the king was very angry with those who refused his invitation. Do we refuse God’s invitation? Is church just a club? The greatest wedding of all history is celebrated. What does God think about our decision to come or not?
Matthew 22:9 An Open Invitation
Are both good and bad people invited to church? In Matthew 22:9-10 we read that because people rejected an invitation to a king’s son’s wedding, the king said, “go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding… both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.” Is church exclusive? Is there an open welcome to the communion table, both the good and bad? Exclusiveness is self-righteous because it classifies fellow sinners as worse than us. Yet, we can all put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Ought not the only criteria for a welcome to communion be our faith in Jesus Christ?