Summary: Can Heaven really Wait for the upcoming event ’The Banquet for Jesus.’ Are we all ready to be partakers in it and how we could be ready for this big event? What garment is mandatory for this event?
Opening illustration: My experience of attending a wedding uninvited while a college student and then being shunted out …
Let us turn to Matthew 22 and check out the wedding Jesus was talking about and what garment was necessary to be worn while attending this wedding.
Introduction: This parable is preceded by a parable about two sons - one who said he wouldn’t work and then did afterward, and one who said he would go to work and then never did. We saw that the “work” was to “believe.” This parable referred to the leader’s rejection of the message of John the Baptist and their rejection of Christ.
It is also preceded by the parable of the vineyard owner. In that parable the vineyard keepers killed the owner’s son. This was symbolic of the religious leaders’ rejection of Messiah. Consequently, the Kingdom would be withdrawn from Israel and given to a nation who would produce fruit. That nation is the church which is comprised of the outcasts and Gentiles. Therefore, the context to our parable is salvation and entering the kingdom (cf. 21:31).
The original guests refused to come because they were unwilling. In that culture, to reject the invitation of a king, was treason or a declaration of war. This is a serious offense. The first invitation was actually not the first. An advance invitation went out telling of the coming feast. This is not pictured in the story. It is understood as part of the culture. Those who had received the advance invitation had ample time to prepare for the feast. They had no legitimate excuses. (This is symbolic of Israel having plenty of advanced warning that the Messiah was coming - i.e. the prophets). The first invitation in the story is really the one saying that dinner is served. (This is symbolic of JB and JC saying that Messiah and the kingdom are here.)
The King gave second chances to the original guests. The original guests are representative of the nation of Israel. The King represents God who extended the invitation to enter the kingdom and partake of the feast. The fact that He makes another invitation shows his patience. It also shows the graciousness of the host who took care to explain that all was ready and how great the feast would be to entice them to attend.
(A) Invitation was given to specific people but they all failed Christ ~ (Jews) v. 3
Obstacles in attending ‘Christ’s Banquet:’
1. Unwillingness (v. 3)
Shows the insolence and ingratitude of men, their natural aversion to the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; the depravity of the will of man, with respect to things spiritual and evangelical; the insufficiency of outward means, to work with effect, upon the minds of men; and the necessity there is of efficacious and unfrustrable grace to bring men to believe in Christ, cordially to receive his truths, and be subject to his commands. There is a twofold call by the ministry the word; the one is internal, and that is, when the word comes not in word only, but in power; is the power of God unto salvation, and the savor of life unto life; for by the Gospel are the elect of God called to the obtaining of the glory of Christ; 2Th_2:14. This call is of grace; it springs from the free grace and favor of God, and it is effected by the mighty power of his grace; and it is to special blessings of grace; it is a fruit of God’s everlasting love, and an evidence of it; and is according to the eternal purpose of God, which is never frustrated: it is a call to the enjoyment of spiritual blessings, as peace, pardon, righteousness, and everlasting happiness; by it men are called to light and liberty, to the grace of Christ, and communion with him; to all the privileges of God’s house here, and eternal glory hereafter; to which he that calls them, gives them a right and infallibly brings them to it: and therefore it is styled an heavenly calling, and the high calling of God in Christ; for this call is ever effectual, and the ends of it are always answered; it is unchangeable, irreversible, and never repented of. But besides this, there is a bare external call to the sons of men, through the preaching of the word; which is not to make their peace with God, a thing impossible to be done by them, and which is contrary to the Gospel, and reflects dishonor on Christ, the peacemaker; nor to get an interest in him, which, wherever possessed, is given, and not gotten; nor to regenerate themselves; this is the work of the Spirit of God, and in which men are as passive, as the infant in its natural generation, conception, and birth; nor to the exercise of evangelical grace, as faith, love, &c. which are not in them, and no man can exercise that which he has not, nor should he be called to it; nor to any spiritual vital act, since men are dead in trespasses and sins, and cannot put forth any: but this call in the word, is to the natural duties of religion, as to hear, read, and pray; to attend on the word, to wait at Wisdom’s gates, and watch at the posts of her door, and so lie in the way of being effectually called by the grace of God; but this call may be where election does not go before, and where sanctification does not follow, and where there may be no salvation, Mat_20:16 and is often slighted, neglected, and of no effect, which is the case here.