Sermons

Summary: If you have never received Him as your Savior, then you are lost and must be born again. If, however, there has been a time in your life when you bowed as a sinner and called on Jesus by faith, confessed your sins and received Him into your life ...

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Opening illustration: There was a much lesser wedding couple of years ago. William and Kate have invited 40 kings and queens, 50 members of the royal family (Not Fergie), 60 governors general and Commonwealth prime-ministers, 200 members of the government, Parliament and diplomatic corps. But also Kate Middleton’s grocer, butcher and postman. Her pub landlord and 300 other friends of the couple.

But everyone who has been invited says how thrilled they are to be invited to the royal wedding and how they’ve been madly hunting down the right clothes for the occasion. Apparently gentlemen are required to wear uniform, morning coat or lounge suit. Ladies are required to wear a hat for the wedding service. Now I dare say if you received a gilded, royal invitation with the Queen’s own stamp you’d RSVP quick smart and you’d go and get the right clothes.

Well it was even simpler at royal weddings in the bible. In bible times, servants would come and take your RSVP personally. And if you wanted to go, the right clothes were provided on the day by the host. And so there really was no excuse for not showing up and not being dressed for the occasion.

Introduction: But the shock of our story is how people respond to the King’s invitation.

The first round of invitations meets with complete indifference. The royal servants are shocked, they go again – “The feast has been prepared, the King and His Prince are personally inviting you, it’s the event of the millennium, the finest of foods, the best of wines, incredible company, and joy and feasting, won’t you come?” No they won’t come. And they are so angry about it, they wound and kill the servants.

You have to be a pretty staunch anti-royalist to ignore an invitation like this. You have to hate the King and His Son very much to kill the inviters don’t you? It’s high treason.

But that is Jesus’ retelling of the Old Testament story. Prophet after prophet invite the people: “Come into the Kingdom, it’s the ultimate royal wedding.” But the invitation is torn up and those who invite are beaten up or killed. And eventually the people are given over to what they want. If they don’t want the King and His Son, that’s their decision. If they don’t want the feast, they don’t get the feast, and judgement falls.

Matthew clearly has his own emphases in the recasting of this parable. He alone adds a second parable, which today reads as a slightly awkward extension referring to the casting out of a guest who did not have wedding clothes. As in preceding parables, there is an emphasis on the end times of human history – when God’s purposes for, and his blessing of, Israel will be revealed. A wedding banquet was one of the images associated with the coming of the Messiah in Jewish hope. Also present is a graphic emphasis on judgement, in the destruction of the city.

What happens at the ultimate wedding of the universe?


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