Summary: It's all about that invitation...
Lessons From The Wedding Banquet
If last week’s parable surprised us with grace and left us feeling grateful, this week’s parable will surprise us in a different way and leave us uncomfortable. At least it should.
Parable of the Wedding Banquet could be viewed as two parables or two parts to same parable adjoined by a the story of a King and the wedding banquet for his son. In the immediate context, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees. Matthew 21 ends with this: “They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.” There is application of this parable to those who were hearing him at the moment. They rejected the invitations sent - the prophets and especially John the Baptist. After repeated invitations, the King’s Son, Jesus, killed. The Jews would eventually suffer the destruction of the city - Jerusalem (A.D. 70). Both before and after this parable the Pharisees rejected Jesus - the Messiah sent to them as promised by God.
In addition, this parable points us to some truths about the Kingdom of Heaven that we should hear today. These stories are unsettling and uncomfortable. They are followed by the surprise statement: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Today we want to notice six lessons from the Wedding Banquet.
1. AN INVITATION TO JOY
Initially this parable brings together joyful elements of wedding and banquet.
“The invitation is not to a funeral. Jesus’ call to repentance, to turn around and face God, was a call to joy. This is why Jesus’ message would be called “the Good News”. (Bruner)
Announcement, food, preparations - wedding is a time of joy
Wedding theme in Scripture
Matthew 9:14-15 One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?” Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
Revelation 3:20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
God’s invitation is one of joy - banquet - friends - celebration.
2. AN INVITATION OF LOVE
The King is pained at the rejection of those invited. He has gone to great lengths to put the banquet together. He appeals to potential guests four times in this story. God is not apathetic about his desire to have us live with him forever.
“…God seeks a rebellious people - this is the theme of the Scriptures ever since the Lord called our first parents, who had just eaten the forbidden fruit and were hiding from the face of the Lord - and the Lord God said, …with great patience, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9). God first seeks out, not wipes out, those who spite God’s gift.’ (Bruner)
2 Peter 3:9 (NLT) The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
John 3:16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
3. AN INVITATION WITH LIMITS
The rejection of the King is not based on something sinful - they were doing normal things and just could not be bothered. (5). This parable makes us aware that there are limits to the time God will give us. No one knows when the Day of the Lord is, but on that day there will not be a big revival meeting!
Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
4. AN INVITATION WORTH OUR DEVOTION (11-13)
Both good and bad were brought in to the banquet. There is not a person on earth that God will turn away. The Kingdom isn’t a collection of the best of humanity but of all of humanity. This person appears to be there but not sincerely - made no effort to wear the proper garment. This person is present but not a part of the wedding. He was invited, they actually made it to the banquet, but had no thought to being devoted to the King.So he is cast out of the gathering in language that seems describe hell.