Summary: A sermon for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost Guests and the Wedding Feast
21st Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 22: 1-14
1* ¶ And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,
2* "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son,
3* and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come.
4* Again he sent other servants, saying, ’Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’
5* But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,
6* while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
7* The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8* Then he said to his servants, ’The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.
9* Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’
10* And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11* "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment;
12* and he said to him, ’Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
13* Then the king said to the attendants, ’Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’
14* For many are called, but few are chosen."RSV
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
Our gospel lesson this morning is another parable in a series of parables that Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven. Remember the last two weeks, there was the parable about the father who had two sons, he asked one to go into the vineyard, but he said no but then changed his mind while he asked the other son and he said yes, but in fact did not go as he promised.
And then there was the parable about the another vineyard where the renters did not want to give the fruit of the vineyard to the owner’s servants. And the vineyard was taken from them and given to others.
Those two parables dealt with the kingdom of God!
And this weeks parable also deals with the kingdom of God.
Jesus says the kingdom of God can be compared with a king who gave a marriage feast and invited special guests. But the guests were too busy to attend, so the king told his servants to go out into the streets and invite anyone they see.
The story is definitely an allegory. That means that the king in the story stands for God. The people found in the highways and byways are probably the Gentiles, the invited guests are the children of Israel, and "the king’s troops" is probably a reference to the Romans who burned Jerusalem in AD 70 (a rather strange designation for the Romans).
But what matters is that the king gave a banquet and the invitations to the chosen guests were rejected.
All the invited guests had excuses not to attend the banquet. The invited guests were the people of Israel, but they were not interested in attending. The scribes and the Pharisees as the religious rulers were not interested in the Kingdom of God that Jesus was bring into the world. They made excuses!! They asked by what authority does Jesus do this. They asked, how can a son of a carpenter be the Son of God.
They came up with excuses after excuses not to believe in the Kingdom of God which was coming through Jesus Christ.
And a lot of those excuses made as little sense as the following:
There is an Arabian fable which tells about a man who went to his neighbor and asked to borrow a rope. "I can’t lend it, because I am using it to tie up a pile of sand." his neighbor answered.
"But," the man came back, "you can’t tie up a pile of sand with a rope."
To which his neighbor slyly replied, "Oh, yes you Can. In fact, you can do anything with a rope when you do not wish to lend it to your neighbor."
Excuses!! Excuses, excuses!!
And in this day and age, a lot of people have a hundred and one excuses not to be in the kingdom of God, too.
We come up with a lot of different excuses not to be in church on Sunday where the kingdom of God is manifested on this earth. It is through the church, the body of Christ, that the kingdom of God comes. For Jesus says, where two or three are gathered in my name there will I be also.