Summary: It’s unusual to get an invitation from the White House. I suppose it’s more unusual still to turn that invitation down. But a far greater invitation has, in fact, been offered to you and to me. Matthew 22:1-14 tells us about it. It is an invitation th
January 15, 2006
YOU’RE INVITED! RSVP REQUIRED!
In the mid-1980’s my Aunt Vivian received an invitation to attend a rose-garden ceremony with President Reagan at the White House. I found the invitation a couple of years ago when I was looking through a box of old documents and newspaper clippings. What shocked me is she didn’t go. You see, I’ve always been fascinated by the presidency—and especially the White House. I’d jump at the chance to meet the man we call “president.” I’d be thrilled to participate in a ceremony on the White House grounds. But those things just didn’t appeal to her. You see, the ceremony she was invited to marked the anniversary of her imprisonment by the Japanese during World War 2. And I suppose that was a part of her life she had no desire to relive.
It’s unusual to get an invitation from the White House. I suppose it’s more unusual still to turn that invitation down. But a far greater invitation has, in fact, been offered to you and to me. Matthew 22:1-14 tells us about it. It is an invitation that comes, not from an earthly ruler, but from the King of all Creation! And the glory into which He invites us far exceeds anything found at the White House or, for that matter, any palace found on earth. It’s God’s invitation to you and me to enter into His kingdom. Jesus reminds us of God’s invitation in the parable of the wedding feast. Follow as I read that parable found in Matthew 22:1-14.
Matthew 22:1-14 reads, Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”
But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, “how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are invited, but few are chosen.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come…” It’s hard to read this parable and not think of the wedding supper of the Lamb described for us in Revelation 19:9. But I don’t think the wedding supper of the Lamb is the main focus of this story. With this parable, Jesus reminds the Jewish leaders, the people of Israel, and you and me that we’ve all been invited to dine at the banquet of God’s grace. And what a rich banquet it is! Listen to the king’s cry! In verse 4 he says, Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.
What a spread! Look at the picture Jesus paints! The table God sets for you and me is packed full of every heavenly delight and spiritual delicacy. God doesn’t operate on the cheap. When He invites you to dinner you’re going to feast! So when you come to the table of God’s grace, what will you find there? I find myself turning to the same passage over and over again to answer that question. Look with me at Ephesians 1:3-14. In Ephesians 1:3-14 we find God’s banquet menu. And the first item God serves at His table of grace is the promise of personal holiness. Ephesians 1:4 speaks of all believers who dine at God table and says, For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Do you ever get sick of yourself? Do you ever long to always do what’s right, always speak what’s right, and always think what’s right? God’s promise in Christ is that He will make us holy and blameless. When we come to his table of grace He promises that, one day soon, He will purge our lives of all sin. And why not? Verse 5 tells us that God adopts those who come to His table. In Christ we become His sons and daughters. We become members of His royal, eternal family. And not only that, verse 7 says that when we feast at God’s banquet of grace, we find redemption and forgiveness of sin. Anybody here need to be forgiven? Anybody here need to be delivered from hell?