What does the parable of the wedding banquet mean?
Who doesn’t enjoy a royal wedding? In Matthew 22:1-14, Christ told an intriguing story of what happened to some reluctant guests. Read the parable below with the commentary in between.
“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.’”
Jesus is following up His answer to the Pharisees and chief priests from the previous chapter. He relates the reluctant wedding guests to the history of Israel. God chose the descendents of Abraham to inherit His Kingdom on earth. He sent deliverers to turn the hearts of His people back to Him after they had fallen away. But the Israelites had turned away from Him to worship other gods.
“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.”’”
Although rejected, God continued to woo His people. He warned and disciplined them. Still, they refused to repent. God would not give up on them.
“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.”
God sent prophets to warn of punishment. But the Israelites tortured and killed these messengers. Through the armies of Syria, Babylonia, and Rome, God chastened the nations of Israel and Judah.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. God 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.”
God did not give up on mankind. He desired to find someone to follow Him for their redemption. He sent His servants to the Gentiles, those who were not of Israel. To this day, Israel is still rebelling against the Messiah.
“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.”
This verse speaks to those who are Christians in name only. To those who are depending on their own works, their own self-righteousness, to make them acceptable before God (see Ephesians 2:8-10). Just as the king provided the wedding garment for the guests, God provides salvation. To refuse the garment is insulting to the giver. In the parable, the one who insulted the king was thrown into the darkness.
Nothing is hidden from God. If you are maintaining a façade of righteousness, He knows. If you are trying to hold onto the world and maintain your salvation, it won’t work. You cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Accept God’s free gift of salvation today.
“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.’”
“The wages of sin is death,” the Bible warns (Romans 6:23). Nothing will save us except the blood of Jesus.
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
The invitation is for everyone, but not many will respond. Have you responded?
“Choose for yourselves this day, whom you will serve. . . . .but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15)
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