Parable of the Wedding Banquet!
Scripture reading for October 12th: Matthew 20-23
“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.” Matthew 22:2-3
Why did Jesus give this parable and who did he give it to? We read in the previous chapter that the chief priests and Pharisees knew that the parables that they heard were about them and they were afraid of the people. They were jealous because many people were following Jesus and thought He was a prophet. (Matthew 21:45-46) They were looking for a way to arrest Jesus but he just gave them another parable. We have no commentary on this parable here in Matthew but the story is easy to understand in the context.
The king was God the Father who sent His only son to earth. His plan was to gather a bride for His son from those who would believe and follow Him. He came to the Jews first and they were invited to the great wedding banquet. Israel was long considered the betrothed wife of God! When the banquet was ready, servants were sent to remind the guests of the banquet and their need to respond and come. These servants were the prophets, up to and including John the Baptist. The people of Israel gave lots of excuses and for the most part failed to respond. Worse than that, they beat the servants of the King and killed them. (Matthew 22:5-7) The king sent his army and destroyed those murderers and their city. This likely refers to the Babylonian captivity.
The King then instructs His servants to go into the highways and on the street corners and find those who will come to His Son’s wedding banquet. Many respond, good and bad, to the urgent invitation. This speaks of the church sent out to the world to preach the Gospel to all people. Many respond, good and bad. One attended the banquet not properly clothed. This person was confronted and then escorted out. This man was speechless because he knew the proper clothing but in rebellion chose not to wear it. He was bound and cast out into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 22:13)
“Many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) Jesus concluded this parable with these sobering words. The invitation to His wedding banquet has gone out to all the world. Many have responded and others have chosen to not respond for various excuses. These excuses will keep them out of the joys of the King’s presence. Others choose to come on their own terms and will be forcibly cast out at the last judgment. Only the robes given by the King’s Son will be proper attire. Have you accepted the King’s invitation? Are you wearing the proper garment?