Walking In Truth Devotional Update
The Parable of the Great Wedding Banquet
There have been efforts to relate this parable to Luke 14:16-24. In this passage Jesus spoke of a great supper provided by a “a certain man,” but this parable in Matthew is about a wedding banquet by a king. There are other differences one will find when comparing the two. It will be our purpose to consider only the one in Matthew at this time.
The passage in Matthew is set in the area of the temple of Jerusalem as observed in the previous chapter and is preceded by the parables of the Two Sons (Matt. 21:28-32) and The Wicked Husbandmen (Matt. 21:33-46). Jesus is engaged with the religious leaders and therefore verse 1 says: “And Jesus answered and spoke to them (observe the previous chapter) again by parables and said.” The parable is about the danger of rejecting Him.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son.” Weddings were very important then as they are even today. The wedding of a king’s son would be a great affair and an invitation would be treasured or greatly desired. William Barclay says “that when a great social event happened in the Jewish culture of that day, people were invited but without a set time. On the appropriate day, when the host was ready to receive the guests, they sent out messengers to say that all things were ready, and it was time to come to the feast.”
However, in this story when the servants went to call those invited to the wedding, they were unwilling to attend (v. 3). This picture is of the Jews rejection of Christ. This period was in the context of the week in which Jesus was to be betrayed and crucified. This hatred for Jesus is seen when Pilate asked the Jews “which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over” (Matt. 27:17-18).
In verses 4-7 we are told that the King sent out another gracious invitation and some made excuses and the rest seized the servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. The King then sent his army out and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city. The treatment of the king’s servants was true regarding how Israel had treated the prophets. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 23:31-36. Jesus also predicted the overthrow of Jerusalem, which did take place when Rome marched against Jerusalem and destroyed the city and killing many Jewish people in A.D. 70. This is a clear warning for all those who reject Jesus. There is a coming judgment when all those who have rejected God’s invitation to accept His beloved Son will be punished (2 Thess. 1:7-9).
Again, the invitation was extended to those in the highways and the servants gathered together all whom they found, and the wedding was filled with guests (v. 8-10). No doubt this included the Gentiles. Jesus had said earlier, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). The people rejecting the invitation of the King were engaging in rebellion against God.
However, in the presence of the guests was a man without the proper wedding attire (Matt. 22:11-13). “So, he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” This man had so excuse and was stunned into silence. In such situations of the Mediterranean culture, the king would make sure to provide proper wedding clothes to all guests as they arrived (Malina, Synoptic Gospels, 111. Cf. also Stern, Jewish NT Commentary, 64, and Pilch, Cultural World of Jesus, 148-150).
There are different views regarding why this man did not have the proper attire. Some have suggested he was there to enjoy the feast but not to honor the Son. Some say that he came into the feast in a improper way. The proper attire would suggest the need to obey all that Jesus said was required for entrance into the Kingdom faith, repentance, baptism to contacting the blood of Christ, and a desire to love the Lord and keep His commandments.
The parable closes with the statement, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Many people hear the call of God which comes through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14) but not everybody will respond because they lack the interest or are antagonistic toward God and Christ (Matt. 13:15).
I would like for us to see and understand the most gracious love of the Father presented in this parable. He provided His beloved Son for our salvation. If we would but meditate on what it cost the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to offer this invitation to be saved how could we refuse His love?
By Guy Roberson
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