THE WEDDING BANQUET
I. Background of the Parable
a. This is the last few days of Jesus’ life, and He was teaching in the temple, 21:23. The chief priests and elders had just questioned his authority to teach, 21:23-24.
b. He then told the parable of the 2 sons, another attempt to help the leaders see that repentance, as the tax gatherers and harlots had, was better than self-righteousness, as they had.
c. He then told another parable, of the unrighteous stewards, to further clarify the reality that the chief priests and elders were usurping the kingdom of God, and unless they repented, they would be punished and the kingdom would be given to others, 21:43-45. The parable of the wedding banquet follows these teachings, covered in more detail in lesson 2, which you ought to review before doing this one.
2. Definitions/Cultural Insights
As today, wedding banquets or feasts were common practice and were frequently lavish, expensive occasions. Often held after the harvest so as many as possible could attend, they might be week long celebrations with family and friends attending from miles around.
II. Understanding the Parable
1. Jesus taught first… that the kingdom of heaven is like a wedding feast - it is a place of joy and celebration!
The gospel is good news, Rom 1:16-17, Jn 10:10 of salvation and abundant life!
2. Jesus taught… for a number of unexplained reasons many would not want to enjoy the celebration.
a. Some simply refused to come, 22:3, no reasons given, perhaps representing the Jewish leaders.
b. Some paid no attention, they were busy with other things, their own home, business…, 22:4-5, perhaps representing the “ordinary citizen of Israel.
c. Some even mistreated the messengers and were punished, 22:6-7, as in the past, those that killed the prophets.
d. One came improperly attired and was cast out for punishment, 22:11-13, again perhaps representing leaders, since they had the appearance of righteousness, Mt 23:27-28.
3. Jesus taught some… newly invited, would come, would be properly attired and would enjoy the wedding celebration, i.e. would participate in the kingdom and reap its benefits, 22:9-10, 14!
III. Consideration and Application of the Parable
1. Rejoice!!… the kingdom is a celebration
The kingdom is a place of salvation, of abundant life - let your face, attitude, speech and actions show it! You are married to Christ, you walk with Him. What did Jesus say the kingdom is like? Why might you not be rejoicing? What have you forgotten? How has Satan deceived you into sorrow and dreariness?
2. The Invitation…is for all
Everyone has been invited, but few respond properly. Some make excuses, some don’t, some even respond with anger, resenting the invitation so much they punish the messenger. What about you? Are you too busy to be bothered, is work so important you would trade eternal salvation for it? Have you been as kind and invited all you know to the Lord’s wedding banquet?
3. Terrible Punishment… is reserved for the “rejecters”
The one came improperly dressed and those who rebelled against the messengers were terribly punished. What sort of choice will you make - to participate in the kingdom on your terms and be punished when caught or on the king’s (Christ’s) terms and enjoy the blessings of the feast? As Jesus said, ”The way is narrow…” and yet the benefits of the narrow way are great.
You can choose to live life on your terms, working, making excuses, rebelling… as you see fit, or you can answer the invitation of Christ - to the grandest celebration of all - of Him to the church, of Him to you. Which will you choose? Even to make no choice is to choose, it’s to choose the inferior - so when you hear Christ’s invitation to become a Christian, or to walk with Him in any way He chooses, listen carefully to how you should dress, and enjoy the celebration. To choose any other path is to choose the way of destruction. How can you tell if you’re properly “dressed”, and if you’re on the right path?
IV. Memory Verses - Mt 22:2, 14