The Parable of the Wedding Feast
1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come . . . 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:1-14
The beauty of doing these weekly devotionals is that I can pick and chose whether I actually write one or not. So, usually when I encounter a scripture passage that I really don’t know what to do with, I dodge it. This is one of those passages. When Jesus tells a parable, he rarely sugar-coats it.
So, what are the basics here? The king is throwing a wedding banquet for his son. People have been invited. The invited guests decide not to show up. In fact, not only did they not show up, the guests killed the second set of servants sent to fetch them. So, the king got angry and killed those who murdered the servants and leveled their city. Then the king sent out his servants once again and gathered up anybody they could find to fill up the wedding hall. The story ends with the king spotting a guest who isn’t dressed for the banquet and has that person kicked out. The conclusion is that many people are called but few are chosen.
This is not easy reading, but then the context of this parable was not easy. First of all, Israel was occupied territory. Secondly, they were ruled by corrupt Roman officials and a very corrupt king. Thirdly, this was the last week of Jesus’ life. He had triumphantly entered Jerusalem and he was awaiting those final moments when he would be taken and killed. The story is a tough one to hear, but then again this was a difficult time and Jesus really wanted to get his point across.
So, what does this story mean? Well the simple answer is that God has called us all to the banquet table. We see this echoed in John’s Revelation where a huge crowd in heaven sings about the glory of God and the marriage feast with the Lamb of God – Jesus.
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns . . . 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” – Revelation 19:6-9
Stories and images of feasting and marriage occur all through the Bible. These stories not only portray a part of the natural rhythm of our lives, but also the larger picture of the relationship that we are invited to live out with God.
So, the feast is laid out. The marriage vows are taken. The guests are invited. And, now the choice to come to the feast must be made. That choice is ours to make. And, just like the time and place that Jesus told this parable was one with significant challenges, our decision has consequences too. The King in this story is relentless in extending the invitation to the feast, but ultimately the choice to come is left to us.
Want to know more? Then come out this Sunday to The Sunday Gathering 10:30am for Food and Friends and 11:00am for worship and inspiration. We just may ramp up the feasting for this Sunday!