Recent Banquet at an Area Care Home that the ministry assisted with.

The Parable of The Wedding Banquet Matthew 22:1-14

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2"The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

4 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.’

5 But they paid no attention and went off--one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 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.

11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 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.’

14 "For many are invited, but few are chosen."

Observations on the Text

The meaning of this parable in the context of the Lord’s Passion Week, in which he was to be betrayed and crucified, is pretty clear--it condemns the contempt that Israel as a whole (and everyone in general) had (and has) for God’s gracious invitation through Jesus the Messiah.

The focus of the parable is on the wedding banquet of the Son. The reference is naturally to the Messianic banquet, which is not only mentioned in the New Testament (Rev. 19) but also in the Rabbinic Literature. At the end of the age, the Jewish tradition held, all the people of God--Israel--would enjoy a Messianic banquet in their transition from this life to the life to come. The details of that banquet, or the New Testament’s marriage supper of the Lamb, cannot be pressed too much since the circumstances are different, as we shall see.

We may also observe that the parable clearly intends to portray Israel’s spiritual indifference to the invitation in the sharpest way, culminating in their killing the messengers of the covenant. In Matthew 23 Jesus will accuse the hypocritical leaders of killing the prophets.

The imagery of a wedding banquet turns to the serious message when the man without the proper wedding clothes is not merely thrown out of the banquet, but is bound hand and foot, and cast into darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is obviously the judgment scene that Jesus repeated so often with these very words. Thus the banquet is the celebration of those who enter the kingdom, and the exclusion is the judgment of God for those who reject the invitation of grace.

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