The Parable of the Wedding Feast

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Matthew 22:1–14 (NLT)
Jesus also told them other parables. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!
4 “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. 6 Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.
7 “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. 8 And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The parable of the wedding feast is the third consecutive parable included in this section of Matthew.  The focus in ch. 22 is on Jesus’ conflict with the Jewish leaders in the Temple courtyard.  Vv. 1-10 are similar to Luke 14:15-24.
The key point of this parable comes at the end:  “For many are called, yet few are chosen.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a “king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.”  In the ancient near east (ANE), the king would have been expected to provide a public banquet on various occasions.  The marriage of his son would certainly be such an occasion.  In this case, invitations have been set out in advance.  When everything was ready, the king sends out his servants to those who have been invited to come to the wedding feast.  This was common in the ANE as there were no clocks.  Jesus’ parables reflect common life settings.  At the point where they depart from the expected turn of events is the teaching point.  The proper response to the invitation of a king would be to come.  Instead, the invited guest refuse to come.
The king perhaps thinks that they have misunderstood, so he sends more servants.  In fact, he commands them, “Come!”  Now they not only refuse to come, they actually mistreat his servants, and in fact kill them
The Biblical world was an honor-shame society.  The king would have been the most honored person in society.  To refuse to come to the wedding feast of his son would be a great dishonor.  Consequently, the response of the king is understandable.  He is filled with wrath.  Their refusal to come now amounts to rebellion against his authority.  In response, he sends his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
In v. 8, the king announces to his servants that the wedding feast is ready.  Since those who were invited were not worthy, the king sends his servants out into the streets to invite to the banquet anyone they can find.  So they go and invite everyone.  It matters not whether these people had good names, or were rich, or were from the families of the elite.  The invitation is to whoever will accept the call.
The parable invites us to interpret it in the light of prophetic passages of the end times, especially the Revelation of John.  God is the King who invited his selected guests, the Jews, to the wedding banquet of his Son, the messianic banquet at the end of the age.  The servants who are sent out are the prophets who were mistreated and killed.  Finally in his anger, God destroyed the Jerusalem in AD 70 and burned.  And the temple was torn down.  But God still had a banquet. so God sent out God’s servants, the disciples, to bring people (the Gentiles) from everywhere to fill the banquet hall.
But in v. 11 the story takes another strange twist.  The king takes notice that there is someone in the wedding feast who is not dressed appropriately.  He is not wearing wedding clothes.  We are not told how he was able to get into the wedding feast without proper attire.  These days it is common for people to show up to weddings in whatever clothing.  Only the most formal weddings would require special attire.  But in the ANE, showing up without the proper attire would have been unthinkable.  It would be shameful to be dressed in anything but the proper wedding attire.  The king has no choice but to throw the man outside, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  sneak into the wedding feast without the proper wedding attire.
The concept speaks to the idea that one cannot get into the wedding feast of the Lamb without the proper clothing.  Perhaps this man was trusting in his own self-righteousness to get him into heaven.  But the Scripture says, “All our righteousness is as filthy rags.”  You can’t get into Heaven without honoring the King and the Son.  We must be clothed in the proper clothing, the garments washed in the blood of the Lamb.  That is, dressed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The ultimate fate of those who are not found worthy is to be cast outside into the outer darkness.  The outer darkness and the description of the man’s ultimate fate are descriptions of Hell.  Hell is the ultimate fate of the wicked, and those who do not repent.
The parable ends with the admonition that God has invited many, but few will actually make it into the wedding feast of the Lamb.  God invites everyone to come.  But the sad fact is that few will accept God’s invitation.
Lord, I pray for those today who are trusting in their own righteousness to get them into heaven.  All our righteousness is as filthy rags.  Help us Lord to trust only in You, and in Your Name, Jesus Christ, for there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.  Amen.

One response to this post.

  1. good parable . Thanks for sharing

    Reply

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