Friday 15 September 2023

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 So 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, the bad as well as the good, 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 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ 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.”

In order to describe the coming Kingdom of God, Jesus paints a vivid picture of a royal wedding. I imagine something similar to the extravagance of the British Royal Weddings of the past decade or so.

In this story, however, the guest list is uninterested in attending! Some are even violently opposed to celebrating. Then the king in the story invites commoners to come to the wedding instead. Not surprisingly, many people show up.

What is Jesus trying to teach me?

I believe he is saying that there are many who reject the invitation to join in God’s Kingdom. In fact, there are some that are opposed to it. But God is not dissuaded and invites people of all backgrounds to join in His Kingdom.

But the story doesn’t end there. Sure enough, some poor bloke turns up to the wedding banquet in the equivalent of stubbies, a singlet and thongs… he is a little underdressed. So the King ties him up and boots him out into the darkness…. Rough!

What is Jesus teaching me with this final part of the story?

I imagine the wedding attire would have been costly to purchase. Buying a suit or dress for the wedding would have been a serious investment. God’s Kingdom is not an ‘eat and run’ situation. I can’t rock up and tell God that I have a few other priorities to attend to as well. I need to go all in, invest in following Jesus, and turn my back on all the other options.

“Lord, it is easy to get absorbed with the parties and priorities of this world. Lord, you call me to be dedicated to your priorities. You have invited me to an everlasting party. Where I am not invested in your Kingdom, rearrange my priorities so that I am worthy of your party!”

Written by Andrew Mellor

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