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The Wedding Feast


     PART II: THE PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM
           CHAPTER 12  THE WEDDING FEAST
 

Introduction
              This is a different parable than the Parable of the
         Great Banquet which Jesus gave at a meal (Luke 14:16-24).
         Jesus gave the Parable of the Wedding Feast later in his
         ministry and in the temple--it is found only in Matthew
         22:1-14. (Trench, NOTES ON THE PARABLES OF
        OUR LORD, p. 75).
The Story
                   Jesus spoke to them again in
                   parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven
                   is like a king who prepared a wedding
                   banquet for his son. He sent his servants
                   to those who had been invited to the
                   banquet to tell them to come, but they
                   refused to come.
                        "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.'

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

                "Then he said to his servants,  `The
                   wedding banquet is ready, but those I
                   invited did not deserve to come.  Go to
                   the street corners and invite to the
                   banquet anyone you find.' 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.

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

                        "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.'

                 "For many are invited, but few are
                   chosen."  (Matthew 22:1-14, New
                   International Version).

              A king prepared a wedding banquet for his son.
         According to Jewish custom, no time was specified in the
         invitation to the big feast.    When everything was ready,
         servants were sent out with a final summons.  (William
         Barclay, DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES, MATTHEW, pp.
         293 ff.).   When the servants were sent out for the final
         summons, those  who were invited refused to come.
              Then the king sent out more servants to bid those who
         were invited.  Again, those invited paid no attention.  Some
         went to conducting business as usual, and others mistreated
         the king’s servants and killed them.

              The king became furious and sent his army, executing
         those who murdered his servants and burning their city.
              The king then issued orders to his servants to go to
         the street corners and gather both good and bad people to his
         son's wedding feast.  People responded and filled the wedding
         hall.

   The king then came into the wedding hall to see the
         guests and noticed a guest who was not wearing wedding
         clothes.   Wealthy people of the East would have a large
         number of expensive garments for such occasions and the
         rejection of wedding clothes would be a sign of contempt.
         (R. C. Trench, NOTES ON THE PARABLES OF OUR LORD,
         p.  80).  When the king confronted the guest without wedding
        clothes, the man had no excuse.

  The king had his attendants bind the man without the
       wedding clothes and throw him outside in the darkness.
 

                                    The Interpretation
    The  characters of the story and the people whom
         they represent are:

              1.  The King                        God the Father
              2.  The Son                          God the Son
              3.  The first group invited      The Jews
              4.  The second group invited  The Gentiles and sinners

              God's chosen people, the Jews, were the first to receive
         the joyous call to receive the Messiah, whom they
         rejected.   The Gospel was then given to other nations
         (Gentiles).  In short, everyone has been given an invitation,
         but not everyone has accepted the invitation.

     The wedding will take place in the future when the Lord
         calls us.   The time is unspecified--only God knows.  We who
         have responded are the Church--not denominations, but the
         universal church, which is composed of every individual who
         has responded and who will respond to the call of the Father
         to accept his Son.

              The wedding garment represents the righteousness of
         Christ.  Paul explains in the book of Romans that "self-
         righteousness" will not satisfy the holiness of God, only the
         imputed righteousness of  Jesus Christ.  (See the chapter on
         "Righteousness” in my shareware book, HOW TO RAISE YOUR SELF
         ESTEEM: PROVEN BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES).

     The outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing
         of teeth is the place of eternal separation from God and from
         redeemed humanity.  Barclay reminds us that part of the pain
         will be the joy missed.  It would be terrible to spend an
         eternity without a changed nature and without having the love
         nature of God.

                              Central Truth

   EVERYONE IS CALLED TO BE SAVED,  BUT ONLY  THOSE
       WHO RECEIVE CHRIST AND HIS FREE GIFT OF
       RIGHTEOUSNESS  WILL BE SAVED.

                               Conclusion
     It is very foolish to reject the invitation of our
         Creator.    He has so much joy in store for us.  If it hurts
         human beings to have their love rejected, how much more does
         it pierces the heart of God to have his love and his Son
         rejected?  Let us carry the message of the Good News (Gospel)
         to all!  END