Lord, I desire an eye for beauty, an ear for truth, and a heart that hungers for you. Grow them in me I pray.
Read MATTHEW 22:1–14
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
22 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.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn what ways do you show gratitude for your entry into God’s kingdom?
Now, be honest, we weren’t expecting that, were we? There we were, reading Jesus’ story about a wedding banquet, happily spotting the allegories – Israel’s rejection of her Messiah (vs 4–5), God’s impending judgment on his people (v 7), his embrace of ordinary people like us (vs 8–10) – and then it’s all ruined by the unpleasant business with the man who is dressed inappropriately for the occasion (vs 11–13). What is going on?
It’s a stark warning from Jesus that fruitfulness is no less important for the renewed people of God than it had been for the Old Testament people of Israel (remember the vineyard). The wedding clothes in the parable are an allegory for fruitfulness, and it is fruitfulness that distinguishes the chosen from the invited (v 14). The man thrown out of the banquet had failed to dress in a manner befitting the occasion – he didn’t really belong there. In the same way, if our lives are not ‘clothed’ in kingdom values then we give ourselves away as not belonging in the kingdom of God. We can make much of our being saved by faith alone. Here is a powerful reminder that we are saved for the purpose of fruitfulness – of demonstrating the goodness of living under the reign of Christ.
Consider ways in your life where you have been content to conform rather that to live fruitfully. How can you grow in the ‘obedience that comes from faith?’ (Romans 1:5)
Mighty God, what a privilege it is to be a part of your kingdom. Release your Spirit in me today as I seek to be your faithful disciple.
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