Jesus is going to be using the illustration of a wedding feast to make his point but before we begin we have to know what they would have been thinking of as Jesus was talking. Too many times we put our American mindset into the Bible and miss the meaning of what Jesus was saying. When you put His words into the context of the time He was living on earth then you see the passage in a whole new way.
Marriages has always symbolized Gods love for His People
Isaiah 62:5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Ancient Israel’s Process of the Wedding
- Choosing of the Bride by the Father In ancient Israel the Father would pick the Bride with input from the Son and a lot more input from His wife. But ultimately in that day and time it was the Father who made the final decision for his son. So when you read the Bible you will see that every follower of God and Jesus Christ considered themselves Chosen. This has led to a lot of theological discussions and controversy which I will not address here but if you read it in the context of what was meant than everyone who is a follower of Christ would have felt as though they were chosen by God.
1 Thessalonians 1:4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
See Also Acts; 10:41 Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:4 -9
2) The Betrothal of the Bride and Groom This is the part where the commitment was made before the wedding. We may see this as the engagement period but unlike our engagement period it would take an act of divorce to break the deal.
3) Verbal agreement in the presence of two witnesses. The verbal agreement made it a binding contract between the two parties.
2 Corinthians 11:2-3 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Are we not tempted to cheat on the one who we made a commitment to?
Anything we turn to besides turning to God is cheating on our relationship.
4) Pledge of Money paying for the Bride There had to be an agreed amount of money for the price that had to be paid in order for the bride to be secured as belonging to the soon to be husband.
As Christians (The Bride of Christ) we have been purchased with an amount that had to be agreed upon. It took Jesus Christ life as a payment for us.
1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants[a] of men.
See also: Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Peter 1:18-19
5) Written Pledge or Contract
Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[a] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[b] to the praise of his glory.
This is why we rejoice as Christians because we have been bought and God will not break His contract. The Holy Spirit is the confirmation of our future marriage when Christ returns to get His bride.
After all of this they were considered husband and wife even though the marriage ceremony has not taken place yet. Any violation of the contract would be punishable by death.
6) The Marriage of the Bride and Groom This would take place when the Father of the Groom would say “Go and get your Bride”
The Bride would not know when the Groom would come and get her so she always had to be ready.This also was not a set time because of the elaborate preparations that would be taking place. The Groom would have to prepare a place for Him and His bride. There would also be the celebration preparations that would have to take place as well.
It was about the groom and not about the Bride. He was the center of attention which is opposite of our weddings in America.
Many times the groom would come at night with a torch processional as they headed to go get his bride. This was a fantastic and surprising time in the life of the Bride.
John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
7) The Marriage Supper or Celebration
This is nothing like our Marriage celebrations because this would last on average one to seven days and some up to 14 days. The length of the celebration was dependent on how rich the Father was.
This is where our story begins
Read Matthew 22:1-10
Son appears in all three parables which is a clear indication that the focus is on the Son.
Rabbis did not teach things by accident and Jesus was purposeful in His stories as well. Jesus is continually trying to point out to them that He is the Son of God
The Invitation: Who’s invited?
An invitation you receive is specific with who is and who is not invited to come.
The story tells us that all are invited.
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.9 And the angel said[a] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
There was no save the date card it was a “hey we will be getting married sometime” card. They should have been expecting it to come but they allowed their lives to become busy with meaningless things. When a family member sends a “we are engaged card” you put your vacation plans on hold until you know the date of the wedding. These people did not care about the wedding and only cared about themselves.
The slaves were the Old and New Testament Prophets and we can go further and say that it is us as well, since we are to go and invite people to the marriage banquet.
But they did not want to come (22:3)
And when Jesus said this the crowd would have gasped. Again we do not always see this as an insult in our country but this was a big deal to not go. This was a Royal wedding that would probably last week’s not one hour so really there was no excuse for not making it. Plus you would have wanted to go because the food would be awesome. So to say you could not make it was like saying “I am busy all week” or “I have to do my hair”
The wording “they did not want to come” was an indicator they had already knew about it and chose not to come.
This was not that we could not make it, this was we were choosing to not make it.
Again, he sent other slaves
This does not keep the King from making another plea for them, He wants them there and indicates His love for the people.
Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
They were not willing to come even though it broke the Kings heart. In the plea to them He mentions Oxen and Fattened Cattle were slain meaning this was going to be the feast of all feast. He was bribing them with food.
If you study the Prodigal son in Luke 15 you see the oldest son complain about his wayward brother getting such a nice party and he didn’t. You never even gave me a young goat” (Luke 15:29) Bulls and Cattle were reserved for very special occasions and so the one brother was upset that there was such a special feast for one who disgraced the family.
Isaiah 25:6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
Come to the Wedding feast
He was giving them another chance to change their mind and see how poor their excuses were. The language turns from would you please come to you need to come.
They paid no attention and went away
It went from rudeness to indifference as if the invitation has not come at all. They returned to their field and their business totally ignoring what was taking place.
Luke 14:18-20 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
People can make dumb Excuses for missing things. Here is an actual list of why people had to miss work.
- Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway
- Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday so needed Monday to recover
- Employee was quitting smoking and was grouchy
- Employee said that someone glued her doors and windows shut so she couldn’t leave the house to come to work
- Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk
- Employee claimed a swarm of bees surrounded his vehicle and he couldn’t make it in
- Employee said the chemical in turkey made him fall asleep and he missed his shift
- Employee felt like he was so angry he was going to hurt someone if he came in
- Employee received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI
- Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping
- Employee’s fake eye was falling out of its socket
- Employee got lost and ended up in another state
- Employee couldn’t decide what to wear
But the rest seized his slaves, treated them shamefully and killed them
Instead of worrying about offending the King they were mad at the Kings persistence. God will continue to seek after those, even if they initially reject Him.
Luke 9:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Some people ignore the invitation with business and indifference and some kill the messengers. Killing of the messengers was a direct message to the King about what they thought about him. We always wonder why some people are trying to silence Christianity while they allow others to speak freely. We have to remember that any Christian that is trying to be silenced through persecution or political correctness, has to remember it is an attack on the King. This passage is more directed toward the religious leaders and the prophets that have already died but we can also apply this to us today. Jesus in this story said that is how it will always be and it will continue till He comes again.
So the King sent his soldiers to destroy those murderers and burn their city The Kings outpouring was against those who killed His messengers at this time and not those who were indifferent. Some say it was Jesus pointing out that the temple would be destroyed in 70 AD and some say it was Jesus pointing to the final judgment. Of course both could be represented here.
Those who were invited were not worthy
They were not worthy based on their rejection of the invitation not because they did not earn their way to be there.
The wedding feast is ready,… go and invite whoever you find.
This is our call today to invite whoever you find to and gather together everyone we find. This is the beautiful message of God that no matter who you are and where you live He will make sure that you hear the message. Every tribe and nation would have been represented in this call.
The Bad and the Good
We judge ourselves based on how we act but God sees the bad and the good in the same way. No matter how bad you are you can still get in and no matter how good you are you can be kept out. The Jewish thought at the time is that they were the only ones who were going to make it into Heaven so to hear the good and the Bad would have triggered their mind to think about the gentiles. We can portray similar attitudes when we judge someone by their actions instead of inviting them because the King wants them to be a part.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Many of us do not see ourselves as these things listed in these passages but remember Jesus said if you looked at a woman with lust in your eyes you are an adulterer if you had angry thoughts toward a brother you are a murderer. So when Jesus said the good and the bad he was letting them know that by their actions they will not get in but only because the accept the invitation.
When you accept Gods invitation you are welcomed in but more than that you are clothed with the garments He provides.
Colossians 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
For now you have to see that there is an invitation that has gone out to you not based on how you act but on your acceptance to it. Our job is to go and tell others about the open invitation God has for all mankind. It is up to each individual if they will accept it or not.
We do not know when the Groom will come but we must be ready for his arrival any moment. When the King says Go the son will come and as we will see later in Matthew some will not be ready.