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The Parable about
the Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1-14

Resources
Service Notes
Sermon by Rev. John Reinke

MATTHEW 22:1-10
     1.  And again Jesus spoke to them in comparison stories:
     2.  "The kingdom of heaven is the same-as one king preparing a wedding feast for his son.
     3.  And the king sent his servants to call the visitors to the wedding feast.  But they didn't-want to come.
     4.  Again he sent other servants and said, 'Tell the visitors: Look, I prepared the feast, I killed my OXEN and fat CALVES.  Everything is ready.  Come to the wedding feast.'
     5.  But they didn't listen and continued working.  One man went to his farm and another man went to his store.
     6.  And the others grabbed the servants and hurt them and killed them.
     7.  The king was angry and sent soldiers to kill them and burn their city.
     8.  Then the king said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those people I invited the first time don't deserve to come.
     9.  Now, go to the streets and invite all people you find to the wedding feast.'
    10.  And those servants went into the streets and brought all the people they found, both bad and good people.  And the wedding feast was full with visitors.
    11. The king went in to see the people.  He saw one man that didn't have a proper clothes for a wedding.
    12. The king said, 'Friend, how did you come in here? You are not dressed for a wedding.' But the man froze  and said nothing.
    13. So the king told his servants, 'Tie this man's hands and feet. Throw him out into the dark.  There people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.'
    14. "Yes, God invites many people, but He chooses only a few."

 

The King =  

The Son =  

The Bride =  

The wedding feast =  

The servants =  

The invited guests =  

The destruction of their city =  

The invited outcasts =  

The wedding robe =  

The man without a wedding robe =  

Application =  


 
This story bothers me.

This story has
    beating and killing,
    revenge (getting-even).

And what about that man,
    the king invited him to the wedding feast,
    and then the king threw him out
        because the man didn't have the right clothes.

Jesus said some things that are really puzzling.

Jesus told many stories
    for comparing world situations
        and spiritual truth.

Most of Jesus' stories are short and simple.
This story is long and complicated.

Some parts are easy to understand.
Other parts are hard to understand.

So... let us jump into this story about the wedding feast.

Jesus said: 
"The kingdom of heaven is the same-as one king
preparing a wedding feast for his son."


In that first verse we have three things we must analyze.

1. The King = ?
2. The Son = ?
3. The wedding feast = ?

Any time Jesus tells a story about
    a king,
    a father,
    a farmer,
    or any boss person
we can normally guess that person represents God.

We can do that for this story:
The King = God

And if the King means God,
    then the King's Son means who?

The Son = Jesus

Okay, that's easy.

The third thing this first verse says is that the King prepared a wedding feast for his Son.

What does that "wedding feast" mean?

Many times and in many places in the Bible,
God uses the picture of a wedding
for describing His relationship [connect] to His people.

In the Old Testament,
    God said He married the nation of Israel.
    But when they worshipped false idols,
        God called that "adultery" against Him.

In the New Testament,
    The Bible says that Christ married the Church.

Who is Jesus' wife?
    WE ARE!

So, in our notes we can write:
The Bride = the people of God (Israel, the Church)

Now notice that in this story,
    the Son his Bride never appear.
And the wedding itself doesn't happen in this story.

This story only focuses on the feast,
    and the people that the King invited to the wedding.

Again, through the Bible,
    Old Testament and New Testament,
we often see the picture of a feast for describing two things.

The wedding feast =
    (1) our relationship with God now
    (2) heaven

Continuing reading the story:

And the king sent his servants to call the visitors (guests)  to the wedding feast.  But they didn't-want to come.

Again he sent other servants and said, 'Tell the visitors: Look, I prepared the feast, I killed my OXEN and fat CALVES.  Everything is ready.  Come to the wedding feast.' 

But they didn't listen and continued working. 
One man went to his farm
    and another man went to his store.
And the others grabbed the servants
    and hurt them and killed them.

Here we have two things we must analyze:

The Servants = ?
The Invited Guests = ?

Who are God's servants that announce His invitation?

They are people who announce His Word.

In the Old Testament, His servants are the prophets.

In the New Testament, His servants are  Apostles and evangelists.

Since that time, through history,
    God raised up preachers and teachers
        who call people back to His Word
        and a personal relationship with Him in Jesus Christ.

Today God sends us to announce His invitation
    to His Son's wedding feast.

The Servants = People who announce God's Word
                  OT Prophets
                  NT Apostles
                  Us

Next, who are the first group of people that the King invited to His Son's wedding feast?

They are people who hear God's Word,
    they read God's Word,
they receive God's invitation,
    and they reject Him.

Some people reject Him politely -- "No thank you."

Some people reject Him with two faces --
    they say a fake-yes [sign flat-O nodding]
        but they never really trust Him.
        ...as people do today.

Some people reject Him,
    giving weak excuses -- "I am too busy."
        ...as people do today.
    They focus only on this world,
        and they don't-care about a relationship with God;
        they don't-care about heaven.

Some people hate Him,
    and they persecute His servants,
    or they kill His servants.
        ...as people do today.


It is strange:  That first group of people that God invites to His Son's wedding feast are religious people.

    In the Old Testament, they are the people of Israel
        during times that they wander from God
        and follow false gods.

    In the New Testament, they are religious leaders
        who hated Jesus.

    Today, they are people who regularly go to church
        but they have no true relationship with Jesus.

The invited guests =
    Religious people who reject Jesus and His Word


Continuing reading Jesus' story:

The king was angry and sent soldiers to kill them and burn their city.

Here Jesus tells both history in the past
    and a warning for the future.

In the Old Testament,
    about 600 years before Jesus told this story,
God sent the army of BABYLON
    to destroy the city of Jerusalem.

And then, about 40 years after Jesus told this story,
    the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem again.

Both happened in the middle of summer
    on almost the same day on the Jewish calendar.

So Jewish people today remember that day,
    "the 9th of AV,"
same as we Americans remember
        Pearl Harbor Day,
        or 9/11.

The destruction of their city =
    Jerusalem destroyed by Babylon & Romans


Continuing reading Jesus' story:
Then the king said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those people I invited the first time don't deserve to come.  Now, go to the streets and invite all people you find to the wedding feast.'

And those servants went into the streets and brought all the people they found, both bad and good people.  And the wedding feast was full with visitors.

If the religious people reject God's invitation,
    who will trust Him?

People who understand that they are sinners.
People who know that they need a Savior.
People who know that they can't impress God,
    showing Him "how good" they are.
People who beg God for His mercy.
Anyone who is hungry for a relationship with Him.

In Jesus' time, the people in His community
    felt that they were God's special people.
They thought:  If you are not Jewish, you are lost.

Jesus' Disciples thought that way, also.

But God gave them a big shock:
    GENTILE People who are not Jewish
    can trust Jesus for forgiveness and be saved.

Jesus said,
"I didn't come to save 'good people.'
I came to call sinners to repent." (Luke 15:32)

When Jesus died on the cross,
    He did to save ALL sinners,
        and that includes every one of us.

Sometimes the enemies of Jesus say things about Him
    that are true and wonderful:

One group of PHARISEES criticized Jesus:
"This man welcomes sinners
and He eats with them!" (Luke 15.2)

YES! Jesus really welcomes sinners.
YES! He wants fellowship with us.

Those religious people meant for their words to criticize Jesus,
but really they spoke sweet Good News for all sinners, like us.

The invited outcasts = Gentiles & sinners


Now Jesus' story becomes very strange.

The king went in to see the people.  He saw one man that didn't have a proper clothes for a wedding.   The king said, 'Friend, how did you come in here? You are not dressed for a wedding.'

But the man froze  and said nothing.

So the king told his servants, 'Tie this man's hands and feet. Throw him out into the dark.  There people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.'

Yes, God invites many people, but He chooses only a few.

Time-out!!!

Who was that man?

Was he part of the first group of people that the King invited --
    -- the religious people?

Or was he in the second group of people
    who came to the wedding with the other sinners?

Jesus didn't say, and that point doesn't-matter.

But the people who joined the wedding feast
    from "the street,"
none of them came with proper clothes for the wedding.

How could they have the pure robe for entering the King's house?

The King Himself gave them all the pure robe,
    as the Bible says,
Jesus Christ makes us clean.

He takes off our "dirty clothes" of sin
    and He covers us with His own holy life.
And then Jesus Himself wears our dirty clothes of sin
    and receives our suffering and punishment on the cross.

The wedding robe = Christ's forgiveness

The Bible says;
You are all God's children by believing in Christ Jesus,
because all of you baptized in Christ's name,
Jesus holy life clothes you.  (Galatians 3:26-27)


Christ had no sin,
    but God made Christ become sin for us,
so that in Christ
    we could become right with God.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

But what about that man that didn't have a wedding robe?

If we think that we can have a relationship with God
    because we are good enough ourselves,
        we don't need Jesus' forgiveness,
        we don't need His holy life covering us,
He will not welcome us to His Son's wedding feast.
He will not welcome us in heaven.

If we reject Christ and His most precious gift,
    how can we have relationship with Him?
Impossible!

That is the same as a bride who tells her fiancÚ:
"I will come to our wedding, but I won't marry you."

The man without a wedding robe =
    People who don't repent and they reject God's forgiveness
    because they think they are good enough 
for heaven.


Remember in Jesus' story,
what happened to the first group of people that rejected the King's invitation?

This man in the last part of the story is the same as them.
He rejected the King's love and GRACE.
So his end is the same as what happened to the first group who rejected the King's invitation.

What does that story mean for us?

Do we believe that we have a relationship with Holy God
    because we are good religious people,
    and we regularly go to church?

No. 
If people can become good enough for satisfying Holy God,
    that means Jesus Christ died for nothing!

The reason Jesus came to suffer and die
    is because we can't save ourselves.
Jesus suffered our punishment.
Jesus felt the Father's rejection for us,
    so we can now stay in His wedding feast,
        now and forever.



 
Jesus told another story with a similar message using a different comparison in Matthew 21:33-43.  See Rev Reinke's sermon on the Parable of the Tennant Farmers.  

Parables Index