Heaven’s Invitation

Matthew 22

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2″The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He 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 [fatlings in the KJV] 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. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7The 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. 9Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10So 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.

A guest preacher talked about this in our service last night. He titled his message “What is your response to heaven’s invitation?” Here are the things that came to my mind (which the people sitting around me may have heard, since I am not too good at keeping silent during service.)(All emphasis was added by me.):

1. I LOVE fatlings! This might sound a little sarcastic (and probably did last night when I said it to my wife during the preaching) and I can’t really remember if I’ve ever eaten veal before, but I love meat. I like steaks, burgers, ground beef and the like. When someone tells me I’m invited to a meal with beef, I’m overjoyed. So, first reaction: I LOVE fatlings!

2. What is the problem with these people? I wish a king would invite me to a wedding banquet! I mean, c’mon, the KING! The guy who holds your life in his hands, the guy who “owns” your land, and the guy who decides whether or not to tax you until you can’t survive anymore. The King, man! Then I started thinking. I have been invited to a wedding banquet by a king, just not an earthy king like I was thinking. How do I know that I specifically have been invited? 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” How do I know that the passage is for me and for you, not just for specific, select people? Those words “any” and “all” are beautiful words because they are not respecters of any person, just like the Lord my God (2 Sam. 14:14, 2 Chron. 19:7, Acts 10:34, Rom 2:11, 1 Peter 1:17, et al.). So, I am invited to a king’s wedding banquet as Rev 19:9 states: “…Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…”

3. I like to be early to events. If I’m going to a wedding, I don’t want to be late. I would find that very rude. If I’m going to dinner, I sure don’t want to be late! It’s like the joke that says “You can call me anything except late for dinner.” And if the dinner is being thrown by the king, well, all the more reason to be on time. I doubt there was anything such as “fashionably late” in the days of kings. My last thought before the preaching really began (keep in mind I had thought all this before the preacher even got going, so he didn’t influence these three ideas) was that if I was invited to a wedding banquet, I would want to be early. Can I correlate this point to this life I currently live? It would seem to say that if I had my choice I would die ‘before my time’ (in quotations because before my time to you is not before my time to God, who knows exactly when I’m going, so I’ll never go before my appointed time). If the appointed time is ‘on-time’ and I like to be early, then it would only stand to reason that I’d like to leave this life at a time some would call ‘early’ or ‘prematurely’. While I love life and I love living life and I enjoy and appreciate immensely this life God has given me to live, if you hear report of me dying ‘before my time’ you’ll know that God has given me my desire and has brought me home ‘early’. Maybe it’s so I can get a good seat. 😉

Quote of the day:
“This is your invitation
Come just the way you are
Come find what your soul has been longing for
Come find your peace
Come join the feast
Come in
This is your invitation
” –The Invitation by Steven Curtis Chapman

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2 Responses to Heaven’s Invitation

  1. the Sage says:

    Parables like this do seem incomprehensible at first…why would anyone turn down an invitation to feast with the King? Then I remember that one of the main points of the NT is that we have naturally hard hearts, in fact we are referred to as the “enemies of God” until and unless God by his grace makes us his friends. So I think Jesus is showing us that these rejecters of the banquet were doing so because they really hated the King! It was not a rejection of the food or fun, it was a rejection of the Person.

  2. Roger says:

    Rejection of the person. That makes a whole lot of sense, especially as a parable.

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