What was the background to this parable? What was the context in which Jesus gave it?
- You see, it was still a continuation of what Jesus was saying to the chief priests and elders from the previous chapter.
- They wanted to know what authority Jesus had to teach and preach and heal. Yet Jesus focused on their lack of fruits, their lack of ministry to all the people around them. That even though they seemed to have all the authority, they were very much destitute of the fruits of a true Christian – especially being in the position that they were in.
- So with that understanding now let’s have a look at the parable.
1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
- So a king makes a marriage for his son and he wishes to furnish this wedding feast with guests.
- Who does the king represent? He represents God the Father.
- And how about the son? He would represent Jesus Christ.
- How about this wedding banquet? What does that represent?
- Revelation 19:7
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
- Jesus is about to marry someone. The Lamb of God has a wife.
- Revelation 19:7
- But who is this wife?
- Revelation 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
- It is New Jerusalem. But Jesus is not marrying a city. So who is He marrying then?
- Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
- The bride is the church. And the church is not just any structure or building, it is the people that are in it. It is the union of God’s people to Him.
- Ephesians 1:9-10
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.
- God is going to gather into one everything in heaven and everything on earth one day. That’s the second coming!
- Revelation 21:2
- So in this parable God is inviting people to come to the marriage supper of the Lamb, to be ready for the second coming and the wedding feast that God will hold up in heaven for us one day.
The king sends His servants to call people. Who are His servants?
- Amos 3:7
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
- So the servants are the prophets.
- But it’s not just the prophets that are considered God’s servants. Who else?
- Ephesians 4:11
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.
- Who else does God use to call people into the kingdom of heaven? Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
- Ephesians 4:11
- And how is it that God calls us? What does He use? What does His servants use?
- 2 Thessalonians 2:14
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- God calls us by His gospel. Through the teaching and preaching of the word of God, the scriptures.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:14
- However, many people reject it. They would not come. I hope that is not the case for those that are listening or reading this today. But that was the general reaction of most people in this parable.
So what does this king do when he hears that the people will not come?
- Matthew 22:4
Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
- The king comes with an even greater plea. He tells the people that the dinner is all ready. Everything has been prepared. All they need to do is come, is show up!
- The detail that is given is this – my oxen and my fatlings are killed.
- What is the significance of the oxen and the fatlings all are killed already? You see, the sacrifice has been made already. The animal has been killed.
- Jeremiah 11:19
But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.
- The killing of an oxen was the same as the killing of a lamb.
- That represents the death of Jesus. It shows that God has done all His part already for us to be invited. The dinner is ready, the wedding is all prepared. All that God has needed to do to save us has been done. His part in the plan of salvation has been fulfilled. In fact, He could not do more to save us!
- Jeremiah 11:19
- He has even sent the servants to invite us to the dinner. But many would not come.
- Can you see that there is a part for us to play in the plan of salvation? It’s not a big part. It’s very insignificant. We don’t need to help prepare the wedding. We don’t need to make the decorations. We don’t need to bring any gift. All we need to do is be willing to come, to show up!
But what is the response of the people?
- Matthew 22:5-6
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
- They made light of it. Meaning they neglected it or did not even regard it. They were occupied with their farms and merchandise like how we get occupied with many of our own things today like our work and studies and hobbies. Travelling here and there. Fixated on our computers and phones watching movies and constantly on social media.
- Yet there were others. It says that the remnant took the servants and killed them. Why? Maybe they didn’t want to be disturbed. Maybe they didn’t like the message that these servants were bringing, that if they wanted to come to the wedding feast, they would have to leave behind all their worldly belongings. That it would actually require a sacrifice.
- So they all stayed away and even killed the servants that the king sent.
But how did the king react?
- Matthew 22:7-10
7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
- The king was angry upon hearing that his servants were treated that way so he went out with his armies and destroyed the murderers and burnt their city.
- What does this represents?
- It represents the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70AD when Titus would destroy everything in it including the temple.
- This means that the people that were being invited to the wedding feast at the beginning must represents the Jews.
- How do we know this? Because right after that, the king would send out his servants again and invite other people. Those that were in the highways. All good and bad. It was an open invitation.
- At the beginning, God had called Abraham. He called them to the marriage feast and it would be through him and his descendants that they would go out to the world and call others. As God had blessed him, he had to turn around and be a blessing to the whole world.
- But the Jews got all caught up in their own world, in their own lives. They forgot the reason why God had called them. To the point that they killed their own prophets. Jesus Himself said it.
- Matthew 23:31
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
- Matthew 23:31
- And at the very end they would kill the Son of God. And so God would send His armies to destroy their city Jerusalem and would reject them as His chosen people and send the gospel out to the Gentiles to inherit and fulfil the promise.
However, the parable does not end here. Although the wedding is furnished with guests, it does not mean that everyone has a right to enter. At the end of this section of the parable it says that both good and bad came.
- How do we know if we are good or bad?
- Most of us, if not all of us, are the result of the gospel going out to everyone. We are the benefactors of God rejecting the Jews and destroying the city. We are Gentiles and not Jews.
- But it does not simply mean that we are saved. It does not automatically mean that we are on the side of the good.
- How do we know if we are good or bad?
- The second section of this parable deals with it.
- But this is an important fact. That until the point we get to heaven at the second coming, the church on earth will always be a mixture of good and bad people. You fill find that the dividing line between the good and bad is not who goes to church. That means we should not look to people on this earth as our example but simply look to Jesus. We must make sure we keep our eyes fixed firmly on the One who will never let us down, who never makes any mistake, and who is our perfect Example – Jesus Christ.
- So, what is that dividing line between the good and the bad?
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
- Did you see what it is? It’s so very simple isn’t it? It depended on who wore the wedding garment. If you had a wedding garment on then you were safe, if not then you would be cast out.
- The bad person does not wear the wedding garment. And of course in contrast, those that were good were the ones who had this wedding garment on.
- So notice this:
- Both were invited.
- Both came to the wedding feast.
- The only difference is that one had the wedding garment on and the other didn’t.
What does this wedding garment represent?
- Revelation 19:8
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
- That garment represents the righteousness of the saints. And it’s not just any garment. It’s not anything that we can bring from our own house by ourselves to this wedding feast. How do I know?
- Romans 3:10
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.
- The Bible says that there is none righteous. Not a single one of us is righteous. Why? Because all of us have sinned and come short of God’s glory. That’s the same chapter but 13 verses later in Romans 3:23.
- This means that this man who wasn’t wearing any wedding garment, was not at fault because he was too poor to buy one or make one. He wasn’t at fault because he didn’t have any nice clothing at home to wear to this wedding feast. What was his fault? Let’s have a look at another text on righteousness.
- 1 John 2:1
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
- The wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ. We are not capable of being righteous on our own. Jesus must be the One who gives us His righteousness.
- He was the only One that lived that perfect life. He was the only One that never sinned. That’s why He could die on the cross for each and every one of us.
- So how do we get the righteousness of Christ?
- Romans 13:14
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
- If we put on Christ it means that we are putting on His righteousness because He IS RIGHTEOUS!
- Jesus offers that righteousness full and free. We could never earn it. All we can do is accept it. All we can do is put it on!
- Romans 13:14
- So the fault of the man who came to the wedding feast without a wedding garment was that he did not even accept the righteousness of Christ that was full and free to him.
- This means that he was probably offered the wedding garment at the door to the wedding feast but he denied it and just walked in with his own filthy clothes on. It was a free garment but he didn’t want it.
So how do we put on Christ? How can we be covered with the righteousness of Christ today?
- Ephesians 4:20-24
20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
- At the end of this passage in verse 23 we can see clearly that we need to put on the new man, which only God can create in righteousness and true holiness. But how do we do that? Let’s go back to the earlier part of those verses.
- In verse 20 it states that we haven’t learnt about Christ. If we had learnt about Him and been taught about Him from the truth, which is what verse 21 talks about, then the result would be what we find in verse 22 and 23.
- We would put off the former conversation and would be renewed in our minds.
- That word conversation there is not referring to simply what we say. That word conversation in the Greek actually means “manner of life, conduct, behaviour, deportment.”
- Now this is an elementary question. What needs to be changed first, our behaviour or our minds? The answer is obvious right? Of course, our minds!
- The putting on of righteousness is evident in our lives. How we live our life should be different. Our behaviour, our actions, the things we do, and yes even the things we say. It will be obvious to everyone around us that we are different.
- But in order for that change to take place, our minds must be changed first! They must be renewed.
- How? By the truth! We must hear it, we must interact with it, we must have an experience in it!
- Yes, the truth is the word of God, the Bible. And Jesus is also the way, the TRUTH and the life! These two things cannot be separated.
Now coming back to the parable, it means, this person heard the gospel invitation, he came to the wedding feast but he never allowed the truth to change his heart, his mind, and ultimately… his life!
- It’s possible to go to church and yet never have an interaction PERSONALLY with Jesus Christ ourselves. We can get caught up with the forms but not have the truth in our hearts and in our minds.
- And this is evident simply by the way that we live our lives. It’s shown in our behaviour, in our conduct, in our words, that many of us are not interacting with the truth on a consistent basis. We need an experience in the truth that would be consistent enough to CHANGE and TRANSFORM and RENEW our minds.
Look at what the truth does:
- Psalms 119:9-10
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
- Psalms 119:11
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
- Psalms 119:33
Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
- Psalms 119:133
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
- Psalms 119 and the Bible is really full of these types of passages.
- There is nothing you need to do in earning righteousness. All you need to do is read your Bible. Read it enough and it will change you. You got to spend enough time in it though.
- Doesn’t it sound so simple?
- You want a change in life? Read the Bible!
- You want to overcome a bad habit? Read the Bible!
- You want to stop cursing and swearing? Read the Bible!
- Want to be righteous? You know the answer!
Yet the parable ends with these sombre words.
- Matthew 22:14
For many are called, but few are chosen.
Why are so few chosen? It’s not because God doesn’t want to choose us. But we didn’t choose Him. We neglected Him just like how all the people at the beginning of the parable chose to focus on their farms and on their merchandise. We choose the world above God’s word. We are the ones who make that choice at the end.
God already said, the dinner is ready, my oxen and my fatlings are killed. Won’t you come? Won’t you spend time with Me? Righteousness is really so simple. It’s a free gift that God is waiting to give you and me.
Let’s choose time in God’s word and with Jesus over anything on this earth today.