May 23 - Wedding Banquet

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Matthew 22:1-14

A king’s son was getting married and to celebrate, he threw an immense banquet; inviting everyone they knew. The servants went out to bring people in, but those who were invited wouldn't come, so he sent out other servants and said, “Look. I've got this amazing dinner and everything is reading.  Come celebrate with us,” but people ignored him and went about doing their own thing. Others went so far as to kill the servants.  Well, the king was furious and sent out the troops to destroy the murderers. Afterwards, he sent the servants back out to the main roads to bring in as many as they could find … both bad and good people and the hall was filled with guests.

However, when the king entered the hall, he saw a man who had refused to wear a wedding garment. That man was taken out, bound and cast into darkness … where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus ended the story by saying, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

This is another look at Jesus’ teaching to the Pharisees.  They knew what he was telling them and it made them angry.  They didn't want to hear that they might be the wedding guests who were too busy for God’s son.  They simply couldn't imagine that God would look elsewhere to find people who would be obedient to him.

Because of the covenant relationship they had with God, they were pretty certain they could get away with doing whatever they liked and he would always bail them out; even if it took hundreds of years. They were also not ready to hear that this simple man from Galilee might be the Messiah. Surely, if God wanted to get their attention, he would send someone who was powerful and charismatic.

Most people who lead groups understand that power and charisma might not come from being loud and showy. Some of the best leaders are those whose voices get quieter as the insanity in the room grows and whose charisma shines, not when they will get a great amount of attention, but when people are truly listening to the heart of what they are saying.

Jesus was that leader and he knew that there would be no way to get through to the Pharisees; the leaders of the Jews. They didn't want to hear him; they didn't want to acknowledge the truth of who he was. So, he simply told them where their behavior would lead them … to the outer darkness where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And as for the last poor guy who wasn't wearing a wedding garment?  Why in the world would you come to a wedding feast for someone and refuse to respond correctly? Matthew’s reference here is to those who proclaim to follow Jesus, yet still want to live in sin.  It is obvious to everyone that they don’t mean it … in this case, the man wore street clothes. He looked and acted differently than everyone else at the feast and he was surprised to have been caught.

All have been called to the wedding feast; few are chosen.