Sunday 12 October 2014

Bible Book:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.” (vv. 2-3)

Matthew 22:1-14 Sunday 12 October 2014


What a fuss there is about weddings. Yes, it is an important dayfor all concerned, but many, including the bride and groom, maybegin to wonder whether it would have been simpler to haveeloped.

Look at the consequences of this wedding feast. Not onlydid the guests refuse to come, but the father of the groom wreakedvengeance on them for not doing so. Then he sent his servants outto bring in anyone from the streets, poor but honest, orundeserving and bad. It didn't matter, as long as his room wasfilled and his food eaten.

But that wasn't the end. One poor guest wasn't dressedproperly (verse 11) - how could he be if he'd just been dragged infrom the street - yet the angry father had him tied up and thrownback into the street again. Rough justice?

Local customs may explain some of the chaos. Guests wouldbe invited in advance to a special occasion, but the time would notbe specified. Only when the food was ready would the servants besent out to bring in the invited guests. It was extremelydiscourteous to refuse that invitation even if your ongoingbusiness provided an excuse.

To understand the story fully, we must remember that it isone of a series of parables in Matthew's Gospel set in the time ofHoly Week, after the incident when Jesus angrily cleared the templecourt of traders (Matthew 21:12-17) and while the Jewish leaderswere plotting for his arrest (Matthew 21:45-46). Those Jews had been chosenby God, but were now rejecting the invitation to meet with theirMessiah. In their place, everyone else was welcomed to join thecelebration. The destruction of the invited guests was probablyadded to the original parable, which was written down around AD80-90 after Jerusalem had been destroyed in AD 70, and to make thepoint of many Jews' rejection of Jesus.

And the guest who wasn't ready, even if the invitation wasunexpected? It may seem harsh, but this isn't the only warningabout always being prepared to meet with God (eg Matthew 25:1-13).

To Ponder

  • How do you rationalise the difference between a reason and anexcuse?
  • How would you translate the imagery in this story into asituation today?
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