11 October 2020Matthew 22:1-14
'For many are called, but few are chosen.' (v. 14)
According to the New Testament theologian Joachim Jeremias, the thing about parables is that they are usually about only one subject and often that is the kingdom. Jesus’ parables are written to encourage people. This means that they are not allegories, in which every aspect of the story can be decoded, nor are they metaphors holding grand meanings in rich language. We could liken the king in the parable to God, or the slaves to prophets, or the ungrateful guests to the religious of the day, but I suggest you try not to. Just enjoy the story without decoding it!
A parable hits you in the tummy just as much as in the brain. So, what do you feel as you read the story? The excitement of the king preparing to celebrate something of joy? The mean-spirited nature of those invited? The disappointment, sadness and the hurt of the king when he is rejected? Perhaps you share the anger and frustration expressed in the “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. For Jesus the promise of the kingdom is something that evokes such joy and happiness. Like a family wedding, it is something to look forward to and prepare for with great anticipation. How sad that people aren’t interested! How depressing that far from welcoming this wonderful occasion the response is only apathy, rejection and violence. Notice also those that are subsequently invited respond with joy and suitable clothes for the occasion; here is the encouragement in the story.
This party is for anyone who would enjoy it, who will get just how wonderful the day will be.
- What excites you, delights you, and fills you with joy about the promise of the new order of Jesus?
- On the other hand, where has the invitation to this new way of being, felt only dull, dutiful and difficult?
- Ask God to rekindle your first love and excite you with the new possibilities.