The wedding — Matthew 22:1–14

The King’s judgements

Jesus cleared the temple and the chief priests, who ran the temple, did not like this, so on Jesus’ next visit they ask Jesus where his authority to do this came from. Instead of giving a direct answer Jesus tells three parables against them — in the first, the parable of the two sons, Jesus tells them that they, the religious leaders, have rejected the Father. In the second, the parable of the vinyard, Jesus says they have rejected God’s Son. This is the third one:

A bride amongst flowers.
Free Image from PxHere.

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22::1-14 ESVUK

They rejected God the Holy Spirit

The third parable about a father and a son.

In the first a son tells his father he will work in his vineyard, but does not go
In the second a father sends his son to collect rent from his tenants, but the tenants kill the son.
In the third the son is getting married, but guests make excuses.

Everyone is invited

Imagine being the father in this situation. The room for the wedding breakfast is booked, the catering is paid for and there’s no one to fill the venue or eat the food which will go to waste. The people in this story have refused to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, if they had they would have recognised who Jesus was and is. So God invites everybody.

Everyone being invited is a main theme in the teaching of Jesus:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” (John 4:14)
“Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37)
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:38)

Everyone is invited, and all who come are promised the Holy Spirit, the ‘living water’ in the last two quotes above. The original guests turned down the invitation from the father (the king in the story) to the wedding of his son. Whoever rejects one member of the godhead rejects the others as well.

The badly dressed guest

Some Christians say that we should be filled with the Holy Spirit from the inside, they are right, but that is not half of what the Bible teaches. When the Holy Spirit is compared to water it is in three ways: as water to be drunk, as a source of water within us and as something that covers us externally. The last of these comes in two ways, as baptism in the Holy Spirit which literally means being immersed in the Holy Spirit and as being clothed with the Holy Spirit, a concept that goes back to Isaiah 61:3, “To give them … the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.”

The context of this parable is Jesus being asked by the chief priests where he got the authority for cleansing the temple from. Jesus here attacks their authority by likening them to a gatecrasher. They have not been clothed by God, so by sneaking back in they have no place at the wedding banquet of God’s Son. The chief priests would have known that Jesus is here telling them that they have no authority from God.

All are invited, but those who reject God condemn themselves. Fortunately, God is patient and gives us chance after chance to come to him. Have you come to God yet? Or have you turned away from God? In either case, there is still time to come. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is waiting for you.

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