Monday, June 20, 2016

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Once, during my first year of teaching, I was invited to be an usher for the wedding of some close friends. Having missed the rehearsal dinner due to a marching band performance, I had not yet received my tuxedo. On the big day, I was the last member of the wedding party to arrive, due to teaching all day and the necessity of a shower. Upon my arrival, the host immediately greeted me, spoke to me as a friend and showed me to a room to change where a tuxedo complete with bowtie and shiny shoes awaited. There was a gift, a place and food already prepared for me, all that remained was for me to put on the clothes and take part in the celebration... 

In Matthew 22, Jesus teaches the Parable of the Wedding Feast, using powerful symbolism to present important spiritual truths. I have highlighted 3 important Truths we can learn from this parable. If you are unfamiliar with the text, I suggest reading it first. 


Objective: 

It is my goal that each reader can grasp the importance of accepting Jesus' invitation and feel empowered to extend that invitation to others by understanding 3 spiritual truths contained in this parable.

Truth #1: The Host Has Provided The Wedding Clothes

The wedding invitation represents being invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the great celebration when Jesus will be united with His bride, the church. People of every tongue, tribe, nation and language are invited. This is repesented by the host sending out his servants to the main crossroads of the great city, as people from all over the world came through Jerusalem, where Jesus was teaching as he delivered this parable. Putting on the wedding clothes represents salvation, being clothed in righteousness. Just as I needed to put on the proper clothes before participating in my friend's wedding celebration, only those who are clothed with salvation may take part in marriage supper of the Lamb. 

I will rejoice greatly in Adonai. My soul will be joyful in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wraped me in a robe of righteousness--like a bridegroom wearing a priestly turban, like a bride adorning herself with her jewels.  -Isaiah 61:10

Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. She was given fine linen to wear, bright and clean.  -Revelation 19:7-8

Truth #2: Preparations Have Been Made

The host had already killed the fatted calf and prepared the feast, when he sent his servants out to invite everyone to come, just as Jesus has already been sacrificed so that we can have communion with God and He has sent His servants into all the world to proclaim the good news. He has already paid the penalty for our sins and for the those of the whole world. Everyone is invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Preparations have been made. Everything is already paid for and Everyone is invited.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.  -1 John 2:2

He desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth.  -1 Timothy 2:2

The Spirit and the bride say "Come!" Let the one who hears say, "Come," Let the one who is thirsty come--let the one who wishes freely take the water of life!  -Revelation 2:17

Truth #3: RSVP Is Required

Anyone who heard this parable in the first century could have immediately understand that the offer to provide proper wedding attire was included with the wedding invitation and that the man in this parable had refused to put them on. This represents refusing Jesus, refusing to be clothed with salvation. There will be no tuxedo t-shirts at this wedding. No one is sneaking in without the proper clothing and you can't fake it. The host called him "Friend." It wasn't too late for him to respond, but he refused and was destroyed. Each individual must make the choice to respond to God's call. The servants of the host who were mistreated and killed represent the prophets who Israel killed when they refused to listen to them calling the people to repentance. The destruction ordered by the King represents the way that Israel was destroyed because of their refusal to respond appropriately to God's call to repent and this provides a prophetic picture of the ultimate judgement that awaits those who refuse to respond to God's Invitation.

I will consign you to the sword and all of you will bow down to the slaughter. Because I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not listen. You did what was evil in my sight and chose that in which I did not delight"  -Isaiah 65:12

Invitation

We have already read that God desires all people to be saved and to come to know the truth. If you have never accepted God's Invitation, I encourage you to take that step right now. Thank Jesus for the sacrifice He made for you. Ask for forgiveness and invite Him to come into your life, clothe you with salvation and be your friend. Then tell someone about your decision. 

Activation

If you are already a believer, then it is our role to invite others to the wedding feast. Just as the host sent out his servants to invite everyone to the supper, Jesus has sent us to share the good news with the whole world and to invite them to enter into a relationship with Him. Make a list of 5 people you know that you could share Jesus with, or invite to church. List specific activities or events you could invite them to such as a conference. Think of ways to cultivate conversation with them, perhaps over a meal. 




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