Jesus is in Jerusalem, and he is preaching before a mixed crowd; before Jesus are friends and foes. Some are hanging on every word, and some wish to hang him for his words. So, wishing to reveal truth to some while hiding the truth from others, Jesus again spoke to them in parables. This is what he said:
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.’ 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. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 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.’ For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:1-14)
In this parable we see the passion of the king. He is intent on praising himself, promoting his son, and pleasing his guests.
We also see the grace of the king. He is interested in blessing men who deserve not his bounty. He even shows himself as being passionate to bless men who have already rejected his gracious invite.
The anger of the king is also presented. Those who are called and will not come, and those who come without the proper attire are destroyed, burned, bound, cast out, and are left weeping and shaking in distress.
So how did the Jewish community respond to Jesus? They rejected him as their Teacher, Savior, and King. They refused to bow the knee and kiss the Son. And as a result, the kingdom was taken from them and given to another. Oh, the banquet will still be held and the hall will be full, but the guest list will be quite different than expected.
Therefore friends, how ought we respond to the words of Jesus?
Let us consider our options. There is heaven and there is hell. There is celebration and there is crying.
Let us hear the invitation of the King and respond positively to his RSVP. However election and predestination work in the economy of God, worry not about it right now. He is inviting men to attend, and all who say “yes” will be granted entrance. However, let us recognize the one requirement — acceptable guests must be dressed in the proper attire. Man’s normal clothing will not suffice, for it is stained by sin and highly offensive to the King. Instead, one must be re-dressed in the robe of righteousness provided by Christ, and the good news is this is free as well. One only has to hear the Gospel message regarding Christ’s coming, living, dying, and being raised again. One has to understand that his death was a sacrificial work of love providing righteousness for those who lacked it. And to receive the necessary spiritual attire, one must repent of his sin, confess his trust in the work of Christ on his behalf, and rest under the authority of his new Lord.
Let us be heralds of the King and seek to invite other unworthy subjects. On behalf of the King, let us go out into the highways and byways and bring them in. Let’s please the Father and the Son and profit our neighbors. The banquet hall is huge, and it is not yet filled.
Finally, until the day when we are physically eating and drinking in paradise with the King and his Son, let us be found banqueting in the King’s house on earth. On behalf of the King, you are invited to attend. Will you be there? Come, and if you have not the proper attire, it will be available for you this Lord’s Day morning.