The Parable of the Marriage of the King’s Son
By Rev. Dr. Sergio Arevalo, Jr.
October 12, 2014 (18th Sunday after Pentecost, Columbus Day)
How many of you already attended a wedding ceremony and reception? Did you encounter a persistent inviter for their wedding? Did you experience an invitation saying that just attend and they will buy you wedding clothes?
Our passage for today is about wedding and invitation.
Jesus Christ used again a parable to teach his audience. We can find its title in Matthew 22:1-2, “The kingdom from heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.”
I. The King Invites Guests for the Wedding of His Son
Mat 22:3-7 says, “He sent his servants to call those who had been invited to the wedding, but they refused to come. So he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look, I’ve prepared my dinner. My oxen and fattened calves have been slaughtered. Everything is ready. Come to the wedding!”‘ But they paid no attention to this and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest grabbed the king’s servants, treated them brutally, and then killed them. Then the king became outraged. He sent his troops, and they destroyed those murderers and burned their city.”
The king invited three times his prospective guests, but they refused his invitations. He even taught his servants to tell that he spent a lot of money for their dinner: oxen and fattened calves slaughtered for their dinner. Everything was ready! That event was not just simple dinner, it was actually a wedding feast! Some prospective guests paid no attention, some people gave priority to work in their farms, and some of them gave priority to their businesses. Some prospective guests brutally harmed and killed the king’s servants, so the king became mad. So he sent his troops and punished the murderers and burned their community. The wedding feast was also a time for vengeance!
Some Bible interpreters believe that the prospective guests here were the Jews, and the wedding feast was actually the Kingship of God. The king invited them to join the kingdom, but they refused. They even killed some messenger prophets. Commentators say that the vengeance was in 70 AD when the second temple and Jerusalem were destroyed during the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in 66 AD (wikipedia.org).
Last Sunday I narrated those prophets killed by the Israelites:
(1) Manasseh the son of Hezekiah slew Isaiah with a wooden saw;
(2) The priest of Bethel tortured Amos and afterwards slew him.
(3) Micah was slain by Joram the son of Ahab. This prophet prophesied concerning the destruction of the temple of the Jews, and the abrogation of the Passover on the death of the Messiah.
(4) The prophet Habakkuk prophesied concerning the Messiah, that He should come, and abrogate the laws of the Jews. The Jews stoned him in Jerusalem.
(5) The Jews stoned Jeremiah for rebuking them for worshipping idols.
(6) The chief of the Jews who was in the land of the Chaldeans slew Ezekiel, because he rebuked him for worshipping idols.
(7) Joash the king slew the prophet Zechariah between the steps and the altar, and sprinkled his blood upon the horns of the altar, and the priests buried him (sacred-texts.com).
(8) John the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod.
Not all prophets were killed by the Jews, but most of them, if not all of them were persecuted.
II. The King Commands His Servants to Invite All People They Meet in the Roads
Mat 22:8-10 says, “Then he told his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. So go into the roads leading out of town and invite as many people as you can find to the wedding.’ Those servants went out into the streets and brought in everyone they found, evil and good alike, and the wedding hall was packed with guests.”
The Jews refused the kingship of God during the time of the Messiah, so his messengers went into streets and houses to share the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Most of the time, Jesus and his disciples preached outside the synagogues and temples.
The lesson that we can get in this passage is that if church people refuse to join in the kingship of God, let us go into the streets and share the gospel. We should use any tools to preach the gospel to them. Messengers are risk takers. How many prophets, evangelists, pastors and Christians who died in preaching the gospel? Remember we are the servants of the king and he commanded us to invite people for his kingdom.
III.The King Throws Out a Guest Not Wearing Wedding Clothes
Mat 22:11-14 says, “When the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was speechless. Then the king told his servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet, and throw him into the darkness outside!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, because many are invited, but few are chosen.”
You might say, the king was so cruel since he just found out that his guest had no wedding clothes, and here he commanded his servants to tie the guest’s hands and feet, and throw him into the darkness outside the kingdom!
It is said to have been an Oriental custom to present each guest invited to a royal feast with a festive robe to be worn on the occasion, as nowadays persons admitted to the royal presence are clothed with a caftan. Traces of the custom have been found in Gen. 45:22; Jdg. 14:12; 2Ki.5:22; 2Ki.10:22; but some commentators say they are not very convincing. The Romans seem to have had such a custom, the robes being called “cenatoria” (The Pulpit Commentary).
The wedding garment here symbolizes the grace of God and the righteousness imputed to invited guests. All invited guests were provided with wedding clothes and it symbolizes the grace of God.
Wearing the wedding clothes mean they are wearing the righteousness of God. The metaphor concerning this robe of righteousness is found in Isa. 61:10, “I will heartily rejoice in the Lord, my soul will delight in my God; for he has wrapped me in garments of salvation; he has arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, just like a bridegroom, like a priest with a garland, and like a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
We, Christians, are saved through the grace of God, and we must always wear the robe of righteousness so that we could join in the wedding feast of the King’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize.
When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award–yet receives such a gift anyway–that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God (sermonillustrations.com).
Being invited in the Kingdom is a grace of God—it’s unmerited favor of God. Although we are not entitled to enter the kingdom, we cannot earn to get in the kingdom, no award can bring us to the kingdom, and yet we are in the kingdom because of God’s. One thing we should do to stay in the wedding, wear always the robe of righteousness. Do you wear it right now?