The Great Banquet
1Once again Jesus used stories to teach the people:
2The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a king gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3The king sent some servants to tell the invited guests to come to the banquet, but the guests refused. 4He sent other servants to say to the guests, “The banquet is ready! My cattle and prize calves have all been prepared. Everything is ready. Come to the banquet!”
5But the guests did not pay any attention. Some of them left for their farms, and some went to their places of business. 6Others grabbed the servants, then beat them up and killed them.
7This made the king so furious that he sent an army to kill those murderers and burn down their city. 8Then he said to the servants, “It is time for the wedding banquet, and the invited guests don't deserve to come. 9Go out to the street corners and tell everyone you meet to come to the banquet.” 10They went out on the streets and brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike. And the banquet room was filled with guests.
11When the king went in to meet the guests, he found that one of them wasn't wearing the right kind of clothes for the wedding. 12The king asked, “Friend, why didn't you wear proper clothes for the wedding?” But the guest had no excuse. 13 So the king gave orders for this person to be tied hand and foot and to be thrown outside into the dark. That's where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. 14 Many are invited, but only a few are chosen.
God desires relationship with mankind. Jesus’ parable about the wedding feast illustrates this spiritual truth.
The nation of Israel comprised the initial guest list. The king – God – sent messengers to deliver the invitation to the banquet, but the Jews ignored the request to come. Complacency or daily responsibilities consumed some. Hatred for the messengers consumed others.
The Jews’ “couldn’t care less” response infuriated the king. He retaliated by sending his armies to punish them. He then extended the invitation far and wide to the Gentiles; “Come – the wedding is ready. Come – be my guest. Join the celebration I’ve prepared for you.”
God’s invitation to relationship with him remains today. Unfortunately, so does the failure to accept it. Some people hear and reply, “I don’t need God. Religion’s only a crutch for weaklings.” Others say, “I’ve seen too many so-called Christians prove to be hypocrites. I don’t want to be like them.”
Many reject the invitation because they’re too busy. “No time to think about this now,” they say. “I’ll deal with it later.” Some persecute or kill the messengers.
Jesus’ parable reveals that destruction awaits those who reject God’s invitation. It also reveals that not all guests who slip into the banqueting hall belong there. They may claim to have placed their faith in Christ, and they might even fool other believers. But God knows those who are truly clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Only those who trust in Jesus alone for salvation – not in heritage, good deeds, or reputation – does he allow to spend eternity in his presence.
God wants relationship with us. Let’s not allow busyness, self-absorption, or religious activity to hinder us from accepting his invitation. Let’s make intimacy with him a priority, and let’s ensure that others receive the invitation so they can be part of God’s kingdom, too.
Dear Father God, thank you for loving me enough to extend the invitation of eternal salvation through your holy son, Jesus Christ. Grant me the courage to pass the invitation to others so they might have opportunity to say yes, too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.