I am preaching this week on Matthew 22:1-14, a passage where Jesus is using a parable to describe the Kingdom of Heaven…We have to remember that the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus is talking about is now/but not yet…we participate in the Kingdom now and yet the Kingdom will one day be fully revealed when God restores creation.
Back to the parable…It’s the story of a King who is throwing a wedding banquet for his son. Weddings back then were week long affairs. When you are invited to a Royal Wedding, you did not refuse the invitation. Yet this is what is happening in verse 3 of chapter 22. Not only do the invitees refuse, but when the King sents out his servants to let the prospective guest know the feast was ready, many said they couldn’t come because they had to tend to the farm or take care of other business (this may be the Biblical equivilent to washing one’s hair when asked out on a date). Some go even further by killing the king’s servant. Those who refuse the king’s invitation faced judgement.
So what does the king do? He invites “anyone you find”. The servants gather anyone they could; the “bad with the good.” The wedding hall was full.
One of the things that a King would do for his wedding guest would be to provide the proper clothes. Since many of these people couldn’t afford respectable/clean/proper clothes for the banquet, the King would make sure they were properly outfitted. Yet in the scripture account (vs. 11), we find that one does not have the proper clothes on. This man also faces judgement for refusing the kings grace.
This parable about the Kingdom of Heaven highlights our response to God. The final line of the passage says, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
-The invitees at the beginning of the account are those who outright refuse God’s invitation of grace, mercy, and love.
-The man with the improper clothing is someone, like Judas, who responded initially, yet failed to fully get on-board with the revolution that Christ was bringing. These are people who live a life of cheap-grace (as Bonhoeffer wrote), or fail to honor God.
So the ones who crash the party, who are apart of the Kingdom of Heaven are the sinners, the sick, the lowly who respond realizing our helplessness and clinging onto the grace that God invites us to experience. How are you responding to God today?