Rev. Dr. Niveen Sarras The Parable of the Wedding Feast Matthew 22 October 11, 2020
A wedding is a joyful event. Families and relatives and friends come to celebrate a milestone event in the bride and groom's life. Wedding preparations can take months. Imagine a royal wedding with all its lavish and elegant decor and food. People feel honored to receive an invitation to a wedding and feel even more honored and excited to be invited to a royal wedding. We had a wedding yesterday in our church; all the guests were honored and excited to attend the wedding. But there is always a fascination with the royal wedding.
The Bible tells us about the royal wedding that will top all weddings—the union of Jesus Christ and his bride, the church. There will also be a heavenly feast—the marriage feast of the lamb. We are no longer spectators because God invites you and me and all nations to attend this royal wedding. The parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22 reveals the nature of the King's invitation.
In biblical times, the wedding was an opportunity for families, friends, and all the village to set aside all their work for a few days to celebrate and enjoy the marriage banquet. The king sent messengers to invite people to his son's wedding, but they refused to come and ignored the invitation to be busy with their lives. Others mistreated the messengers and had some of them killed. "The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city" (v.7).
This parable is disturbing because the evangelist Matthew presents God as ruthless and violent. The parables of Jesus should not be taken literally. "Parable is a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth and religious principle." This parable describes the salvation history metaphorically. God sent over and over prophets to the Israelites, inviting them to return to God and follow the law, but they killed and tortured the prophets. According to Exodus 32 and Psalm 106, The Israelites worshiped the molten image of gold bull-calf instead of God. God punished the Israelites by sending the Assyrians and the Babylonians to destroy their city and temple and take them to exile. Later, God sent the Romans to destroy the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Because the Jews refused God's invitation, God extends the messianic wedding invitation to include the Gentiles. This invitation is described in verses 9 and 10
"Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.' 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests."
Now the church consists of the Jews and the Gentiles.
The person who attended the wedding banquet without wearing the wedding garment (v.10) does not represent a poor group or an innocent person but a man who presents an incomplete conversion.
The man without the wedding garment had neither ignored nor refused the invitation to the feast. But his yes to the call of God was not carried through in his life. He wanted the good things of the Kingdom, but not enough to break with his sinful ways and live as a committed disciple.
Through this parable, Jesus tells the leaders of the Jews that following him means accepting God's invitation because he is the Son of God. Following Jesus and joining his Kingdom requires a full conversion without making excuses to continue to be busy with our world. We cannot have one foot in the world and the other in God's Kingdom. God wants your mind, soul, and body to be dedicated to the Lord.
We are attracted to the worldly things that we enjoy. Earthly life distracts us from the real joy that only Christ can give to his followers. True Christians live for the Lord without compromising their faith. Jesus looks for followers to follow him whatever it takes. When we fall short of God's glorious standard and earnestly repent, God will help you to stand on your feet again. The prophet Micah says,
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me. 7:8
Total commitment to the Lord means that Jesus Christ is Lord in every area of our lives. When you commit yourself to Christ and wear the wedding garment, the garment of your baptism, you are opening yourself to God's grace to touch your life. This grace helps you to respond generously to God's invitation. Only through God's grace, your heart and mind will be transformed to continue to follow Christ no matter how the world is inviting you to do otherwise.
 Mitch, Curtis. Gospel of Matthew, The (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture) (p. 281). Baker Academic. Kindle Edition.
 Mitch, Curtis. Gospel of Matthew, The (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture) (p. 284). Baker Academic. Kindle Edition.