The Kingdom of Heaven is Like a King Preparing a Banquet

Matthew 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went off– one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

This is our final parable in the Kingdom of Heaven series. 

Warning: it’s not pleasant or easy to understand.

No, this one is about the aspect of God few people really want to acknowledge:

God’s right to be obeyed and His wrath upon those who refuse to do so.

This parable teaches that there will be no mere slap on the wrist or opportunity for a do-over, as God the coach encourages, “Keep going!  You can do it!”  No, the invitation is issued.  Responses are made:

  • Ho-hum, I’ll think about it while I go to the office and do important work, or head to my field to examine the fruits of my own efforts and count the money that will be flowing in once I harvest.
  • Invitation?  Ha!  You came to the wrong person.  King?  What king?  I’ll show you who is king!

If God had allowed do-overs at that final moment, would their responses have been the same?  I wish they’d be different responses, but Scripture asserts otherwise.  Arrogance says that people who refuse to acknowledge God’s right to be obeyed won’t obey even if a do-over is possible.  They’ll find excuses not to believe because they don’t want to obey (Luke 16:19-31).

That is why God is justified in what He does with unrepentant hearts. The army God sends (because in this parable God Himself is the King and Jesus is the Bridegroom coming for His Bride)—the army is comprised of the angels of wrath.  The destroying angels at the last day (Revelation chapters 7-11) will execute God’s judgment on those who refused to obey, to believe in God’s gracious provision out of His holiness and mercy.

The good and bad (the full spectrum of everyone who repents) are given wedding clothes to wear (that is, the fine linen of righteousness).  But one guest tries to sneak in with his own clothes that are not clean, righteous, or holy.  Just as on Judgment Day, only those made clean by obedience to God’s Messiah will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Those who tried to clean up their own acts by philanthropy or random acts of kindness, but whose hearts refused to obey God, will be seen by the King as without wedding clothes.

Jesus tells this parable as the last of the Kingdom of Heaven parables for a reason.  He is headed to the Cross where He will die for human sin.  It’s God greatest demonstration of love and affirmation of why we ought to obey Him.  Jesus is the Bridegroom and He wants you to repent and come to His wedding banquet, wearing the full righteousness and holiness that His death made possible.

The serious tone of this parable stresses the importance of today’s invitation.   Don’t wait for a do-over.  Respond with faith and obedience to this Kingdom invitation.

kingdom of heaven is like a king preparing a banquet

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on July 19, 2013

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