#11 ~ The Royal Invitation to the Kingdom
This lesson was very conversation oriented. I believe it was due to the opening that I used. I started off by reading statistics for the weddings of Prince Charles and Lady Diana (3,500 guests with 750 million watching worldwide), Prince William and Katherine (1,900 guests with up to 100 million watching worldwide), and finally for Prince Harry and Megan (2,640 guests with maybe 60 million watching worldwide). The amounts of money for each of these weddings is more than most of us will ever see in our lifetimes.
Then I said, “Can you imagine the morning of William and Kate’s wedding, and nobody shows up? William and Kate are riding and the streets are empty. No one shows up at the church and there is only one reporter. That one reporter looks at the camera and says, ‘In what appears to be a royal snub by everyone in parliament, all of the government, and basically the entire United Kingdom, no one has shown up today.” Later, that one lone reporter is at the reception where there is so much food; and William and Kate look dwarfed by the size of the hall. There William and Kate sit eating food all by themselves being filmed by one lone reporter as absolutely nobody cares.
The queen is furious. She commands all who boycotted the wedding to be deported to India. Then she sends out the invitation to anyone, the common people, the poor, the disabled, anyone who wants to be best friends with William and Kate, they are now invited to come and eat with them. All they have to do is walk over and they are in the midst of the biggest wedding feast with the best food that you have ever tasted. All they have to do is show up and they are now best friends with royalty.
The point here is that the wedding banquet feast that will be held by the King of kings will make the actual wedding of William and Kate seem so insignificant. This is the banquet to be coveted and held in high esteem. When we get to the parable of the Wedding Banquet, remember that what those people are doing in not showing up is a royal snub to their King.
How would you feel if no one had showed up to your wedding?
Banquet language, especially wedding banquet language, has been used numerous times in relation to the Kingdom of Heaven. Some of those references are Matthew 8:11, 9:15, Luke 15:22-24, John 3:29-31. With this next parable, there is no doubt about it, the Kingdom of Heaven is just like a wedding banquet. This parable is told immediately after the passage that we studied last week. The context is the same. Jesus has entered Jerusalem and is teaching every day at the temple. There is a power struggle between Jesus and the chief priests.
Matthew 22:1-10 ~ The Parable of the Wedding Feast. How long did you prepare for your wedding? How long before the wedding date did you send out the invitations? How much food did you have to prepare? How long do you think the King had been planning this wedding feast? What were some of the expenses for the wedding of the King’s Son? Notice how the main point in this parable is how those who were invited responded to the invitation. What value did they place on the invitation? What point is Jesus making to the chief priests? What do you think about the guests who actually showed up to the wedding banquet? What point is Jesus making about who will get into the Kingdom of Heaven? Note: 40 years after the chief priests rejected Jesus, the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed and a majority of people in Jerusalem were killed.
Matthew 22:11-14 ~ Someone gets thrown out. Why did the King have the man thrown out? What does the wedding garment represent? When people say, “Come as you are,” what do they mean and how does that take into account this passage here? It seems that in this parable, there are only two places you can end up, either in the Kingdom of Heaven feasting with the King and His Son or thrown out into the outer darkness to suffer. Inside the kingdom is light (see Matthew 13:43), while outside the kingdom is dark. Inside the kingdom is feasting, while outside the kingdom is weeping and gnashing of teeth. What is meant by the phrase, “Many are called, but few are chosen?”
Jesus told another version of this parable earlier in His ministry for probably a different purpose. Just before telling that parable, Jesus noticed something that was happening at the feasts and dinners to which He was invited.
Luke 14:7-11 ~ Humility at a Banquet. What is this parable teaching us about self-importance? How are we to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
Luke 14:12-15 ~ Invitations. Jesus directed this parable toward those that had invited Him. Why would Jesus have said this to them? What is meant by the resurrection of the just? Can it be equated with eating bread in the Kingdom of God?
Luke 14:16-24 ~ The Parable of the Great Supper. Jesus tells this parable in response to the exclamation, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” In this parable, it is a certain man hosting a great supper. What are the excuses that those who were invited made? Compare the reaction of the master with his servant with the reaction of the King in the first parable we looked at. What do they have in common and how are they different? How important was this man’s invitation to them?
Taking both parables together, what value should we place on the Kingdom of Heaven? Have you responded to the invitation to this wedding banquet? Does the Kingdom of Heaven come first in your life?
Matthew 22:8-10 ~ The Servants of the King. Do the servants of the King represent us? Is this how we should be sharing the Kingdom of Heaven with others? When we share our faith, is the value we place on the Kingdom of Heaven reflected in our words and actions? Are we enthused to share this invitation with people? If this wedding banquet is the greatest event that will ever happen, how can we prioritize the evangelistic ministries here at Evanston?
Song quote by Keith Green:
Close the doors, they’re just not coming.
We sent the invitations out long, long, long time ago.
We’re still gonna have a wedding feast,
Big enough to beat them all.
The greatest people in the world wouldn’t come
So now we’ll just have to invite the small.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman