Study 9 THE WEDDING BANQUET
TEN OF OUR LORD’S PARABLES
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: Matthew 22:1-14
This parable is packed with vital teaching, and it would be helpful to read it through several times before starting a detailed study of its many lessons. Consider the following suggested interpretation:-
- (1) The king (verse 2) is God the Father.
- (2) The son (verse 2) is our Lord Jesus Christ.
- (3) The servants (verse 3) who were sent are the Prophets, John the Baptist and the Apostles.
- (4) The invited ones who refused to come (verse 3) are the Jews, who would not recognise Christ as their Messiah.
- (5) The other servants (verse 4) are the Apostles who went out after Pentecost. Compare Acts 3:12-26.
- (6) The banquet is God’s provision, in the death of His Son, for hungry, perishing souls.
- (7) The city that was burned (verse 7) is Jerusalem, which was destroyed by Titus in AD 70.
- (8) The wedding banquet which is ready (verses 8 and 10) is the calling out and completion of the Church.
- (9) The command to go to the street corners (verse 9) is the universal invitation of the Gospel.
- (10) The king coming in to see the guests (verse 11) is the Second Coming of Christ.
- (11) The man who was not wearing wedding clothes, who was speechless (verses 11-12), is the unbeliever, the professing Christian.
- (12) The solemn words of the king (verse 13) describe the fearful condition and destiny of those who reject the Saviour.
Notice the following important lessons that emerge from this parable:-
1. The provision God has made for us is loving and adequate.
It is hard to get men and women to believe that the Gospel is good news; most think it is bad news. In this parable, however, we learn that God has made a marriage (verse 2), that He has planned a wedding (verse 3), and that He has prepared a wonderful banquet (verse 4)! Surely all this speaks of a most wonderful provision that is now ready; and because a marriage and a banquet are times of rejoicing, we know that the Gospel is not bad news but good and joyful. It is because the Devil has blinded men’s eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4) that they feel to accept God’s offer of provision would impose an intolerable burden! Look up John 3:16; Romans 5:8; compare Matthew 11:28.
2. The invitation that God sends out is often repeated and is insistent.
Because He loves men and women so much, He does not invite them once, or even twice, but frequently, persistently. In this parable we read that He sent out His servants to “tell” them (verse 3); and when they did not respond, he sent more servants to “tell” (verse 4); when this invitation still met with a refusal, He commissioned still others to go out and invite His guests (verses 9-10). How many times He calls, and how patient He is with those He loves and wants! He calls through the preacher, through circumstances, through His Word and through His Spirit (Hebrews 3:7; compare Revelation 22:17)! Be sure to notice the solemn warning in Genesis 6:3.
3. The attitude that men and women adopt towards God’s invitation is very ungrateful and unreasonable.
We read that those invited to enjoy the king’s provision refused (verse 3); they “paid no attention” (verse 5); they “seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them” (verse 6). This shows the hardness of the human heart, the deceitfulness of sin, the folly of unregenerate man! This is exactly how men and women treat the Gospel invitation, and the person who gives it, today! What more could God have done than to sacrifice His Son, who died willingly on the Cross to bear away the sin of the world (John 1:29)? - yet the attitude of men and women is ungrateful and unreasonable. Look up John 5:40.
4. The folly shown by men and women when they think God will accept them on the ground of their good character.
We read of a man who accepted the king’s invitation but he “refused” to wear the wedding garment provided by the king. (It was the custom in the East for the host to provide each of the guests with a garment). The man had been offered one but had refused it, presumably because he thought he was smart enough! The wedding garment speaks to us of the righteousness of God which is offered to us in Christ Jesus, and which is upon all who believe (Romans 3:22). “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), but when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our own Saviour, then God imputes His righteousness to us (Romans 4:6), reckoning Christ’s righteousness as ours (1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:9). It is folly for anyone to try to establish his own righteousness; the only way to be accepted by God is to submit to His righteousness (Romans 10:3-4) - to His way, the only way of being saved.
5. The punishment that those who reject God’s invitation incur is a just and a terrible punishment.
Here again we are faced with the solemn fact of judgment (verses 7 and 13). It was ‘just’ for the king to punish the murderers described in verse 6, and He solemnly warns all who deliberately and finally reject His love and mercy, and His provision of salvation in Christ, that they too will be punished (verse 13), banished from His presence (Revelation 20:13-15). Look up Genesis 18:25.
Have you responded to God’s invitation in the Gospel (Matthew 11:28)? - and are you trusting in the Person and the finished work of Christ?