Matthew 22:1-7 ESV
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
I am not going to cover all the historical aspects of this passage of Scripture, but I am going to look primarily at how this can be applied to our lives today. This is a parable that Jesus told, and so it is symbolic in nature. The King is God the Father and his Son is Jesus Christ. And the servants are those who give out his messages and who do what he says to do.
Historically, those invited to the wedding feast were the Jews, God’s chosen people at that time. And the wedding is the wedding of the bride of Christ (those following Jesus with their lives) to their husband, Jesus Christ, which won’t take place until Jesus returns and he takes us to be with him forever, for this parallels over to the Jewish marriage contract and wedding.
Today, we who profess faith in Jesus Christ would be considered the invited, but many who profess faith in Jesus Christ are refusing to come. They are not paying attention to the Lord nor to his messengers and his messages, but they are living their lives the way that they want, doing what they want to do, many still living in slavery to sin, stubbornly refusing to bow to Jesus as Lord, to forsake their sins, and to follow Jesus in obedience.
And the messages being given out would be the gospel of Jesus Christ, the way in which Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught it, not the way it is predominantly being presented today, which is not the true gospel. So, the Lord’s messengers would be those who are talking to people about their sins and who are telling them that Jesus died to free them from their slavery to sin and to give them new lives in him to be lived for his glory.
The messengers are talking to the church and they are telling them that they cannot keep living in sin and not obeying the Lord and yet have eternal life with God and salvation from sin. So, they are calling them to repent of their sins and to follow Jesus in obedience or else know that they will not inherit eternal life with God. But most are not listening. And many are attacking the messengers, instead, and are accusing them falsely.
Matthew 22:8-10 ESV
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
This reminds me of Romans 1. It says there that God made himself known to all people through his created works. “His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. For although they had knowledge of God they did not honor him as God.
So, God gave them up to dishonorable passions. He gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, which is what many church-going people are doing today when they follow humans and their flesh over God and his word.
Now, this is not an exact parallel to the parable because the gospel has been spread to all people since Jesus died and rose again. And we are always to be taking the gospel to the world around us.
But I can give an example of how this might be applied today from my own life. For, the church kept rejecting me, too, because so much of the church had become worldly, and they had altered the gospel to make it more acceptable to the world and to human flesh. And so the Lord removed me from the institutional church and he put me out on the internet to share the messages that he was giving me to share.
And I have been able to reach so many more people, people from many nations all over the world, with the gospel of Jesus Christ and with the teachings from his word on holiness, godliness, faithfulness, submission, honesty, obedience, and the forsaking of our sins in order to now walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. So, in essence, God allowed the rejection of his messages so that they would go to the world.
Matthew 22:11-14 ESV
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
A garment is something we wear, that we put on, and the Scriptures teach that we are to put off sins such as lying, adultery, fornication, cheating, stealing, gossiping, slandering, hating, sexual immorality, idolatry, and pride, etc. And we are to put on righteousness, holiness, honesty, godliness, love, kindness, faithfulness, and moral purity, etc.
So the wedding garment is that of righteousness and holiness that we apply to our daily lives. We walk in them in the power of God by his Spirit.
A man could represent anyone or he could represent the flesh of man which refuses to be dressed in righteousness and holiness. And so he evades and avoids having to surrender to the Lord Jesus and to tell the truth about his wicked deeds and to yield control of his life over to the Lord and to forsake his sinful practices. And so he escapes into a fantasy world in order to avoid confrontations about his sinful lifestyle and calls to repentance.
But this man showed up for the wedding banquet, so he assumed he would be let inside and that he was going to participate. And so this represents someone who has made a profession of faith in Jesus, who believes his sins are forgiven, and that heaven is his eternal destiny. Yet, he conceals his sins deep inside, and he continues to live in wickedness, impurity, in moral filth, and in stubborn rebellion and willful defiance to the Lord and his commands.
And he remains imprisoned to sin, opposing righteousness and holiness, forsaking the right way to follow after the ways of the flesh and of the world while convinced that his sins are forgiven and that heaven is still his eternal destiny. Yet, he stubbornly refuses to listen to the truth and to obey it.
But it will not end well for him. He will not have the eternal life he had been promised by liars and deceivers. But he will go to eternal punishment for refusing to submit to Jesus as Lord, and to repent of his sins, and to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
All I Ask of You
by Andrew Lloyd Webber
No more talk of darkness,
Forget these wide-eyed fears;
I’m here, nothing can harm you,
My words will warm and calm you.
Let me be your freedom,
Let daylight dry your tears;
I’m here, with you, beside you,
To guard you and to guide you.
Let me be your shelter,
Let me be your light…
Love me, that’s all I ask of you
The above lyrics are taken from a secular song, “All I Ask of You,” but these quoted lyrics express God’s words to us, that we would let him be our freedom, that we would let him shelter us and be our light, and that we would find our hope, and our peace and safety in him and not in the things of this dark world. All he asks of us is that we love him, which means we submit to him as Lord, and we obey his commands (1 Jn 2:3-6).