From today’s reading of Matthew 22, Mark 12
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. 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.
“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.” – Matthew 22:1-14 (ESV)
The Kingdom of Heaven as Jesus describes it is counter-intuitive. Where we expect a boot-camp, the invitation is to a wedding feast. Where we expect the best and the brightest, Jesus here and in many other places affirms that many of the guests are the worst and the darkest.
The Lord has prepared the feast. He has addressed and sent the invitations. The best and the brightest have too many other things vying for their attention, so they react with either indifference or hostility; Indifference because our own well-integrated, ordered lives running on our schedule and toward our own goals are shiny and alluring enough to capture and keep our attention. The wedding of the Son of a King that we don’t really know rates low on that priority list.
Hostility for much the same reason. He is infringing . . .
And he will infringe. He is God! This is his right. The parable recounts the destruction of the city of those who had ignored him and had attacked and killed his servants, clearly implicating the people of the King, Israel, with a history of repeated apostasy, destruction, exile and restoration. The phrasing is harsh because what’s at stake is so incredibly valuable. All of history is progressing toward the wedding feast of the Son of the King. It will usher in the age of ages, the eternal reign of Jesus in which he makes all things new, forever.
Why would anyone run from this invitation? Yet we do. I know this past week in particular I have, in multiple ways, been ducking God. I don’t even know why. I have been invited to the wedding feast of the One who is infinitely valuable. There is another one who opposes this, and in combination with my flesh he will attempt to slow, redirect, or cripple my walk. He will attempt to distract me from my true life’s calling, which is preparation for the feast, inviting others to it, and learning to wear well the wedding garments of righteousness that Jesus has so graciously given me.
Lord, I need you.