- Sermon Notes
Time to Respond
Illus. Who is coming?
Read: Matthew 22:1-14
This parable is about the invitation that God gives to the world, first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. There are other scriptures that speak to the fact that the church is actually called the bride of Christ and that there will be a wedding feast at the end of the age, but this parable is about the invitation to come, to respond to God and the reality that as soon as you understand you have been invited, that is the time to respond.
I. Pursue What the Father Has Prepared
- In that day the wedding banquet, or feast, would involve a weeklong celebration which included a series of meals and festivities. It was the highlight of all social life.
- For a royal wedding, as Jesus depicts here, the celebrations at times lasted even longer. The invited guests might stay at the house of the grooms’ parents, the father would make elaborate preparations.
Illus. Extraordinary Event.
- In Verse 3, we read that the servants were sent to those who “had been invited.”
- In that culture, two invitations would be expected. First, the guests would be asked to attend (save the date), the second, the call to come when all was ready.
- The invitations would go out personally by hand, they would tell people about the plan and these invitees have already accepted the first invitation, the save the date, but now that the preparations are in place, they refuse to go.
- Those before Jesus knew He was talking about them (21:45) as we saw in the end of chapter 21, they were already looking for a way to destroy Him, arrest Him, do something to stop Him, but here another parable and the application to those listening would be clear.
- The King in this parable is God, the Son, Jesus, the initially invited guest where His chosen people, Israel, who had already been called by Him.
- God has first called His chosen people through Abraham, whose descendants would be a channel of blessing to the rest of the world. (Genesis 12:2-3) After being captive in Egypt for 400 years, the chosen people were delivered through Moses. You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth. (Amos 3:2)
- The wedding feast represents God’s promised blessing to Israel, a figure understood by those in the temple in that day.
- The Israelites were invited by God, but now the wedding, where His son, the Savior has come to His people, but those invited first, those standing before Him, are turning down the invitation because they aren’t willing to go. Verse three, they had been invited, “but they refused to come.”
Matthew 11:28, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
John 1:11, He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
- The king’s servants are sent again. They are sent back to those who had been invited. Not only are they sent back, they are sent with something to say.
- This time with a message to share, “everything is ready!” It was time, the preparations were in place!
- Those invited, however, paid no attention, one off to his fields, and another to his business. The rest, seized, mistreated, and killed the servants.
- They were unwilling to go. It did not matter what was there for them, they had other things to attend to.
Jeremiahs 6:16, This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
- In Scripture, we see the word “prepared” and “plans,” in many places.
Ephesians 2:10, We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
1 Corinthians 2:9, What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love Him.
- Let Nothing Hold You Back
- Those invited are unwilling because their lives are centered on their field, their business, or whatever pursuits they found most important that day.
- This is important for us to catch as it comes to the plans God has prepared. When the Lord calls you to come to the place, or the pursuit He has prepared, what your life is about is often revealed in your response.
- They responded with what seemed most important to them, but it was time to respond, and the king was making that clear.
Luke 14:17-20, The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
- And it seems that these excuses are similar to what we here in our day. Oh, the settings might be different, but the excuses much the same.
Illus. What might it be?
Illus. Pardon Me.
- As Jesus gives the parable, we see those who refuse to come, then they give the picture of what is holding them back, others seized the king’s servants, mistreated them, and killed them.
Illus. It’s ready.
Luke 13:34-35, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! Behold, your house is left to you desolate.
- In the previous parable, Jesus asked the question, what would happened to those who beat, stoned, and killed those who came on behalf of the landowner?
- Their response was that they would be destroyed. (Mt. 21:41)
- Here Jesus confirms their previous conclusion, that those who rejected, beat, stoned, and killed the king’s servants would be held to account.
- Jesus’ words here are a prophetic picture of the Jewish leaders’ rejection of Jesus as their Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 which resulted in the dispersion of the Jews throughout the Roman empire and beyond.
- The feast was ready and waiting, but the those invited were not worthy, they did not deserve to come. It is like what we saw in the previous parable where the vineyard was given to “other tenants.”
- The servants were ultimately sent out to all, there was no discrimination on who could come, on who was invited, the call went out to all. To the outcasts and sinners.
Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Matthew 28:19, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
- The call went to the good and the bad. This was a picture of the morally good and morally bad, both were equally unworthy in and of themselves to come to the king’s feast.
- Those invited were not invited based up on their moral or spiritual superiority. In Jesus day, there were those who lived exemplary lifestyles, the were upright, good neighbors, did not lies, cheat, or steal, did not use the Lord’s name in vain. There were also those who were the exact opposite and did all those things.
- But the first was no more acceptable to God than the second. There was only one way they could be acceptable, and it is the same way for you and me today.
John 14:6, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Matthew 22:11-12, “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
- Put on What God Provides
- People came from all over the place, rich, poor, good, bad, small, and tall, and all were in wedding clothes, except one person. So, we see the indication that the king had made provisions for such clothes.
- Why would the king make provisions for the attire of those who arrived?
- If all the guests were bringing out their best, the attention would be on what the guests were wearing. About the haves and the have not, about who sewed the best suit, who secured the best shoes.
- When the king came in to visit with his guests, he saw a man not dressed in wedding clothes and said, “Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” And the man was speechless.
Isaiah 61:10, I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorned herself with her jewels.
- In contrast, our righteousness is like filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6, But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is like filthy rags…
- This is a beautiful picture of the fact that not only does God forgive our sin in Christ Jesus, but that He also gives us the righteousness of Christ also.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- The man wanted to come to the king’s house, he understood the excitement surrounding the celebration. He wanted the food before Him, the blessings of being at the feast, but He was not willing to put on what the king had provided.
- When asked, he quite simply, was speechless. No response. The man was unwilling to put on what the king had provided. But the only way to be there, was to put on, and wear what the king had provided for him to wear.
Matthew 5:3, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
John 10:10, [Jesus said] I have come that they may have life to the full.
Isaiah 55:6, Call upon Him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
- Many people have many excuses why they don’t respond to God, “I was busy building a career,” “I needed time for myself,” “I just wanted to figure this thing out on my own.”
Matthew 22:14, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
- Many are invited, and from this scripture, we know that all are invited.
2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
- Many are invited, but few chosen. What does this mean for you and me? It means that God has invited and wants everyone, but not everyone wants God.
- If you choose Him, you are chosen. Would you choose to respond to His invitation today?
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he *said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”