Matthew 22 1-14 Meaning

Turn with me in your Bible to Matthew 22.

In our last message on this parable of the wedding feast, we discovered that Jesus spoke this parable in the context of hostility. The chief priests and Pharisees were seeking to kill Jesus. He had entered Jerusalem for the Passover and was teaching the people and was pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. And instead of repenting, they resisted God and tried to kill his Son.

And that gets us to this parable that I’d like us to read in its entirety once more.

So, let’s read Matthew 22, 1 to 14.

{Read Matthew 22:1-14…}


Now, as we saw last time, the question posed for each of us to answer in this parable is, How Will You Respond to God’s Invitation to His Kingdom? He is inviting you to be a part of his kingdom. How have you responded to that invitation?

Well, we saw last time the example of the Jews – especially of the Pharisees and scribes – and God’s invitation to them.

We saw the wedding feast prepared by the king for his son. We saw the folks whose invitation was assumed – and they represented the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.

We saw their being invited and their shocking refusal of that invitation. We saw the persistence of the king’s invitation to them and their persistent refusal of the invitation – some being ambivalent about it and some being antagonistic and even homicidal.

And we ended last time considering the destruction of those who had been invited. So, the Jews had been invited to the kingdom, but they for the most part refused the invitation. That’s basically what we saw in verses 1 through 7.

22.8-9 Inviting Everyone

But now things change in verse 8 to the end of the parable. Because in verse 8, we see the invitation – not offered only to the Jews – but we see the invitation going out to everyone.

8 Then {saith he to/he said to/he told} his {servants/slaves},

The {wedding/banquet/wedding banquet} is ready,

but {they which were/those who were/the ones who had been/those I} {bidden/invited} {were not worthy/did not deserve to come}.

9 {Go ye therefore/Go therefore/So go/Therefore, go/Go} {into the highways,/to the main highways/into the main streets/to where the roads exit the city/to the street corners}

and {as many as ye shall find,/everyone you find/anyone you find} {bid/invite} to the {marriage/wedding feast/wedding banquet/banquet}.

The Parable

So, the refusal of those who were initially invited does not change the reality that there is still a wedding feast to conduct. The king will have his wedding feast for his son – and if those who were originally invited didn’t want to come, then he’ll just open the invitation to everyone!

The Jews

From the context of the New Testament we see this kind of activity begin with the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Many of the Jews had rejected and crucified their Messiah. They had in that sense rejected the invitation to God’s kingdom. So, Jesus rises from the dead and in Matthew 28 he told his followers – who were exclusively Jewish – to go and to make disciples of all nations – all nations! Not just to the Jews to whom the invitation to God’s kingdom had originally been given. That’s where we see in real life the invitation being given to everyone in the world – not just God’s people the Jews.

Then we have the story in the book of Acts about Cornelius the Centurion – a Gentile – who receives the Gospel. And from that event the Jewish church in Jerusalem recognized that God had granted the Gentiles an invitation to his kingdom.

Later on in the book of Acts, we see Paul the Apostle telling some unbelieving Jews in Pisidian Antioch that due to their rejection of God’s invitation to his kingdom, he was going to turn to the Gentiles and minister to them and invite them to God’s kingdom. Paul did the same thing in Corinth and in Rome. When the Jews reject God’s invitation to his kingdom, he turns to the Gentiles and invites them.

God had changed his approach from inviting – for the most part – only Jews to his kingdom – to now inviting everyone – Jew and Gentile!


And that’s where we come in. Because of the rejection of the unbelieving Jews so long ago, the Gospel invitation went out to the Gentiles – and most everyone who is hearing this message falls into that ethnic category.

I am not a Jew. I am a Gentile. And, whereas I have no right to demand to be invited to God’s kingdom, yet I have been invited. And so have you.

And it’s not because you’re more righteous by yourself than any Jew or that you are in some other way better than they are. It’s simply because they have rejected God’s invitation. But you have simply received it!

22.10a Effort of the Servants

Well, as we’ve seen in this parable, the king gives his servants new orders – go out and find anyone to come to this wedding feast for my son! And so, they do in verse 10.

10 {So those/Those/And those/So the} {servants/slaves} went out {into the highways,/into the streets/on the roads} and {gathered together/gathered} {all as many as/all/everyone/all the people} they {found/could find}, both {bad/evil} and good:

And isn’t this a humbling reality? Let me ask you – where did God’s servants find you? Where were you when God – through one of his servants – invited you to his kingdom?

I was at a political party’s booth at the Wisconsin State Fair proclaiming what I felt to be the truth concerning that party’s ideas and platform. I was a lost 20 year old entangled in all the things a lost 20 year old does.

But another way to describe to you where I was back in August of 2002 is that I was on the “highways” of life. Wouldn’t you classify where you were when God invited you to his kingdom as in “the highways?” Just “out there” somewhere? Wandering.

What were you doing out in those highways?

No doubt, some of us were upstanding moralistic people. Maybe you were the “good” that the servants found.

But equally as doubtless, most of us were in that other category. We were the “bad” or the “evil.” We were up to no good. We were rebelling against the King.

Picture with me the possibility in this parable that these servants find someone who was rebellious toward the king. And as the kings’ servants are approaching him maybe he’s thinking, “Oh no! They’re coming to execute me! What am I going to do?

But when the servants come, they don’t execute – they invite.

You deserved execution. Instead you were given a gracious invitation.

And by the way, this isn’t the main thrust of this parable, but who are the king’s servants now? These servants that the king commission to go out and invite into his kingdom – who are these people? Can you look around and see any of his servants?

You are his servants. And you have some inviting to do, don’t you? You’ve gone from being the invited to being the inviters – with the hope that some whom you invite will invite yet more who will invite others and so on.

I’m not talking about simply inviting people to our worship services – though there’s nothing wrong with doing that. I’m talking about inviting people to God’s kingdom – to receive his Son Jesus Christ by faith. To repent of their sins and trust in God’s son. That’s what we need to be about.

22.10b Result of the Servants’ Effort

Well, we saw the efforts of the king’s servants in the beginning of verse 10. Now at the end of verse 10 we see the result of the servants’ effort.

{and the/The} {wedding/wedding hall/wedding banquet} was {furnished/filled} with {guests/dinner guests}.

The king’s banquet is filled with those who were not originally called or invited – but now they have been invited and so there they are – so many of them.

And this really corresponds to our present reality. There are many, many folks who have – from external appearances – accepted God’s invitation to his kingdom.

According to a survey conducted by Pew research in 2015, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. That study conducted just four years ago indicates that there were 2.3 billion people in the world who consider themselves Christians. That was 31.2% of the world’s population.

In contrast, 1.8 billion are Muslim – which is the second-highest populated religion in the world. What that means in contrast is that there are a half-a-billion more Christians than Muslims in this world – 500 million more Christians than Muslims.

Another interesting contrast is that people who call themselves Jews are only 0.01 billion strong or 10 million. So, there are 2.29 billion more people who calls themselves Christians than there are Jews in this world.

The point is that God has sent his servants out now for the past two thousand years to proclaim his kingdom and invite both Jews and Gentiles to that kingdom. And as you can tell from the data, his kingdom seems to be filled with those who have responded to the invitation.

22.11 Inspection of the King

But the shocking reality that confronts us is that not everyone who has externally responded to God’s invitation to his kingdom is really in actuality going to be accepted by the King. Because we see in the last four verses of this parable that not all who are called – or invited – to God’s kingdom are actually chosen or accepted by the King.

So, we start these last four verses of the parable in verse 11 with the inspection of the king.

11 ¶ {And/But} when the king came in to {see/look over/view} the {guests/dinner guests/wedding guests}, he {saw there/saw/noticed} a man {which/there who} {had/was} not {on a/dressed in/wearing/dressed for} {wedding garment/wedding clothes/a wedding}:

Now, apparently, wedding clothes would have simply been clean clothing. This man is one of the many who were invited to the wedding feast for the king’s son. He’s sitting there with all of the other invited guests. But he doesn’t have the proper attire.

And the troubling reality is that there are – in churches across the world – people who come and they listen and they sing and they give. But they’re not clothed… in Christ’s righteousness. They have on – in God’s eyes – their own filthy rags of their own self-righteousness.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:8-9, …I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”

And the Apostle John sees in his vision in the book of Revelation this righteousness of Christ pictured as a white robe or as white and clean fine linen.

John speaks in Revelation 7:14 of those who, “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Your robes were filthy – but it took blood to clean them. And while no one in this world would use blood to clean clothing, in this case the blood of Jesus is the most powerful cleaning agent ever known to heaven or to men.

Then Revelation 19:7-9 speaks of the wedding feast of the Lamb and the clothing that his bride is wearing:

KJV Revelation 19:7-9 …the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

So, all of God’s true people have this righteousness that comes through faith in Christ and not by your own merit or effort. And this righteousness is pictured as clothing – a wedding garment in this parable.

But as we see in this parable, there is this one guest who doesn’t have this wedding clothing on. Why?

He’s been invited. He’s accepted the invitation. But he’s not wearing wedding clothing. Why?

22.12a Question of the King

That’s what the king wants to know in verse 12.

12 {And he/So he/He} {saith/asked} {unto him/to him/him},

Friend, how {camest thou/did you come/did you get} in {hither/here} {not having a/without} wedding {garment/clothes}?

Because you need wedding clothes to get into a wedding feast. Even in our super-relaxed culture, there is certain clothing that indicates that you are going to a wedding or other special event. But this guy came in without that kind of clothing.

The king has a fair question. And one that should be answerable.

The inappropriately-dressed guest could perhaps point to a lack of money. But surely if that were the case – that this man is impoverished, and therefore unable to buy wedding clothes – the gracious king who so patiently invited all sorts of guests and was willing to provide them with all sorts of excellent and costly food could surely provide the necessary attire for this man. In fact, some say that at these weddings the host would actually provide these wedding garments to each guest.

Well, maybe the man somehow was unaccustomed to the marital practices of the area and didn’t know the requirement of the correct clothing. But if that were the case, you could assume again that the king could make some provision for this man.

22.12b Refusal of the Guest to Respond

But what we see in this parable is actually that the man offers no defense at all. He gives no reason for his refusal to be dressed in the proper clothing for this event at the end of verse 12.

{And he was speechless/And the man was speechless/But he had nothing to say}.

Now, it’s not that this man was bewildered and uncomfortable and embarrassed – and that’s why he didn’t speak. No – this man just had nothing to say.

It’s not that he was squirming in his seat and feeling guilty. He probably looked back at the king with an absolutely blank stare.

And this man in the parable represents any and all who have seemed to accept God’s invitation to his kingdom. They live among the people of God who are themselves entering this kingdom. But they themselves do not have Christ’s righteousness. They are still dressed in their own filthy rags of self-righteousness and sin.

And if that’s the case for you here today – and you persist in your refusal to repent and receive Jesus Christ – then you will be speechless at the judgement. You will have nothing to say.

22.13 Expulsion of the Guest

And that really is a terrifying position to find yourself in. Because there is indeed judgement coming for all who are apart from Christ, as the parable points to in verse 13.

13 Then said the king to the {servants/attendants},

{Bind/Tie up} him hand and foot, and {take him away, and cast him/throw him} {into outer darkness/outside, into the darkness};

{there/in that place there/where there} {shall/will} be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Now, it’s interesting to note whom the king is commanding in this verse. Five times so far in this parable, we’ve seen the king communicate with (or command) his slaves – his douloi. But this group that he addresses to do his bidding in this verse is different. Now, the king commands his servants – his diakonoi.

Because the slaves/douloi are kind of a picture of people like us – from the man whose full-time job it is to preach God’s word to the Christian who has been saved for a few weeks – we are commanded to go and preach the Gospel. We’re the slaves/douloi in this passage.

But we are not the servants/diakonoi. We are not commanded to cast people outside into the darkness. That role is reserved for the angels. And they’ll do this work at God the Father’s command at the judgement.

Now, just like this unprepared and unconcerned wedding guest in this parable, so too will be all who leave this world unprepared to meet their judge.

The guest in this parable – who had received the invitation to the kingdom but was not clothed appropriately – is thrown outside into the darkness. And all who reject God’s forgiveness through Christ – who are dressed in their own unrighteous rags rather than Christ’s righteousness – will be cast away from God’s presence into eternal darkness. They’ll be bound in the sense that they will never be able to escape their fate.

And for these people who have rejected Christ’s righteousness it will be truly hell – emotionally and physically. That’s what Jesus means when he speaks of weeping and gnashing of teeth – with weeping showing the intensity of the emotional suffering and with gnashing of teeth showing the intensity of the physical suffering in that place of torment prepared for the devil and his angels and where his children will finally join him.

22.14 Summary

Well, why does this happen this way? How is it that so many are invited to God’s kingdom but so few actually enter it eternally? Jesus explains that puzzling reality in the last verse of this parable – verse 14.

14 For many are {called/invited}, but few are chosen.

What does this mean? Well, consider what we’ve experienced in this parable.

Many were called or invited in this parable, weren’t they? You had the folks whose invitation was assumed, and they represent the Jews who were the first to be invited to God’s kingdom. You have the good and the bad whom the slaves could find in the highways. They represent the Gentiles that God is now inviting into his kingdom. And the wedding banquet ended up being filled with guests. Truly, many have been – and are being even now – called.

But who are the chosen in this parable? Are they the Jews? No – at least not by-and-large. For the most part the Jews are not chosen – though as Paul the Apostle would point out – he was! So, the Jews in this parable are not chosen – especially the ones who were being antagonistic toward Jesus.

What about the Gentiles? Are they chosen? Well, a number of them are. But then there’s this one who looks like he’s been chosen. But what key indicator let’s everyone know that he’s not chosen? He’s not clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

So, are you called or invited to Christ’s kingdom? Of course you are. The very fact that you are hearing the words of Christ from this passage in Scripture assures you that you have been invited to God’s kingdom. You are one of the many who are called.

But are you chosen? Are you – here’s a controversial term but a biblical one and it’s the one behind this word in verse 14 – are you elect?

Well, how would you know? Here’s the key – are you clothed in Christ’s righteousness?

Have you trusted that Jesus has died for every single one of your awful sins? For your sins – not just the sins of mankind – not just the sins of the world – but has he died for your sins? Are you confident in that – in him? Can anything shake your confidence in the fact that Jesus Christ bore your personal sins in his body on the tree?

If you are confident of this and relying on Jesus’ sacrifice for the forgiveness of all your sins – I have good news for you. You are chosen. You are in the group of the few who are elect.

And you didn’t do a thing to earn this. It’s Christ’s righteousness that clothes you. You would be shamefully naked on your own. But as the song says,

Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
my beauty are, my glorious dress.

I trust that most of us hearing this message are elect. But no one should be so naïve as to think everyone here is.

Is there anyone who is still clothed in your own filthy fowl garments? Are you still in your sin? Are you seeking to establish your own righteousness and rejecting Christ’s righteousness?

Maybe you are a good person. People like you. But inwardly you think that you’ll be alright in the end because you are a decent, kindhearted, warm human being. You work hard. You try your best. And in the end, God will accept you.

That is what you’ll be thinking… until the moment you enter hell. You’re wearing the wrong clothing! Everyone else might miss that fact – that you’re not in the proper attire. The other invitees to the wedding feast might miss it. The people who invite you to the feast might miss it. But the king certainly will not. He will see that you are dressed in your own righteousness – and that will not be good enough for entrance into his kingdom.

You better change your clothes. Abandon your own way and your own righteousness – and put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

We’re all called. Only a few are chosen. Demonstrate that you are chosen by trusting Jesus Christ today.

Matthew 22 1-14 Sermon

It’s always a privilege to be invited to some special occasion.

You can probably think of the excitement associated with finding out that you had been invited to some sort of event:

  • A friend’s birthday party or
  • The wedding of someone you cared about or
  • The retirement party of a co-worker.

Being invited to things like these can fill you with a special sense of acceptance and inclusion and honor.

Since the late 1980s it’s been a tradition for teams in the National Football League who have won the Super Bowl to be invited to the White House by the president of the United States. And most have accepted that invitation.

But some have rejected it. They have thought little of the privilege of being invited to such an event. And not just in the world of football – more recently there have been high-profile invitations to the White House that have either been rescinded by the president or rejected by a player who has been invited.

And yet, this isn’t merely a recent phenomenon. As far back as 1984 a few players from the ‘84 NBA-champion Boston Celtics rejected an invitation to the Reagan White House to celebrate their victory, with Celtic forward Larry Bird famously stating, “If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me.”

Well, of course, the rejection of certain people of generous invitations by people of importance goes back farther than the 1980s. In a very real sense, God has called or invited all sorts of people throughout the millennia. And so-very-often that invitation has met with rejection – sometimes with ambivalence and sometimes with hostility.

And so, I’d like us to consider a passage that deals with God’s gracious invitation – or calling – and how people reacted to it. That passage is a parable in the 22nd chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.

So, let’s read Matthew – starting at the end of chapter 21 and verse 45 and reading through to chapter 22 and verse 14.

{Read Matthew 21:45-22:14…}

21.45-46 Context

{Don’t read this again… Skip ahead to my comments…}

KJV Matthew 21:45 ¶ {And when/When} the chief priests and Pharisees {had heard/heard} {his/Jesus’} parables,

they {perceived/understood/realized/knew} that he {spake/was speaking/was talking} {of/about} them.

46 {But when they sought/They wanted/Although they were looking for a way/They looked for a way} to {lay hands on/seize/arrest} him,

{they/but they} {feared/were afraid of} the {multitude/people/crowds/crowd},

because {they/the crowds/the people} {took/considered/regarded} him {for/to be/as} a prophet.


Now, the context into which Jesus speaks this parable in chapter 22 is one of hostility.

It follows his entry into Jerusalem that is also known as “the triumphal entry” in which many were praising him and there’s a lot of excitement about his coming to Jerusalem for the Passover.

And the first thing that Matthew tells us that Jesus did when he entered Jerusalem is that he enters the Temple and sets things in order. He removes those who are greedily engaged in making money off of true religion.

And after that, Jesus engaged in healing those who couldn’t see and those who couldn’t walk.

And whereas all of these activities are wonderful and beneficial and demonstrated that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah of Israel, the chief priests and scribes did not appreciate what was going on and they began to aggressively question and challenge Jesus.

Well, Jesus then leaves the city overnight and comes back the next morning and withers a fig tree that had no fruit on it.

He then proceeded to the city where he began teaching the people – and immediately the chief priests and elders again question him – this time about his authority to do the things he was doing. “Who gave you this authority?

Three Parables

And it’s at that point – in this context of hostility – where Jesus begins giving these men three parables – the third of which we’re going to focus on in our time here.

Two Sons and Their Father

But the first of those three parables involved two sons and their father. The father tells both boys to do something. The first one says he won’t do it but then ends up doing it. The second son says he will do it but ends up not doing it. The chief priests and scribes are like the second sons – they speak of doing God’s will but they don’t do it. And some of the tax collectors and prostitutes – really bad folks – are the ones who initially refused God’s will but then ended up doing it.

Tennant Farmers and Landlord

The second parable involves tenant farmers and the landlord who loaned them a vineyard. The landlord is due some produce from his land, but the tenant farmers are unwilling to yield any to him. The result is that these wicked tenant farmers would be destroyed by the landlord for their refusal to pay him what they owed – even killing his own son in the process.

In that parable, the chief priests and scribes are the tenant farmers, God is the landlord, and the vineyard is his people Israel. When the farmers kill the landlord’s son, it was a foretelling that the chief priests are going to kill Jesus, the Son – not of a mere landlord but – of God.

And that then leads to what we read at the end of chapter 21 – the chief priests and scribes realize that Jesus was speaking about them. And the result was that they wanted to kill Jesus but they couldn’t because of the crowd that was enjoying what they were experiencing from Jesus.

Called vs. Chosen

And so, Jesus begins his last parable about these religious leaders who were religious but lost. Or based on the parable, you might say that they were “called” but were not “chosen.”

And I don’t believe that we have the privilege of having any Jews in our attendance right now. We certainly don’t have any first-century chief priests or scribes here! But what we do have is a church full of people who – weekly, at least – have access to God’s word. Each one of us is being constantly invited or called by God to trust his Son Jesus Christ.

And so, the question put to us, as it was to the chief priests and scribes in Matthew 22, is this – How Will You Respond to God’s Invitation to His Kingdom? He is inviting you to be a part of his kingdom. How have you responded to that invitation?

So, let’s look at this parable in Matthew 22:1-14 to help shine the light for us onto how exactly we have responded to God’s invitation to his kingdom.

22.1 Intro

To begin in verse 1, we have an introduction in which Jesus sets the scene of this parable.

KJV Matthew 22:1 ¶ {And Jesus/Jesus/Once more Jesus} {answered and spake/spoke} unto them again {by/in} parables, {and said,/saying}

Here’s the parable…

22.2 Event: Marriage Supper

The parable surrounds an event. And the event is a celebratory supper in honor of a marriage, according to verse 2.

2 The kingdom of heaven {is like unto/may be compared to/is like} {a certain/a} king, {which/who} {made/gave/prepared} a {marriage/wedding feast/wedding banquet} for his son,

Kingdom of Heaven

Alright, so this parable is meant to communicate something about the kingdom of heaven. That’s the kingdom over which heaven rules. It’s the kingdom that will be on earth during the Millennium with its king – the Lord Jesus Christ – ruling. It’s the kingdom that will never end on into eternity. It’s the kingdom into which people like you and me are being transferred as we trust Jesus Christ and are then transferred from the kingdom of darkness.


And the Lord Jesus pictures this kingdom as a wedding feast. Being invited to trust Christ and enter into his kingdom is like going to celebrate a wedding – with all the joy and anticipation that are associated with that kind of activity.

King & His Son

And note that a king is setting up this celebration. In this parable, the king represents God the Father. And the son of this king represents Jesus Christ.

Who’s the Bride?

Now, you have a marriage feast. You have a king. You have His Son. But who are we missing?

We have the groom. Where is the…? Bride?

Well, she’s actually not mentioned in this parable because the identity of the bride is not important for Jesus’ purposes in telling this story. But you can call to mind the fact that we’re told in Revelation 19 of a coming wedding supper of the Lamb and it’s the church that is going to be the bride. So, the bride is not identified in this parable, but she is us – those of us who have received the Lamb, the son of the King.

Summary of 22.2

So, that’s the event – a celebratory marriage supper for the Son put on by the King his Father.

22.3-7 Cycle 1

And with those details established, Jesus brings us to the first of three cycles in this parable. And these cycles involve only two actions – the king invites and the guests respond.

  • The first cycle spans from verse 3 to verse 7
  • The second from verse 8 to verse 10
  • And the third from verse 11 to verse 13, with Jesus then giving his summary of the parable at the end in verse 14.

And we’re only going to have time to cover this first cycle in verses 3-7 right now. And hopefully we’ll cover the others some other time.

22.3a Inviting the Invited

So, this first cycle begins with the invited … being invited – or you could say, the called … being called. There are people who are invited or called to receive Christ and enter the kingdom of heaven – and these people are pictured in verse 3 as now being called or invited to come.

3 {And/And he/He} {sent forth/sent out/sent} his {servants/slaves} {to call/to summon/to} {them that were/those who had been/those} {bidden/invited} to the {wedding/wedding feast/banquet to tell them to come}:

So, you’re being confronted in this parable with how you’re going to respond to God’s invitation to his kingdom.

Note here in this verse that there are some whose invitation is already assumed. They’ve already been invited from the vantage point of this parable. We’re going to see that these folks represent – in Jesus’ day – the nation of Israel. They were the recognized people of God. If you were to be transported back to this time in history and you were to look for the group that would have been identified as “God’s people” you would have been directed to Israel. They were invited – all of them – they were all called by God in a very special way to his kingdom.

And when Jesus their Messiah finally came for them, that calling took on a special urgency. The called were being called. The invited were being invited, in a special way.

And in our day, we can draw this connection – that the people meeting in this church building and in many others throughout the world are recognized as “God’s people.” You have been invited to God’s kingdom. Here you are in the midst of a bunch of people who are going to enter God’s kingdom! We’re all in a very special position to be hearing from God’s word and to continually be called by God to be members of his kingdom.

22.3b Refusal of the Invited

But at the end of this verse we see a very concerning reality. And that reality is that those who had been invited rejected the invitation.

{and/but} they {would not/were unwilling to/didn’t want to/refused to} come.

Now, catch this – this is meant to be shocking! If you’re carefully reading this story, a king is inviting normal folks to an elaborate wedding banquet to celebrate the joyful marriage of his son. What could possibly motivate someone to reject that kind of gracious invitation?

And yet, how many people in churches across the world are there physically sitting in the seats but they have not responded to God’s invitation to trust his Son? They have refused the invitation even while they’re sitting in the midst of others who are going to the kingdom. How shocking!

22.4 Persistence of the Invitation

And yet, the Lord is so gracious. Because in verse 4 we see God’s own persistence in continually inviting the invited to his kingdom – even after an initial rejection of his already generous offer.

4 {Again,/Then} he {sent forth/sent out/sent} {other/some more} {servants/slaves}, {saying/and said},

Tell {them which/those who} {are/have been} {bidden/invited},

{Behold,/Look!/That} {I have prepared my dinner/The feast I have prepared for you is ready}:

my oxen and {my fatlings/my fattened livestock/fattened cattle} {are killed/are all butchered/have been slaughtered},

and {all things are/everything is} ready:

come {unto/to} the {marriage/wedding feast/wedding banquet}.

So, note how patient and kind this king is. He’s laying out for those who were invited all of the blessings that come with their attending his son’s wedding feast.

And is this not what God the Father does for you in the Bible concerning the blessings that attend receiving his Son and entering his kingdom? Streets of gold are only the beginning! Mansions in eternity are just scratching the surface!

What awaits those who will receive Christ and enter God’s kingdom? We have eternal life. We have peace with God. We’re free from deserved condemnation. Our sins are all forgiven. We are redeemed from sin and its slavery. We have a sure foundation to base our life upon in this world. We have all things that pertain to life and godliness. We have Christ – a friend who sticks closer than a brother. We have communion with God and fellowship with his people. We will rule and reign with Christ in the Millennium. There’s coming a day when we will experience no sickness or sorrow or pain or death! And we could go on and on as to the blessings that God promises those who respond to his call to trust His Son.

God lays out for us in our mind’s eye in his word the blessings of his kingdom. And he’s constantly appealing to those who are in our midst to enter his kingdom. He’s appealing to you through this parable and through this message that seeks to explain and apply it to you. How will you respond to God’s gracious invitation to his kingdom? He’s graciously calling you.

22.5 Ambivalent Persistence of the Refusal

And yet, the persistence of the king to graciously invite these ones who have been invited to his kingdom… is only matched by the equal persistence of those who had been invited to resist the king’s invitation in verse 5.

5 But they {made light of it,/paid no attention/were indifferent} and went {their ways,/away/off} one to his {farm/own farm/field}, another to his {merchandise/business}:

So, the king invites. The invited refuse the invitation. The king sends a more elaborate and explicit invitation. The invited persist in refusing the invitation.

And doesn’t this resemble the response of some who are even members of places that call themselves churches? Maybe even some among us – either now or in times past. Maybe some of our loved ones to whom we’ve witnessed and who are in a special position of hearing and receiving God’s invitation to trust His Son and enter His kingdom.

You hear the call – the invitation – but you do nothing about it. You take no action. Access to the kingdom of heaven is offered, but you refuse it. Not violently, but just out of indifference and apathy. You have other things to attend to.

These people in the parable had farms and businesses to get back to. They didn’t have time for the wedding banquet. “Who needs a wedding banquet? We’ve got work to do!” was their mantra.

And in our day, a churchgoer might be so concerned with social justice or feeding the poor or trying to bring about world peace or really, just living this mundane natural life that he really has no time to receive the simple invitation to trust Jesus Christ to forgive him all his sins. “Who has time for dealing with sins and humbling himself before God? I’m busy working in the soup kitchen!” is the mantra of people like this.

22.6 Antagonistic Persistence of the Refusal

Well, even worse than the ambivalent refusal of some of those who were invited… is the antagonistic refusal that we see in verse 6.

6 {And the/The} {remnant/rest/others} {took/seized} his {servants/slaves}, {and entreated them spitefully/and mistreated them/insolently mistreated them/treated them outrageously}, and {slew/killed} them.

Now, remember what’s happening here. This king is graciously inviting people to his son’s wedding feast. These people who are invited need to pay nothing. They will have an abundance of provision when they get there. There will be joy.

The king has been gracious in inviting these people. And he’s been gracious to respond to their initial rejection with more grace and more patience and more explanation of how wonderful this event was going to be for them.

And yet, we saw that some continued in their ambivalent refusal. And the reasoning of that group was hard enough to understand.

But now this – that some of those who were invited actually got violent with those who were sent by the king to invite them – to the point of killing these people who simply served as mouthpieces for the king. This is the classic case of people “shooting the messenger.”

Although, when people metaphorically or literally shoot the messenger usually that messenger is bringing bad news. But in this case, the messengers are bringing the best news that could ever be brought! The antagonistic rejection of these people to the point of killing the king’s servants is just ridiculous. It’s outrageous!

And of course, in the immediate context, Jesus is prophesying to these chief priests and scribes that they were basically going to engage in this kind of activity. They were going to kill the messengers that God had sent them to invite them to the kingdom – who would preach God’s word to them concerning the King’s Son – Jesus Christ.

And in our context, it’s disheartening – though it shouldn’t be a total shock – to see the kind of antagonism God’s servants can receive – even from those who claim to be among that group of those who are invited to the kingdom. The antagonism that can be shown to God’s messengers by those who claim to be God’s people is a discouragement. And yet, it shouldn’t be a surprise. It happened in Jesus’ day as well.

And God is so patient – even to those who persistently reject his invitation to his kingdom. Think of how he patiently endured the persistent and violent rejection of Saul of Tarsus until finally Jesus had to arrest him on the way to Damascus. And think of how the Lord had patiently pursued you until you finally received his gracious invitation to trust Christ and be forgiven all your sins. And for any here who have not yet received God’s invitation to his kingdom – he is still patiently inviting you. The opportunity still awaits you. What are you waiting for? Receive God’s invitation to trust His Son, Jesus Christ and enter his kingdom.

22.7 Destruction of the Refusing Invited

Because – though he is amazingly patient – God won’t wait forever. At some point, the Lord needs to give those who reject his offer what they really want – just like the king in this parable does in verse 7.

7 {But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth:/But the king was enraged/The king was furious!}

{and he/he/so he} {sent forth/sent/sent out} {i.e., not his servants this time, but…} his {armies/soldiers/troops/army}, and {destroyed/they put to death} those murderers, and {burned up/set on fire/burned down} their city.

And so, the immediate fulfillment of this happening was when the city of Jerusalem was burned by Rome in AD 70. The invitation was laid out for Israel and the king even sent his own Son to invite them. But after decades of persistent refusal and rejection – some of it being ambivalent and some antagonistic – the Lord needed to do something about it. And so, he sent Rome to burn the city of those who had been invited but who had rejected that gracious invitation.

And for any who hear this message and continue to reject God’s invitation to the kingdom, I anticipate that God will continue to graciously call and invite you. But at some point, there is an end.

For those of us with loved ones – and God has used you to call and invite these folks in your life to the kingdom – but they continue to reject the advances – well, there is coming a time when time is up for them. God is patient. But he won’t wait forever. And none of us ought to reject God’s invitation and act as if he’s never going to take action. He will. It’s appointed to man once to die and after this the judgement.

And the amazing thing is that the Judge who will be adjudicating that judgement spoken of in Hebrews 9 is none other than the Son in this parable – Jesus Christ. God is inviting you to trust his Son, the Judge. Have you?

Many of us have. And yet, I assume not everyone has. If you have been rejecting God’s invitation to trust his Son – why wait? You don’t know how much longer God’s patience will hold out for you.

How will you respond to God’s invitation to his kingdom? Will you receive it? Have you received it? Or will you reject it like the chief priests and scribes of Jesus’ day – and rather receive the destruction that they received? You can receive God’s invitation or God’s wrath. It’s one or the other. There’s no third option.

So, may today be the day of salvation for someone who hears Jesus’ message urging that we respond to the invitation to his kingdom.