Sermon: The Great Wedding Feast and the Power of the Gospel Matthew 22:1-14

Truth Taught- Israel has rejected her Messiah and judged herself to be unworthy of eternal life

Introduction

Jesus has condemned the Jews and their works religion.  He has the authority and has passed judgement on those who were leading Israel’s religion.  

Our Lord has told two parables picturing the fact that the Kingdom of God has been taken away from them and given to others who will produce the fruit God seeks.

There is a progression with each of these stories.  The first was a Father and two sons, one working in the vineyard and the other saying he would but never did.  The second parable moved from a Father to a rich Landowner who leased his vineyard out to tenants but they refused to give the owner the fruit of the vineyard that should have been His.  He sent His servants and they were killed.  Then He sent His Son saying they will respect My Son.  Sadly, they killed His Son too.  

Now, we come to the third Parable of condemnation.  The religious leaders have crossed the point of no return.  Judgement is coming and there is nothing they can do about it.
This Parable is elevated even more as we see that Jesus is speaking now of a King.  

It’s appropriate that as we look at this final parable of this trilogy that we make sure what Jesus’ purpose is in speaking in Parables…

Matthew 13:10–17 (ESV) 

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: 

“ ‘ “You will indeed hear but never understand, 

and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 

15  For this people’s heart has grown dull, 

and with their ears they can barely hear, 

and their eyes they have closed, 

lest they should see with their eyes 

and hear with their ears 

and understand with their heart 

and turn, and I would heal them.’ 

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. 

A Parable is a way to teach that informs His followers who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit but to those who are lost, such as the religious elite here, a parable limits their accountability before God.  The mystery of the parable saves them from further condemnation because of the truth they would have been accountable for but now they are not because they have no understanding of what Jesus is teaching.

Matthew 22:1–14 (ESV) 

22 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.’ 10 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. 

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 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.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” 

1.  The Kingdom of Heaven is Like a Wedding Feast (22:1-2)

22 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,

As with all Parables, they are meant to teach a point, they are not an in-depth teaching.  This one Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is like a wedding feast that a King put together for His Son.  We don’t learn everything about the Kingdom of Heaven here but by analogy, we learn a little.  We get a preview of what the Kingdom is like.
Here, it’s not just like a wedding feast but there is something very interesting here.  It has much to do with the guests who don’t show and the ones who do.

We will learn again of the judgement of the religious leaders and then in another amazing twist, we see that their refusal opens the door for us.
 

2.  The King’s Invitation is Despised (22:3-8) 

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

In His Parable, our Lord wants us to see just how insane and self-consumed the religious leaders were in Jerusalem.  The King has given them an invitation to His Son’s wedding feast.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The King invites other dignitaries, other important people, other famous people who would be worthy of such an honor.  

The strange thing is that none of these people came to the wedding feast.  They went about their daily lives.  They went to work on their farm that day.  They had some unfinished business to tend to.  Whatever their excuse was it really didn’t matter they despised the King’s invitation.  

Do you see how disrespectful and unnatural their response to the King is? 
The King gave them a second chance…

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.”  

This is a very merciful and gracious King.  He issues another invitation to those guests.  Perhaps they didn’t get the message or didn’t understand?  Strangely, those invited cared nothing for their opportunity, their invitation, the King, the Son or even the banquet…we have a fence to mend…I have a call to make.


I want to speak to you a minute about the danger of slighting the King.  God the Father issues an invitation to all there is a universal call.  All are to heed the call to come to the great banquet feast of the Lamb.  The Gospel call goes out indiscriminately and yet most or even almost all do not listen and obey.  The Gospel seems unimportant to those who have better things to do.  My farm or my land or my business is far more important than some banquet feast.  God is not to be slighted.  With the invitation comes the responsibility to respond.  Can you imagine a king inviting people and they have better things to do?  

The Creator of the universe offers an invitation to come to Him and be saved to attend the future banquet feast of the Son and most will not attend.  Most will not be there.  Will you there?  Will you stop what you’re doing and come because it is the most important event in all heaven and earth?  Will you come to Christ?

Maybe you see yourself as a Christian already.  Will you obey what the King commands you to do?  Will you view His will as more important than yours.  Will you give the King your obedience and your submission?  Will you view His will as far superior to your will?  Will you make worshipping the King a priority?    

Jesus of course is the Son and God the Father is the King who has set the banquet in place.  This is exactly how the religious elite have treated Jesus.  No interest what so ever.  Not only is there no interest but things are about to get violent.  Israel has murdered those who had invited them and now they are about to murder the King’s Son.

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.

Those who were sent out to invite those in the kingdom to attend were treated shamefully, and some were killed.

Now the invite is null and void.  The King will not send servant, prophets or apostles to call them to come to the great feast.  Because they had treated the King and His Son so poorly, the King now sends in His army to destroy them.  

The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

Jesus, again reaches back to the Old Testament for the details of this story.  He is still looking to Isaiah 5 as He was in the second Parable.  

Isaiah 5:25 (ESV) 

25  Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, 

and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, 

and the mountains quaked; 

and their corpses were as refuse 

in the midst of the streets. 

For all this his anger has not turned away, 

and his hand is stretched out still. 


Those who refused to come to the wedding feast were Israel.  Israel is the son in the first parable…Yes, I’ll go to work in the vineyard but never went.  Israel is the tenants who refused to give to God the fruit of the vineyard.  They also here refuse God’s invitation to come to His Son’s wedding feast.  They will also be the ones God judges in His burning wrath.  The anger of the Lord is kindled against his people…

Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy


Jesus tells us that by the response of those who despised the invitation, they proved themselves to be unworthy to be in attendance.

Jesus has just declared with the authority of God those who reject His invitation are unworthy to be His.  Here’s an actual example of this truth found in the ministry of Paul.

Acts 13:44–46 (ESV) 

44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 

3.  Israel’s Rejection Has Opened the Door for Us

Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 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. 

Why does the King do this?  Why does He send out His servants to invite whomever?  He does this because His Son is worthy to be honored.  If you are a Christian today, the reason is because God greatly loves His Son and Jesus is worthy of honor and praise.  His wedding hall will be filled, God will see to it. 
Praise God that there has been an amazing twist here.  He goes to the Gentiles to fill up His guest list.  God turns to the unknowns and common people to give a royal invitation.  

The rejection of the invitation proved that the Israelites were not worthy.  By God’s grace, He offers the invitation to others. 

Acts 13:47–49 (ESV)
47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, 

“ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, 

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” 

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 

By grace, the Gentiles hear and drop what they’re doing to respond…

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Jesus, in the Parable reports that… the wedding hall was filled with guests.

Some guests that show up are sinners and some are great sinner.  The parking lot is not full of high end cars but full of mini vans, compacts, pick up trucks.  Regular everyday Gentiles flood the halls of the Kingdom of God in great anticipation of the wedding feast of the King’s Son.

The free gift of the Gospel invitation.  I pray you feel the weight of the opportunity you’ve been given.  God has invited you, will you respond? 

4.  All Must Be Made Ready to Meet the King

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 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.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” 

What shall we make of this section?  Kingdom of God is currently made up of the visible church.  One commentator has this to say, This parable reminds us that not all who are part of the visible church are members of the true church.  Eventually, they leave or are cast out.

The imagery is that there was a man there who had not been made ready.  He was not a true believer but more of a wedding crasher.  There are those within the church who attend but who are not really saved.  They have not been made ready by God.  They are not clothed in the righteousness of Christ. 

For those who are not wearing wedding clothes or garments…


13 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.’

Then Jesus declares even more truth when He tells us that many are invited but few are chosen.  This final conclusion is needed for us to process just how unnatural the great rejection really is.  Who in their right mind would reject this invitation?  All reject it because sin has so darkened the minds of unbelievers that this invitation doesn’t register with them, they don’t see the need or even the great honor.  They disrespect the King and His Son.
The chosen or the elect are the only ones who will listen to and head this great call.  The elect will become the new tenants and the new Wedding guests. 

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Conclusion

God invites all kinds of people to enter into His Kingdom.  He offers His invitation to Jews and Gentiles alike; all must be made ready by God. 
The Gospel is the invitation to come to the wedding feast…come into the Kingdom of God.  Have you heard the Gospel? 
The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead–so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins and you are clothed with the righteousness of Christ…you have the wedding garments that are required to enter into the Kingdom of God and one day the great wedding banquet feast of the Son.

Will you come today?  Will you enter into the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus Christ?  Or will you say, I have other things to do?

Resources Used

Matthew by R T France
Matthew By Daniel Doriani

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