Your Personal Invitation Has Arrived
By Jon W. Quinn
The answer is “Tricia Nixon.” The question is “Who was the last child of a president to be married in the White House?” I would imagine that it was an extremely ornate affair. I can well imagine the military band playing and the regality of the dress and the finest food cooked by the greatest of chefs. But alas! I can only imagine it because I was not there. Through some oversight, I'm sure, I never received my invitation. Did you get yours?
I'm fairly sure you would have to “be somebody” to be invited to a White House wedding. Many people would consider it an honor. Not many will ever be invited to such a social event as this.
But wait! Hold on there! There is an even more important event that you and I have been invited to attend. It is a much greater honor than being invited to the White House, or any other earthly palace or estate. I certainly hope you're not too busy to attend.
“And Jesus answered and 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.” (Matthew 22:1,2; please read the complete parable in Matthew 22:1-14).
Jesus' Parable of the King's Wedding Feast for His Son
The meaning of the parable is very easy to understand as one considers the historical context of the time. The king of the parable is Jehovah God. The king's son is Jesus. The slaves would be the prophets and apostles who lived previous to and during the ministry of Jesus as well as that time immediately following His ascension into heaven when the gospel was being exclusively preached to the Jews. The wedding feast has to do with the spiritual riches of the kingdom of heaven which were being offered first to the Jewish nation. The mistreatment and murder of the king's slaves stood for how the nation had treated the prophets sent to her.
The destruction of the city foretold the destruction of Jerusalem which would take place later that century. The extension of the invitation to those on the highways stood for the taking of the gospel to the Gentiles. There are a few points which stand out, very important things for us to consider. Please notice them briefly.
God Has Made Provision for Us
“...Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.” (Matthew 22:4). The Lord has indeed made all things ready for us. A place has been prepared through the offering up of God's own Son. (2 Corinthians 8:9).
God has also announced to the world, “All things are ready!” To those who live by faith, there is a feast waiting for us. Riches and glory to the fullest degree … no reason to eye another with greed or envy or jealousy (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). Indeed, all that is worth owning is provided by God; not temporary things which can be lost, but eternal things, precious and rich. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
The Invitation Has Been Given
“And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast...” (Matthew 22:3). No one will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven because they have not been invited. It will only be for the reason that they never saw fit to respond to the invitation. Do not casually set your invitation aside. It could get lost in the shuffle of life's busy times.
There were various reactions to the invitation in Jesus' parable. The text says that when invited, the potential guests “were unwilling.” For one reason or another, they simply did not want to attend. The Lord is not willing for any to perish (2 Peter 3:9), but at the same time many lost souls are not willing to be saved. God will not save any who are unwilling to be saved. He does not force anyone to attend the wedding feast of His Son.
Jesus said that some just were not interested. They paid no attention and “went on their way” (vs. 5). Then also, there were some who were openly antagonistic, attacking those who had been sent to invite them to the feast (vs. 6). This well illustrates the variety of negative responses to the gospel that have been witnessed down through the years, and indeed in our own day as well.
One final point concerning the invitation; note that all were invited, “both evil and good” (vs. 10). The Lord does not issue His invitation only to the best among us, but to everyone. We all need to respond positively to the Lord's kind favor.
The King Observes His Guests
“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes.” (Matthew 22:11). Among the guests, the king found a man without wedding clothes. This man was very conspicuous in that he was not clothed properly.
It is not enough to be invited to the feast, we must dress and go. (Galatians. 2:7; Revelation 22:14). This man illustrates those whose names might be listed as members of a church, but who have not clothed themselves in works of righteousness which Christ has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). Or perhaps they have continued to practice those things contrary to the will of Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). At any rate, the king has no difficulty in discovering those of this nature among the guests gathered for the feast.
The Unanswerable Question
“...and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And he was speechless.” (Matthew 22:12). There simply was no excuse. Commentators point out that the king had provided the garments, obviously those traveling on the highway had not been dressed to go to a wedding feast. This guest had simply refused or neglected to put one on. When asked, there is nothing he could say about his lack of being prepared. How many professed Christians today will one day find themselves in a similar circumstance; standing before God on the day of judgment, having dressed their lives with neglect or worse? It is time to prepare to attend the wedding feast! You have been invited!
One final point that is brought out by the last part of the parable. God sees us as individuals. Here we have a man that is a part of a crowd, but separate in God's eyes. We will stand before God as individuals. What are you going to do with your invitation from the King?
Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 22.12; December 2015