Matthew – God’s Purposes
There is nothing more irritating than your family’s lack of response when called to the dinner you have waiting on the table! You have done all the work necessary to serve a piping hot meal only to be ignored when you tell them it is ready.
They sometimes act as if they don’t even hear you as they continue to play a game or watch the next episode of a show on television or computer. When you prepare a meal for your family, you expect them to come running when it is ready…but most do not come running…only the hungry ones come. Mm.
Matthew 22, NLT
Parable of the Great Feast
22 Jesus also told them other parables. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!
4 “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. 6 Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.
7 “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. 8 And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
God’s “chosen”, the Jews rejected the Holy Spirit (22:1–14). This parable must not be confused with the parable of the great supper (Luke 14:16–24) even though they have elements in common. Again we meet the Father and the Son, and the Son is alive (in spite of what the husbandmen did) and has a bride.
The suggestion is that the Lord Jesus and His church are depicted (Eph. 5:22–33). The period described in this parable must be after His resurrection and ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Father is still inviting the people of Israel to come, in spite of what they did to His Son. When we study the first seven chapters of Acts, we discover that the message is going out to none but Jews (Acts 2:5, 10).
“To the Jew first” was God’s plan (Acts 3:26; Rom. 1:16). How did the nation’s leaders respond to the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the apostles? They rejected the Word and persecuted the church. The same rulers who permitted John to be killed, and who asked for Jesus to be killed, themselves killed Stephen! Later, Herod killed James (Acts 12:1ff.).
How did the king in the parable respond to the way the people treated his servants? He became angry and sent his armies to destroy them and their city. He then turned to other people and invited them to come to the feast. This is a picture of God’s dealing with Israel. They rejected the Father when they refused to obey John the Baptist’s preaching. Israel rejected the Son when they arrested Him and crucified Him.
In His grace and patience, God sent other witnesses. The Holy Spirit came on the early believers and they witnessed with great power that Jesus was alive and the nation could be saved (Acts 2:32–36; 3:19–26). The miracles they did were proof that God was at work in and through them. But Israel also rejected the Holy Spirit!
This final rejection is, to me, the awful “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 12:22–32. This was a national sin, committed by Israel. When they rejected John, they rejected the Father who sent him, but there remained the ministry of the Son. When they rejected the Son, they were forgiven because of their ignorance (Luke 23:34; Acts 3:17). No sinner today can be forgiven for rejecting Christ, for this rejection is what condemns the soul (John 3:16–22).
Matthew 22:11–14 seems like an appendix to the parable, but it is vitally important. The wedding garment was provided by the host so that everybody was properly attired and the poor did not feel conspicuous.
Salvation is personal and individual. We must accept what God gives to us—the righteousness of Christ— and not try to make it on our own. Since these parables had a definite national emphasis, this personal emphasis at the end was most important.
The nation’s leaders were guilty of spiritual blindness, hypocrisy, and deliberate disobedience to the Word. Instead of accepting this indictment from Jesus, and repenting, they decided to attack Him and argue with Him. The result: judgment. We should be careful not to follow their example of disobedience.
Oh, Lord, may we come running when you call us to eat at your table of Life!
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are God and we are not. Thank you for all you have done, are doing and will do in our lives. You call and we answer. Forgive us when we hesitate in the slightest when our focus has to be drawn from this world back to you.
In Jesus Name, Amen