Matthewby Mike Raiter
We all love weddings. In every culture, they are among the most important and joyful of celebrations. In this passage, God's salvation is portrayed as a wedding banquet. All are invited, but we come on God's terms. There is a dress code for God's banquet.
This is the third of three parables in which Jesus announces a revolution in God's dealings with people. The connections with the previous parables are clear. A vineyard where tenants brutally reject the landowner's servants and kill his son (Matthew 21: 33-45) now gives way to a parable about a wedding feast where the invited guests brutally kill the king's servants. They also reject the king's son by not coming to the feast.
Through the metaphor of a wedding banquet, Jesus again rehearses the history of God's dealings with Israel. The custom in the ancient world was that an invitation was extended to people to attend a wedding. When the food was ready, those who had been invited, and presumably had accepted, were then asked to come.
This banquet is especially important because it is the wedding of the king's son. Despite repeated announcements from the gracious king, his overtures are rejected by those who prefer mammon to God (v. 5) or hate him. Their violent rejection of the king is again (v. 7; cf. Matthew 21:44) met with judgment, both on them and their city. The invitation is then extended to ″the bad as well as the good″ (v. 10). Now, anyone who loves and honours the king's son is welcome, even tax collectors and sinners.
The parable ends with a sober warning, as a man is found at the wedding feast dressed inappropriately (v. 11). In other words, while both good and bad are invited to the wedding, once inside the feast you cannot wear the same clothes. John the Baptist told his hearers to bear fruit that expresses true repentance. We can only attend God's feast on God's terms, which is faith in His Son, expressed in lives of obedience.
We see here so much of the character of God. We see God's patience in His repeated invitations to come to Him. We see His holiness in His demand for righteousness. We see His wrath on those who repeatedly spurn His love. We see His amazing grace in inviting even the most unworthy into the joy of His salvation.
Think about weddings that you have attended. What makes a wedding banquet such an appropriate metaphor for salvation?
Which part of God's decree for Israel to enter into His salvation also applies to us today?