Gospel Insights

by Michael Smith

 

Chapter Eleven

GOD INVITES EVERYONE TO A BANQUET

Please read Matthew 22:1-14

 

Like many other parables of Jesus, this earthly story has a heavenly meaning.  It tells of a King (God Himself) who prepares a lavish banquet in order to celebrate the marriage of his Son (the Lord Jesus), and invites all who will to come and join in the celebrations.  The heavenly meaning is that God repeatedly invites all people to come to the cross for salvation, to follow Him in this life, and be with Him beyond the grave.  But sadly, as in the parable many refuse to come to the King's banquet, so too many refuse to come to the cross, which in the end results in their own eternal loss.

In the Middle East it was a very grave insult to refuse to attend a marriage feast if one received an invitation, so the hearers of this story knew exactly what Jesus meant when He said the result of refusing the invitation was social disgrace.  A person would become a social outcast.  This would obviously lead to lasting regret; described in the heavenly meaning as weeping and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness.

In the passage above (also in Luke 14) are given some of the excuses made for turning down the invitation, and we can see they differ little from the excuses people still make today for not following Christ when they hear the gospel.  The claims of work and business hold first place in the lives of many folk.  The god of mammon is their idol and they are too busy making money to pray or worship the God Who created them.  Others are absorbed with possessions or their pastimes or hobbies.  They live to watch TV and are hooked on endless soap operas and trivial 'reality' shows, or they spend all their spare time playing or watching a sport.  On a Sunday the shopping centres and supermarkets are open for hours and always crowded.  Even such God-given things as marriage and family life can crowd out the claims of God to be first in one's life.  All of these and others besides take precedence for many folk over a relationship with God Who loved them so much He came and laid down His life for them.

Though many excuses for not accepting God's invitation are not bad in themselves, they may eventually result in weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Why?  Because the rejection of God's gift of eternal life in favour of a lifetime spent on interests fleeting and inferior only leads to hell.  That is bluntly stated, but it is the truth nonetheless [1].

Through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, God has done everything possible to draw folk back to Him.  He has removed every barrier separating us from Him; all we have to do is accept His invitation, but sadly, many are not willing to give up the things they want to do and their excuses reflect this, yet God graciously continues to reach out to the unbeliever right up till their last breath, after which it is too late [2].  As the Scripture says, "to day if ye will hear his voice..." (Hebrews 3:7), not tomorrow - which never comes - or next week.  If something is really important to us, then we will always find time to do it, and what is more important for any of us than our eternal destiny?

At a wedding banquet the host - in this parable the king - would supply each guest with a lavish full-length robe, and as with the refusal of the invitation, it would show great disrespect to the host and be a gross insult to him not to wear the robe.  It would be a bit like visiting the Queen at Buckingham Palace wearing our shabbiest and grubbiest clothes, and such a person might well be refused entrance to Her Majesty's presence.  God, however, is our Creator and as King of kings is higher than any earthly Monarch or Emperor, and only a very foolish person would dare to come into His presence without due preparation; yet many just assume they can.  Some think they have lived a 'good life' and so will be accepted on that basis, but the Scriptures point out in no uncertain terms that even our 'good' works are as filthy rags to our Holy and Perfect God [3].  It is for this reason that God clothes us with His own royal robe of righteousness, which, if we accept it by faith, covers our many imperfections and shortcomings, so that God sees only the robe and joyously accepts us into His everlasting presence.

God has invited us to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; all we have to do is accept His invitation to be saved by faith.  What a wonderful God we have!

 

Footnotes

[1]  Proverbs 14:12.          [2]  Hebrews 9:27.          [3]  Isaiah 64:6-7.

 

 

 

Chapter Ten   |   Chapter Twelve   |   Back to Contents

 

 

Michael Smith 2013