April 20th, 2014
1 Corinthians 7:1-7, 32-35
“The Wedding Feast”
Bible Memory Verse for the Week: Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” — Revelation 19:9
- No real distinction can be made between Israel as the wife of Yahweh and the church as the bride of Christ; the church is also his wife. However, the consummation of this relationship is an eschatological event awaiting the return of Christ. Paul again likens the relationship of Christ to his church as that of a husband to his wife (Eph 5:25ff.), but the actual wedding is viewed as future when the church is “presented before him in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27). (George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, 248)
- The Book of Revelation is information about the state of the world and the church at the end of time. The world become more and more depraved and the church is more and more persecuted and abused. But, the bottom line is Jesus wins.
- The book of Revelation ends with Jesus cleaning up the mess in the world, coming back for His Bride (the Church) and taking her to live with Him forever in paradise restored (The Bible ends where it began in a perfect world in a perfect garden).
- Christ is both the Lamb and the shepherd of the sheep (Rv 7:17) and a conquering warrior as well (Rv 19:11ff.). So the church is both the bride and those invited. (George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, 250)
- In biblical times a marriage involved two major events, the betrothal and the wedding. These were normally separated by a period of time during which the two individuals were considered husband and wife and as such were under the obligations of faithfulness. The wedding began with a procession to the bride’s house, which was followed by a return to the house of the groom for the marriage feast. By analogy, the church, espoused to Christ by faith, now awaits the parousia when the heavenly groom will come for his bride and return to heaven for the marriage feast that lasts throughout eternity. (Robert H. Mounce, The New International Commentary on the NT: Revelation, 347)
- In a Hebrew setting, there was a waiting period between betrothal and wedding while the bride and bridegroom lived separately (Dt 22:23-24; Mt 1:18-19). During this period the two families involved arranged the terms of the dowry. When this sum was paid, the actual wedding followed. On that day, the bridegroom in procession accompanied by friends brought the bride from her parental home to his own home. There the wedding feast was held to celebrate the wedding. William Hendriksen presents a brief sketch of this nuptial sequence as he applies it to Christ and the church.
In Christ the bride was chosen from eternity. Throughout the entire OT dispensation the wedding was announced. Next, the Son of God assumed our flesh and blood: the betrothal took place. The price–the dowry–was paid on Calvary. And now, after an interval which in the eyes of God is but a little while, the Bridegroom returns and “It has come, the wedding of the Lamb.” The Church on earth yearns for this moment, so does the Church in heaven. (Simon Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Revelation, 514)
- The bridegroom, his ‘best man’ (called a ‘companion’) and his friends (called the sons of the bride-chamber) then took the bride back to his own or his parents’ home for a wedding feast to which all their friends were invited. The friends waited at the roadside in their best clothes and went in torchlight procession to the new home, sometimes with music and dancing. (Pat Alexander, The Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible, 167)
- Blessed art Thou, Who sanctifiest Israel by Chuppah and bethrothal–the whole being perhaps concluded by a benediction over the statutory cup of wine, which was tasted in turn by the betrothed. From that moment Mary was the betrothed wife of Joseph; their relationship as sacred, as if they had already been wedded. Any breach of it would be treated as adultery; nor could the band be dissolved except, as after marriage, by regular divorce. (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 1, 150)
- It must be borne in mind, that marriage conveyed to the Jews much higher thoughts than merely those of festivity and merriment. The pious fasted before it, confessing their sins. It was regarded almost as a Sacrament. Entrance into the married state was thought to carry the forgiveness of sins. It almost seems as if the relationship of Husband and Bride between Jehovah and His people, so frequently insisted upon, not only in the Bible, but in Rabbinic writings, had always been standing out in the background. Thus the bridal pair on the marriage-day symbolized the union of God with Israel. (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 1, 352-53)
- The expression, ‘sons of the bride-chamber,’ which means all invited guests, has the more significance, when we remember that the Covenant-union between God and Israel was not only compared to a marriage, but the Tabernacle and Temple designated as ‘the bridal chambers.’ (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 1, 663-64)
The questions to be answered are . . . Why all the fuss about Easter? What is the Hillsdale Free Methodist Church doing spending all of this money and investing all of these man-hours in putting on a party that (for some reason) strangely resembles a wedding reception? And why did my family wake me up at an ungodly hour on this Easter Sunday morning just to sit in a crowded room and listen to some preacher rant and rave for 30 minutes about something that has nothing to do with me and my life?
Answer: The fuss about Easter is that Christ is risen. Christ said some really radical things about what He came to do and accomplish. God’s raising Jesus from the dead on that first Easter morning was God’s authorization and confirmation that everything that Jesus said was true. We, as believers, see Easter as the greatest news ever and deserves our audacious and unrestrained celebrating. Since God, for the last 3500 years, has referred to believers as His Bride; God promised the day is coming when we will be able to celebrate in earnest that which today is only a teaser or appetizer.
Because of the general system of arranged marriages, marriage often came first and love afterwards, in the typically Eastern way. In the East love is understood much more as part of the will, in contrast to the frequent Western emphasis on the emotions. We can therefore be commanded to love God and Western notions of ‘falling in love with Christ’ are far removed from biblical concepts. (Pat Alexander, The Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible, 166)
The Word for the Day is . . . FEASTER
Where does the story line of a man fighting to save his country, home, family and then after winning goes back and gets the girl and rides into the sunset? Where does this universally relevant story-line come from? It comes from God.
I- The Lord has won the battle.
The resurrection is the proclamation of the fact that God is fully and completely satisfied with the work that His Son did upon the Cross. (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapters 3:20-4:25, 244)
– Sin (Col 1:13-14; Heb 2:14; 1 Jn 3:8)
If God had not raised Him from the grave we might draw the conclusion that our Lord was not able to bear the punishment of the guilt of our sins, that it was too much for Him, and that His death was the end. But He was raised from the dead; and in raising Him up God was proclaiming that His Son had completed the work, that full expiation has been made, that He is propitiated and completely satisfied. The resurrection declares that, and it is in that sense that He is “risen again for our justification.” It is there we see it clearly. The work was done on the Cross, but here is the proclamation that it is enough. (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapters 3:20-4:25, 244)
– Satan (FWS) (Jn 16:33; Rom 8:37; 1 Jn 5:4-5)
God not only destroys the kingdom of the Antichrist, but he also grants salvation to his people and gives them the honor of being wedded to his Son. His people rejoice because God has removed their enemy, and they express their thanks by rendering him praise and glory. (Simon Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Revelation, 514)
– Death (Isa 25:6-9; Rom 5:12-21; Rom 6:23; 1 Cor 15:24-27, 54-57; Heb 2:15)
But then it is not the individual as such who will share Christ’s victory over death. We shall share the victory by being in the Victor. (C. S. Lewis; The Weight of Glory, 39)
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Christian faith is a foolish fantasy. However, if the resurrection of Christ did occur, it confirms His life, message, and atoning work. It is the basis of our hope of life beyond the grave. Christ is alive, and the evidence is overwhelming. (Kurt E. DeHaan)
Death is the godly man’s wish, the wicked man’s fear. (Samuel Bolton; -The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, 46)
– Insecurity – hopelessness (Rom 8:18-39; 2 Cor 4:7-5:10)
You are familiar with the thought of the prospective bride’s hope-chest. How interested the engaged damsel is in preparing beautiful and spotless articles of wearing apparel in view of her wedding day. May I say that we too have a spiritual hope-chest to fill? Everything that is really done for Christ is something added to that bridal chest. Some of us, I am afraid, will have rather a poor supply. (H. A. Ironside, Lectures on the Book of Revelation, 322)
– Depraved Humanity (wrong garments) (Isa 61:10; Rom 13:14; 1 Cor 15:34-49; 2 Cor 4:7-5:10; Gal 3:27; Rv 3:4-5, 18)
The Son of Man has come unto the world to take upon Himself the sins of the world. If you want to follow Him you must be willing to do the same. (Jesus of Nazareth video)
1. You have here a description of the bride, how she appeared; not in the gay and gaudy dress of the mother of harlots, but in fine linen, clean and write, which is the righteousness of saints; in the robes of Christ’s righteousness, both imputed for justification and imparted for sanctification–the stola, the white robe of absolution, adoption, and enfranchisement, and the white robe of purity and universal holiness. She had washed her robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; and these her nuptial ornaments she did not purchase by any price of her own, but received them as the gift and grant of her blessed Lord. 2. The marriage-feast, which, though not particularly described (as Mt 22:4), yet is declared to be such as would make all those happy who were called to it, so called as to accept the invitation, a feast made up of the promises of the gospel, the true sayings of God, v. 9. (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Vol. VI, 1177)
(Isa 61:16) Sincere Jews knew that, contrary to the man-made, legalistic traditions of their rabbis, God not only requires inner righteousness of men but He also offers it as a gift. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary Matthew 16-23, 312)
For two whole distasteful chapters the complex magnificence of the whore has been detailed. But the wedding dress of the bride is utterly simple, and is described in half a verse: ‘fine linen, bright and pure…the righteous deeds of the saints’. From one point of view she has made the dress herself; she has worked out her own salvation (v. 7; Phil 2:12). From another, ‘it was given unto her’, for God has been at work in her (v. 8, RV; Phil 2:13). The second is the deeper truth, and is the one dwelt on by Paul in the passage in Eph 5:25-27 where he speaks of the marriage between Christ and the church. (Michael Wilcock, The Message of Revelation, 172)
The perfection in glory of the bride belongs to the eschatological future. In this figure, therefore, the now and the not yet of the NT doctrine of salvation in the kingdom of God is perfectly exemplified. The Church is the Bride of Christ now, but her marriage lies in the future. (G. R. Beasley-Murray, The New Century Bible Commentary: Revelation, 273-74)
The Bride made herself ready through repentance and faith and continuance in righteous deeds which are the fruit of faith (cf. The emphasis on ‘works’ in the seven letters, e.g., 2:2ff., 9, 13, 19, etc.). Yet it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen. Holiness is the gift of God. It is the holy life of the Redeemer in the redeemed. This duality characterizes the Christian life through all its stages (Phil 2:12f.) And finds its ultimate manifestation in the salvation and judgment which the kingdom of God brings. (G. R. Beasley-Murray, The New Century Bible Commentary: Revelation, 274)
It is well known to students of the original text that the word rendered “righteousness” in this verse is in the plural, and should therefore be translated “righteousnesses,” or “righteous acts.” It is not imputed righteousness that is here in view, nor the believer being made the righteousness of God in Christ. It is that which we have already seen in connection with the elders: the fine linen sets forth the righteous acts of the saints themselves, right-doing while here on earth, which the judgment-seat of Christ will make manifest, and which will form the wedding-garment of the bride on her nuptial day. (H. A. Ironside, Lectures on the Book of Revelation, 321)
While the bride must make herself ready for the marriage, her glorious raiment is not something she can acquire for herself; it must be granted her, i.e. given to her as a divine gift. The fine linen, bright and pure, stands in sharp contrast to the brilliant robes of the harlot. The wedding garment is a simple white garment which has been washed and “made…white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rv 7:14). . (George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, 249)
– Meaninglessness – insignificance (1 Cor 15:12-19, 29-32, 58; 2 Cor 4:7-5:1-0)
The Messiah was supposed to fight God’s victorious battle against the wicked pagans; to rebuild or cleanse the Temple; and to bring God’s justice to the world. Jesus, it appeared, had done none of these things. He had suffered the typical injustice of the world; he had mounted a strange and apparently ineffectual demonstration in the Temple; and he had died at the hands of the pagans rather than defeating them gloriously in battle. No Jew with any idea of how the language of messiahship worked could have possibly imagined, after his crucifixion, that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Lord’s anointed. But from very early on, as witnessed by what may be pre-Pauline fragments of early creedal belief, the Christians affirmed that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, precisely because of the resurrection. (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 47-48)
This is what the resurrection does: it opens the new world, in which, under the saving and judging lordship of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, everything else is to be seen in a new light. (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 244)
If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume, and in due course bearing fruit. The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving. You may be able to do it only for six weeks, just as you may be able to go without beer or tobacco only for the six weeks of Lent. But if you really make a start on it, it might give you a sniff of new possibilities, new hopes, new ventures you never dreamed of. It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life. It might help you wake up in a whole new way. And that’s what Easter is all about. (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 257)
When Paul wrote his great resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, he didn’t end by saying, “So let’s celebrate the great future life that awaits us.” He ended by saying, “So get on with your work because you know that in the Lord it won’t go to waste.” When the final resurrection occurs, as the centerpiece of God’s new creation, we will discover that everything done in the present world in the power of Jesus’ own resurrection will be celebrated and included, appropriately transformed. (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 294)
II- The Lord will come back for His Bride. (John 14:1-6; 1 Cor 15:51-54; 1 Thes 4:13-18; Heb ch 11; Rv 19:1-17; 20:4; 21:1-22:17)
So Matthew gives us the clear message of what the resurrection means: Jesus is now enthroned as the Lord of heaven and earth. His kingdom has been established. And this kingdom is to be put into practice by his followers summoning all nations to obedient allegiance to him, marking them out in baptism. The closing line draws together the major themes of the gospel: the Emmanuel, the God-with-us, is now Jesus-with-us until the final end of the old age, the time when the new age, which has been inaugurated in the resurrection, has completed its transforming work in the world. (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 235)
III- The Lord will ride into the sunset and live happily ever after—partying forever with his Bride (the Church). (Isa 25:6-8; Mt 22:1-14; Mk 14:25; Rev 19:6-7; 21:5; 22:17)
Oxen and calves were food only the wealthy could afford. This was a grand feast. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary, 428)
In the ancient Near East, a wedding feast was inseparable from the wedding itself, which involved a week-long series of meals and festivities and was the highlight of all social life. For a royal wedding such as the one Jesus mentions here, the celebration often lasted for several weeks. Guests were invited to stay at the house of the groom’s parents for the entire occasion, and the father would make as elaborate provisions as he could afford. A royal wedding, of course, would be held in the palace, and a king would be able to afford whatever he desired.
A wedding feast that a king prepared for his son would be a feast of all feasts, and Jesus was therefore picturing the most elaborate celebration imaginable. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary Matthew 16-23, 305)
Attending the royal wedding would be an even greater experience than receiving the invitation, and it would have provided the finest food and the most prestigious fellowship in the land. Not only that, but an invitation from one’s king not only brought honor but obligation. It was a serious offense to spurn the king’s favor. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary Matthew 16-23, 306)
Few monarchs were known for their humility and patience, especially in the face of open insult. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary Matthew 16-23, 306)
I make two preliminary observations. First, verses 6-8 feature the last hymn in both this chapter and the NT. The hymn is the so-called wedding song to celebrate the coming together of bride and bridegroom for the nuptial ceremony and the supper to which invited guests may come.
Next, the sounds that introduce this wedding song John compares with three disparate groups: a vast multitude, many waters, and peals of thunder. He uses images of human life on earth that describe a scene in heaven. (Simon Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Revelation, 512)
The voice that John hears he compares with sounds taken from nature: the sounds of many waters and of mighty peals of thunder. John describes the voice of Jesus’ appearance on the isle of Patmos as a rushing sound coming from many waters (1:15; see 14:2; Ez 1:24; 43:2). And the phrase mighty peals of thunder conveys the idea of loudness that can be heard everywhere (Rv 6:1; 14:2). These two phrases indeed point to God’s power, majesty, and glory. And the mighty voice of the countless multitude attests to expressions of joy and thankfulness for the privilege of being the bride of Christ. (Simon Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Revelation, 513)
John next writes, “And his wife has prepared herself.” How does she ready herself for the wedding? John answers by saying that she is given fine linen to wear that is bright and clean. The bride can prepare herself only when God provides the wedding gown for her, because this garment is beautiful and pure. Her own clothes are but filthy rags, but Christ cleanses and presents her to himself (without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish” (Eph 5:26, 27; see Isa 61:10). Nevertheless, what are the obligations of the bride of the Lamb while she is still on earth? These obligations are to be faithful to the bridegroom, to show him her love and devotion, and to wait expectantly for his coming. But the clothing provided for her must be seen as an unconditional gift of God. This fine garment she receives is nothing but an act of grace granted her by God. There is more. The saints who washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb to make them white are now collectively called the bride. And the fine linen bright and clean is the same garment the armies of heaven wear as they follow Christ in the war against the anti-Christian forces (v. 14). (Simon Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Revelation, 514-15)
In Lk 13:29 Jesus speaks of those from all points of the compass who will come and take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Later in his ministry he foretells a day when he will drink the fruit of the vine anew with his disciples in the kingdom of his Father (Mt 26:29). Such promises cause the believer to anticipate with joy the great messianic banquet that will celebrate the long-awaited marriage of the Lamb and his bride the church. Note that in vv. 7-9 the church is pictured both as the bride and as the guests who are invited to the wedding. Far from constituting a contradiction, this sort of freedom is a normal characteristic of apocalyptic writing. (Robert H. Mounce, The New International Commentary on the NT: Revelation, 348-49)
The most frequent reference in the NT to the Church as the bride of Christ occurs in Revelation. John applies the image not to the redeemed community directly, but rather to the heavenly Jerusalem which descends from heaven to a transformed earth. The heavenly Jerusalem is itself a symbol for the Church (Aune, 146-48). The appropriateness of the bridal imagery in the context of the eschatological consummation lies in the fact that Judaism compared the messianic age to a marriage of God and Israel (SB, I, 500ff.), as well as to a wedding feast. The fine clothing of the bride symbolizes the righteous deeds of the saints (Rv 19:8), and the comparison of the heavenly Jerusalem with a bride adorned for her husband (alluding to Isa 61:10) emphasizes the readiness and anxious anticipation of the Church for Christ (Rv 21:2; 22:17). (Geoffrey Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia–Volume 1, 547)
But who are the invited? They are believers in Christ, who have heard and responded to the invitation of the Lamb to exercise repentance and faith. Accordingly a double symbolism is employed in this picture. In verse 7 the followers of the Lamb constitute the Bride, whose marriage the feast will celebrate. In verse 9 they are the guests at the feast. (G. R. Beasley-Murray, The New Century Bible Commentary: Revelation, 275)
Jesus had turned the messianic banquet into a wedding feast, but in his wedding parables the central figure was the bridegroom. Here attention is focused on the bride. The wedding day has come because the bride has made herself ready, and her readiness is symbolized by her wedding-dress. This dress is not of her own making; like the white robes of the martyrs to which it is closely related, it is given to her (cf. 6:11). It is made of a linen which signifies the sanctity of God’s people, a sanctity achieved in the great ordeal by those who ‘washed their robes and made them white in the life-blood of the Lamb’ (7:14). It is martyrdom which has provided the prothalamium to the wedding of the Lamb. (G. B. Caird, Harper’s NT Commentaries: The Revelation of St. John the Divine, 234)
IV- Will you be ready to party? (Mt 22:1-14; 24:42-44; 25:1-46; Mk 13:23-37; Lk 12:35-40; 21:5-36; 1 Thes 5:1-11)
In this culture, two invitations were expected when banquets were given. The first asked the guests to attend; the second announced that all was ready. When the king sent his slaves to call those who had been invited, this referred to the second invitation. These invitees had already accepted the first invitation. At this second one, however, these guests said they would not come. Not only that, but they refused yet another invitation, as described in 22:4-6. Like the son who said he would go to the vineyard and didn’t (21:30) and the tenant farmers who refused to pay the rent (21:34-39), these guests reneged on an earlier agreement. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary, 428)
The meal was ready, the king had made great preparations, but these guests placed a higher priority on their farms and businesses, deciding not to go to the great banquet. The Messiah had arrived, yet they went about their daily business as if nothing important were happening. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary, 428)
They were so selfishly preoccupied with personal concerns for profit that the invitation and the repeated calls of the king to stop work and attend his son’s wedding were altogether ignored. They willingly and purposely forfeited the beauty, grandeur, and honor of the wedding for the sake of their everyday, mundane, self-serving endeavors. They were not concerned about the king’s honor but only about what they perceived as their own best interests. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary Matthew 16-23, 306)
It seems clear that the son for whom the king arranged this great marriage and feast was the crown prince. I cannot imagine a more significant social event in any kingdom than the marriage of the crown prince. The king wants to honor his son on the occasion of his wedding by means of a feast to end all feasts. It is an incredible honor to receive an invitation from the palace to observe the marriage ceremony and to join in the celebration. (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 626)
The servants went out to people who had received invitations earlier. It was not that these invitees were incapable of coming or were too busy to come. In other words, it was not that they could not come; they simply would not come. (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 626)
We know from other passages of Scripture that those who refuse God’s invitation to come to the wedding feast designed for His Son really cannot come, for they are dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). The Lord Jesus Himself said on one occasion, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (Jn 6:44a). So, it would be easy to conclude that it was not really the case that these invitees would not come; rather, they could not come because their hearts needed to be changed so that they would have a desire or disposition to come. That is all true, but it is also true that we cannot do what we will not do. Thus, there is a sense in which these people could not come to the feast precisely because they would not. (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 626-27)
In modern evangelicalism, the customary way of doing evangelism is to invite people to place their trust in Christ. However, that concept is virtually foreign to the Scriptures. God does not invite people to come to Christ; He commands them to come. The invitation in Jesus’ parable was no different. The invitees were given a royal summons. (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 627)
This is consistent with what the Bible universally teaches about human responses at the day of judgment, where every human being will be brought to the tribunal of God and the sins of every one of them will be made manifest. We are told in Scripture that every person will be silent before Him (Ps 76:8-9; Zeph 1:7; Zech 2:13). When we stand before an omniscient God who knows everything we have ever done or thought, what excuse can we give Him? (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 630)
It is not the externally righteous or healthy but sinners and the sick who are invited to the kingdom of heaven (5:20; 9:12-13). Only those who recognize their personal helplessness (like a sick person or child, e.g., 9:12-13; 18:2-3) cast aside their self-reliance and self-worthiness to accept the grace of God. (Michael Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 717)
When they ignore this second invitation, having already accepted the first, they are going back on their word, like the second son in 21:30 and like the tenant farmers whose acceptance of their tenancy carried with it the obligation to pay the rent. . . they are “insulting the dignity of the king.” (RT France, The Gospel of Matthew, 824)
More genuine harm has been done by the neglect of busy people than by the actions of evil people. (Steve Brown message “Invitation to a Party” from Mt 22:1-14 )
From the appearance and the fate of the Unprepared Guest we learned, that not every one who, following the Gospel-call, comes to the Gospel-feast, will be allowed to partake of it; but that God will search and try each one individually. There is, indeed, a society of guests–the Church; but we must not expect either that the Church will, while on earth, be wholly pure, or that its purification will be achieved by man. Each guest may, indeed, come to the banqueting-hall, but the final judgment as to his worthiness belongs to God. (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 454)
Worship point: Are you kidding? If you are not able to worship in light of what God has done for us; you are either not paying attention, spiritually dead, or have such a hard heart and a stiff-neck that without God’s conquering you there is no hope for your salvation and ever becoming part of the Body or Bride of Christ.
Everything sad will become untrue.
There was a defining moment in my spiritual life. It happened when I realized that if I insisted on becoming consumed by every major sporting event or political race, every move of the stock market, or even every worry of parenting, if I let these things seize my heart, I simply could not enter into a true celebration of the Sabbath or the joy of a baptism, or the Lord’s Supper, or Christmas or Easter, or any other true and significant celebration. I have learned the necessity of “guarding my heart” (Prv 4:23) because my heart does not have an infinite capacity to rejoice or be alarmed. By becoming preoccupied with passing things, I exhaust my heart’s ability to care about the things that really do matter. (Gary L. Thomas, Seeking the Face of God, 110)
Spiritual Challenge: Like the Apostles Peter, Paul and John; look to the future glory of heaven and see that the hope we have in that future home trumps any of the suffering, pain, sorrow and loss we might have to endure on this Fallen Planet with its FWS. We will celebrate as the Bride of the King forever!
The only people who are welcome at the marriage supper of the Lamb are those who are extremely honored and humbled to be invited at all. (Steve Brown message “Invitation to a Party” from Mt 22:1-14 )
Before he went to the cross, Jesus had a last supper with his disciples. He announced at the meal’s conclusion, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Mt 26:29). The church’s ongoing celebration of the Eucharist, or communion, is an eschatological event looking forward to that time. As Paul wrote, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). The wedding supper thus becomes a reunion dinner when for the first time his bride can drink the cup and break bread together with him. (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 4, 355)