“Emmanuel’s Banquet” – Matthew 22:1-14

May 8th, 2016

Matthew 22:1-14 (see also Luke 14:16-24)

“Emmanuel’s Banquet”

Auxiliary Text: Revelation 19:6-9

Call to Worship from: Psalm 36

 

Service Orientation:  Jesus wants you to come to the King’s great wedding feast in heaven.  Refusing to come is bad enough.  Refusing to come without proper apparel is worse.  Refusing to become the Bride of Christ at His wedding feast is devastatingly catastrophic.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. — Galatians 3:26-27

 

Background Information:

  • It has been pointed out that this day of controversy seems to have begun with 21:23 and continued to 25:46. Little wonder that He was exhausted and succumbed on the cross much more quickly than did most victims.  (J. Oswald Sanders, Bible Studies in Matthew’s Gospel, 117)
  • (v. 2) Although the son was killed in the previous parable, here he is alive again. As Jesus tells these parables on Tuesday of Holy Week, he is saying that Good Friday will most certainly be followed by Easter Sunday.  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 310)
  • (v. 2) 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)

  • (v. 3) Among the Mohammedans, refusal to come to a marriage feast, when invited, is considered a breach of the law of God (Hedayah, vol. 4, 91). It was probably considered in this light among all the oriental nations.  This observation is necessary, in order to point out more forcibly, the iniquity of the refusal mentioned in the text.  (Adam Clarke, Commentary and Critical Notes Vol 3, 202)

(v. 3) That it was not unusual among the Jews first to send out a general invitation and then later to invite those that had been called appears not only from Est 5:8; 6:14, but also from “the boast of the men of Jerusalem that no one of them went to a banquet unless he were twice invited.”  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 793)

  • (v. 3) The “servants” sent first naturally suggest the OT prophets, just as in the preceding parable (21:34, 35), for it was through Moses and Elijah, through Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all the other prophets, that God next addressed Israel. I can see no good reason to interpret these “servants” differently here than in the parable of The Wicked Tenants.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 794)
  • (v. 2) Oxen and calves were food only the wealthy could afford. This was a grand feast.  .  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary, 428)
  • (v. 4) The second group of servants naturally suggest John the Baptist, Jesus himself, and his “disciples” (twelve, seventy, Stephen, Paul, etc.). (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 794)

(v. 6) The king’s servants (“servants” are mentioned five times) represent those who offered the gospel invitation, including the prophets, but especially the apostles and their first ministry teammates and successors.  From Jesus’ resurrection to the destruction of the temple, this lot had endured quite a lot of persecution.  Think of the shameful treatment of Peter and Paul.  Think of the stoning of Stephen and the beheading (“killed…with the sword,” Acts 12:2) of James.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 623)

  • (v. 7) 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)
  • (v. 7) It is interesting to note that to speak of the burning of the city rather than the temple corresponds to Josephus’ account of what the Roman devastation to the troops of the king (God) echoes the robust theology of the OT prophets who hailed pagan conquerors as God’s instruments (Isa 10:5-11; 44:28-45:7; Jer 25:9, etc.). the phrase “their city” thus depicts the devastating result of the failure of Jerusalem’s current leadership; Jerusalem is now no longer God’s city but “theirs,” and the community as a whole is implicated in their rebellion and its punishment, as had so often happened in the past when Israel’s sins had led to the city’s destruction by invading armies.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 825)
  • (v. 7) It appears that the invited guests had a city of their own. Dropping the figure, it is clear that the reference is to Jerusalem.  Its destruction (A.D. 70) is here clearly predicted.  See also 21:40-43; 23:37, 38; 24:1, 2, 15 ff.; Lk 19:41-44.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 795)
  • (v. 8) These verses strongly remind one of the parable of The Wicked Tenants. In both parables the patience and persistence shown by the Sender is stressed.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 793)
  • (v. 10) The NIV has, for readability’s sake, distorted the order here.  The original manuscript read “bad and good” not good and bad.  Many believe Jesus gave this order to shock his hearers into the radical concept He was presenting here.
  • (v. 10) In the parable no expense had been spared to provide the feast and now no effort was spared to invite people to it. “And the wedding was furnished with guests.”  An assortment of people responded, “both bad and good” (Mt 22:10).  The word translated “bad” here is pon ros, which refers to the natural depravity of mankind, the wicked behavior of our evil nature.  (John Phillips, Exploring the Gospels: Matthew, 418)
  • (v. 14) “Many” (polloi) without the article is a common Semitic universalizing expression, which is normally translated “everyone” or “all” (cf. 20:28). (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 718)
  • (v. 14) By the expression “many are invited,” Jesus points to a universal invitation to the kingdom of heaven. (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 718)
  • (v. 14) The counterbalancing point in the second half of the saying, “but few are chosen,” emphasizes that not all who are invited are chosen. This does not specify the actual amount but rather points to the divine perspective of the preceding parables.  Those chosen are “the elect,” which for Jesus is an alternative expression for his true disciples (cf. 11:27; 24:22, 24, 31).  Israel and her leadership had been known as the “chosen,” but even their privilege is lost through unresponsiveness to Jesus’ invitation to the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, while there is an open invitation to the kingdom, from the divine perspective it is only God’s sovereign choice that effects salvation.  From a human perspective it is only those who respond to the call appropriately that are part of the banquet.  Only an appropriate response reveals God’s divine election.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 718)

 

The question to be answered is . . . What is Jesus telling us in this parable?

 

Answer: The Kingdom of Heaven is a wedding party you don’t want to miss.  Especially if you are the Bride of Christ.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Come

 

What is Jesus telling us in this parable?:

I-  You must be stupid, wicked, or ignorant to blow off God’s gracious invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb (King’s Son).  (Mt 22:1-7; see also: Prv 9:2-5; Isa 1:18-19; 25:6; Mt 8:11-12; 26:29;  Lk 14:15-20; Jn 2:1-11; Rom 8:18-25; 1 Cor 2:9; 2 Cor 4:7-5:10; Eph 3:20-21; 1 Pt 1:3-9; Rv 19:6-9)

 

Why didn’t they come?

Verse 5 says literally, “They didn’t care.”  They saw what was offered and they didn’t think it was as good as what they had.   And so they were indifferent.  But, verse 6 shows us that underneath the indifference was a hostility.  Because we see here that the rest seized his servants and mistreated them and killed them.  (Tim Keller, Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

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)

 

Their unworthiness was not because in themselves they lacked the required righteousness.  Neither the original invitation nor the subsequent calls were based on merit but solely on the king’s gracious favor.  Ironically and tragically, they were declared to be not worthy because they refused an invitation that was in no way based on worth.  As the parable goes on to make clear (v. 10), “both evil and good” people were called.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 309)

 

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)

 

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)

 

His invitation is to joy.  To think of Christianity as a gloomy giving up of everything which brings laughter and sunshine and happy fellowship is to mistake its whole nature.  It is to joy that Christians are invited; and it is joy they miss, if they refuse the invitation.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 311-2)

 

It is very easy to be so busy with the things of the present that the things of eternity are forgotten, to be so preoccupied with the things which are seen that the things which are unseen are forgotten, to hear so insistently the claims of the world that the soft invitation of the voice of Christ cannot be heard.  The tragedy of life is that it is so often the second bests which shut out the bests, that it is things which are good in themselves which shut out the things that are supreme.  We can be so busy making a living that we fail to make a life; we can be so busy with the administration and the organization of life that we forget life itself.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 312)

 

By these words Christ pronounces the Jews to have been so entirely devoted to the world and to earthly things, that no man found leisure to approach to God; for the cares of this world, when we become entangled by them, are so many impediments in our way to keep us back from the kingdom of God.  It is truly base and shameful, that men who were created for a heavenly life, should be under the influence of such brutish stupidity, as to be entirely carried away after transitory things.  But this disease is universally prevalent; so that hardly one person in a hundred can be found, who prefers the kingdom of God to fading riches, or to any other kind of advantages.  Though all are not infected with the same disease, every man is led away by his desires; in consequence of which, all are wandering in various directions.  (John Calvin, Commentaries, Vol. XVI, 171)

 

Wedding feasts are usually rich, free, and joyful.  The first miracle Christ wrought, was, to make plentiful provision for a wedding feast (Jn 2:7); and surely then he will not be wanting in provision for his own wedding feast, when the marriage of the Lamb is come, and the bride hath made herself ready, a victorious triumphant feast, Rv 19:7, 17, 18).  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 312)

 

In the honor-shame society of Jesus’ world, the king would have been the most honored person in the region.  For him to invite guests to the wedding banquet of his son would have been an act of bestowing honor or status upon those guests.  For the guests to refuse to come not only rejected the offered honor, it also would have brought shame and dishonor both to the guests and to the king.  The guests’ refusal of the king’s invitation was culturally incomprehensible.  (Roger L. Hahn, Matthew: A Commentary for Bible Students, 260)

 

Jesus did woo by word and deed. But the emphasis here is that God sent his prophets; then God sent his apostles.  God sent his servants to Israel and to Israel alone.  They shouted, “The feast is ready.  Come to the feast.”  They invited Israel to a wedding, not to a wake (the word “wedding” is used eight times), a feast, not a famine.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 624)

 

“Good” people are doing their “good” work but are ignoring the good news of their great God, and that might possibly be the most damning influence in the world today.  Don’t let your occupation preoccupy your soul.  Don’t lose your life by making a living.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 624)

 

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”)

 

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)

 

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, 626-7)

 

The refusal of God’s proffered grace is even more certain to awake that awful reality, the wrath of God, than the failure to render the fruits of the good possessed.  Love repelled and thrown back on itself cannot but become wrath.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, St. Matthew 9-17, 131)

 

The reason for their refusal is not spelled out, but the way the servants were treated suggests what it was.  They “seized” the servants, “mistreated them and killed them” (v. 6).  If the invited guests felt that way toward the servants, they obviously felt that way toward the king who had sent them and would have seized, mistreated, and killed him if they could have done so.  In other words, they would not come because they actually despised the king and were hostile to him.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 467)

 

When the invitations to a great feast, like a wedding feast, were sent out, the time was not stated; and when everything was ready, the servants were sent out with a final summons to tell the guests to come.  So, the king in this parable had long ago sent out his invitations; but it was not until everything was prepared that the final summons was issued–and insultingly refused.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 310)

 

Those who would not come were punished, but their real tragedy was that they lost the joy of the wedding feast.  If we refuse the invitation of Christ, some day our greatest pain will lie not in the things we suffer but in the realization of the precious things we have missed.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 312)

 

Gospel calls and offers are represented by an invitation to this feast.  Those that make a feast will have guests to grace the feast with.  God’s guests are the children of men.  Lord, what is man, that he should be thus dignified!  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 312)

 

They whose feet should have been beautiful, because they brought the glad tidings of the solemn feasts (Nah 1:15), were treated as the offscouring of all things, 1 Cor 4:13.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 314)

 

Note, It is not owing to God, that sinners perish, but to themselves.  Thus, when Israel of old was within sight of Canaan, the land of promise was ready, the milk and honey ready but their unbelief and murmuring, and contempt of that pleasant land, shut them out, and their carcasses were left to perish in the wilderness; and these things happened to them for examples.  See 1 Cor 10:11; Heb 3:6-4:1.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 314)

 

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)

 

This once again points to the accountability of everyone’s response to Jesus’ invitation to the kingdom of heaven.  The privileged religious leaders are judged for rejecting the invitation (22:7), and the populace of Israel, who also are privileged to be the children of God, will be judged for their response to the kingdom.  But even Jesus’ professing disciples, such as Judas (called “friend” in 26:50), are culpable for what they ultimately do with the invitation.  Not all who respond do so from the heart.  This is the point of all three parables of judgment (21:28-32, 33-46; 22:1-14).  Any who insult God’s gracious offer of the kingdom of heaven by presuming on it without honoring the Son will receive due judgment.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 717-8)

 

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)

 

The servant goes to those who had already been invited and says, “Come now.”  But, they don’t.

 

II-  Bad and good are invited but neither are good enough to come as they are.  (Mt 22:8-12; see also: Isa 64:6; Ez 16:1-14; Lk 14:21-23; Rom 3:21-5:19; 10:4, 12-13; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:26-4:7; Eph 2:8-9; Phil 3:9; Col 2:6-3:14)  

 

Jesus is saying, “I will take anybody.   Your record means nothing.”  But on the other hand, He says, “You can’t just come in as you are.”  (Tim Keller; Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

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)

 

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”)

 

If the feast had gone on as usual it would have been only one among many such things; but now this royal banquet was the only one of its kind, unique, unparalleled.  To gather in poor men off the streets, laboring men and idle men, bad men and good men, to the wedding of the Crown Prince–this was a new thing under the sun.  Everybody talked of it.  There were songs made about it, and these were sung in the King’s honor where none honored kings before.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 470)

 

The deliberately indiscriminate nature of this second wave of invitations reflects the open offer of the good news through the ministry of Jesus, and the fact that “bad as well as good” respond to it depicts the messy reality of church life.  This is an uncomfortable parable for advocates of a “pure church” ecclesiology.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 826)

 

This speechless character represents a superficial response to Christ’s gospel.  Such persons view the gracious invitation of the gospel as a mere formality.  They assume themselves worthy of the invitation.  What others receive as grace, they take for granted.  They are unwilling or incapable of seeing themselves honestly.  Therefore, when God confronts their unworthiness, they can say nothing.

We dare not consider the invitation of Christ lightly.  We must be ready to meet the One who invites us into the kingdom of heaven.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 430)

 

The fact that both good and bad are brought into the kingdom or visible church has been explained in connection with the parable of The Dragnet; see on 13:47-50.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 796)

 

The fact that through the sacrifice of Christ and the leading of the Spirit salvation is now for all, entirely regardless of race, nationality, sex, social standing, etc., and that no nation–whether British, Jewish, Dutch Swedish, German or whatever–has any special standing before God is clear also from such other passages at Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47; Jn 10:16; Rom 10:12, 13; 1 Cor 7:19; Gal 3:9, 29; Eph 2:14, 18; Phil 3:2; Col 3:11; etc.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 796)

 

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, 348-9)

 

There are two ways of sinning against God’s merciful gift:  the one is refusing to accept it; the other is taking it in outward seeming, but continuing in sin.  The former was the sin of the Jews; the latter is the sin of nominal Christians.  We may briefly note the points of this appendix to the parable.  The first is the indiscriminate invitation, which is more emphatically marked as being so, by the mention of the “bad” before the good among the guests.  God’s offer is for all, and, in a very real sense, is specially sent to the worst, just as the doctor goes first to the most severely wounded.  So the motley crew, without the least attempt at discrimination, are seated at the table.  If the Church understands its business, it will have nothing to do in its message with distinctions of character any more than of class, but, if it makes any difference, will give the outcast and disreputable the first place in its efforts.  Is that what it does?  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, St. Matthew 9-17, 132-3)

 

What the prophets had obscurely foretold about creating a new church is now plainly expressed.  This dishonor was the completion of the divine vengeance on the Jews, when God cut them off, and ingrafted wild branches into the stock of the olive-tree, (Rom 9:17) when he threw them off, and received the polluted and filthy Gentiles into his house.  But if at that time he spared not the natural branches, (Rom 9:21), the same punishment will this day be inflicted on us, if we do not answer to his call.  (John Calvin, Commentaries, Vol. XVI, 172)

 

Let the servants, then, go out to the country, to the places where the main streets leading out of the city stop and divide (branch off) into side streets.  From all of these crossings or outlets let the servants pick up as many people as they can find, never mind whether the newly invited ones are in good standing with their fellow citizens or not.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 796)

 

This “good and bad” has reference only to human standards of judgment.  It does not mean that in the final analysis those who in God’s eyes are and remain “bad” are destined for the joys of the new heaven and earth.  Verses 11;14, “the missing wedding robe,” will make this clear.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 796)

 

III-  To be spared eternal punishment, you must come and wear the King’s garment to be chosen and not just invited.  (Mt 22:13-14; see also: Job 29:14; Ps 132:9; Isa 61:10; Zech 3:3-5; Zeph 1:7-8; Mt 8:11-12; 13:42-50; 24:51; 25:30; Lk 13:28; Rom 13:14;  Gal 3:26-27; Col 3:10-12; Rv 3:4, 18; 6:11; 7:9-14; 19:6-9)  

 

God at His expense, at an infinite expense, will take anyone.  And your record means nothing.  And your social-economic record means nothing.  And your standing means nothing.  You come into the feast of the Son not by being fit; but, by admitting you are not fit, and by letting the Lord clothe you.  (Tim Keller; Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

There are many people . . .who say, “Yes, I don’t believe like the Pharisees.  That idea that you earn your place.  I don’t believe in a god of wrath.  I don’t believe in a god who punishes people.  I don’t believe in that god.   I believe in a god who accepts everyone just as they are.

Now, if you believe that, with all due respect; you’re coming in without a wedding garment.  (Tim Keller; Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

The king will soon come in to see the guests; have we or have we not got on the wedding garment?  Have we put on Christ?  That is the grand question that arises out of this parable.  May we never rest till we can give a satisfactory answer!  May those heart-searching words daily ring in our ears, “Many are invited, but few are chosen” (v. 14).  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 205)

 

In such a grand celebration garments were provided by the host, and the parable indicates that the guest’s neglect was culpable because he had failed to avail himself of the provision freely made and elected to appear in his own garments.

There is an absolute requirement for entrance into God’s Kingdom.  We must be clothed in Christ’s righteousness which is imputed to us upon repentance and faith.  Paul puts it:  “That I might be found in him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God through faith” (Phil 3:9).  (J. Oswald Sanders, Bible Studies in Matthew’s Gospel, 118)

 

This parable has nothing to do with the clothes in which we go to church; it has everything to do with the spirit in which we go to God’s house.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 315)

 

That man was fully accountable for being improperly dressed, but the gracious king nevertheless gave him an opportunity to justify himself, asking with undeserved respect, “Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?”  Had the man had a good reason, he would certainly have mentioned it immediately.  But he was speechless, unable to offer the king even the feeblest excuse.  It is therefore obvious that he could have come in wedding clothes had he been willing.

Until that point the man had been utterly presumptuous, thinking he could come to the king’s feast on his own terms, in any clothes he wanted.  He was proud and self-willed, thoughtless of the others, and, worst of all, insulting to the king.  Arrogantly defying royal protocol, he was determined to “be himself.”  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 311)

 

As to the wedding-garment, is it faith, or is it a holy life?  This is a useless controversy; for faith cannot be separated from good works, nor do good works proceed from any other source than from faith.  But Christ intended only to state, that the Lord calls us on the express condition of our being renewed by the Spirit after his image; and that, in order to our remaining permanently in his house, we must put off the old man with his pollutions, (Col 3:9; Eph 4:22), and lead a new life, that the garment may correspond to so honorable a calling.  (John Calvin, Commentaries, Vol. XVI, 174)

 

Those, and those only, who put on the Lord Jesus, that have a Christian temper of mind, and are adorned with Christian graces, who live by faith in Christ, and to whom he is all in all, have the wedding garment.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 315)

 

We do know, however, a. that in all probability guests such as these did not themselves have such a robe and could not have obtained it in any other way; b. that the king expected each guest to be decked in a robe fit to be worn to a royal wedding; c. that the man who lacked this robe was not able to offer any excuse for not having one (v. 12); d. that among the many scriptural passages which have been cited by those who favor the idea of an offered robe there are at least a few that may well be considered applicable, by way of analogy, to the present situation:  “He said to the man in charge of the wardrobe, Bring out the vestments for the servants of Baal” (2 Kgs 10:22); “Let us be glad and triumphant, and let us give him the glory, for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; fine linen was given her to wear, bright and clean, for fine linen indicates the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rv 19:7, 8; cf. Isa 61:10); and e. that historical evidence indicating that in the Near East even in post-biblical times a person who wished to enter the king’s presence was required to wear a robe sent to him by the monarch is not completely lacking.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 797-8)

 

Drawing on some evidence for a king in the ancient world supplying festal garments for guests (Gn 45:22; Est 6:8-9), some have understood this as an allusion to the imputed righteousness that Jesus hinted at early in his ministry (Mt 5:20), and which Paul will later enunciate (e.g., Rom 3:21-31; 4:22-25).  Others suggest this refers to clean garments as opposed to dirty ones, symbolizing not works meriting salvation but evidential works of righteousness.  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Vol 1, 134)

 

I have to speak to us baby boomers here.   You remember how we used to hate dressing up?   Remember how we thought it was cool to wear jeans to a wedding?   We were the first ones in 500 years to do it.  Remember that?   Because we thought it was empty formalism.

Listen, its not empty formalism.  Its not convention.   The reason (you dress up) when somebody gives you the honor of inviting you into something at the heart of that person, you dress up; you go to the expense . . . to show honor and respect for this person who has put out for you.   But, this man thought that he could go right into the king.  This man thought that his everyday wear was fine.  This man thought that he could come as he was.  He was certainly good enough.  (Tim Keller; Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

The Oriental prince was accounted rich and noble in proportion as he piled up in his wardrobes thousands of robes for wedding feasts and gala occasions.  It was his business to supply the guests with garments.  So with regard to this great feast in his kingdom; he who finds the feast, finds the robe, and if we go into his banquet we must go in clothed with his garments; there must be nothing of our own in that gorgeous and grand delight.  (Joseph Parker, Christ’s Finished Work, Studies in Matthew 16-28, 103)

 

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)

 

The man who was not wearing wedding clothes calls to mind the traditional prayer of preparation for Holy Communion, “Strip off from us the spotted garments of our flesh, and of our own righteousness, and adorn us with the garments of the righteousness that Thou hast purchased with Thy blood.”  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 312)

 

He is addressed by the king as friend (hetairos), a term used only by Matthew in the NT and always of those whose actions run counter to what the term normally implies (cf. 20:13; 26:50).  Only if this paragraph belonged with the preceding would there be any reason to wonder why a king who brought in people off the street now questions why they are not properly dressed.  Wedding garments speak of the “new life of good works which is to follow the preaching of the gospel” (Fenton, 350).  In a similar context, Rv 19:8 interprets the fine linen worn by the bride of the Lamb as “the righteous acts of the saints.”  The verses warn believers that without a changed life they will be rejected at the Last Judgment.  (Robert H. Mounce, New International Biblical Commentary: Matthew, 206)

 

This wedding guest did what many people do today:  they profess Christ while their lives show no evidence of saving faith.  Such people are ungrateful to God, and their obstinacy when confronted reveals a deep-seated desire to read or hear His Word.  They continue to pursue the fleeting and empty false joys that this world has to offer, but they end up miserable and angry at God.  In the end, this is a story of eternal rejection.  This wedding guest, and nominal Christians in general, reject God, until He finally rejects them.  They are rightly punished and cast into darkness forever.  The Bible speaks of excruciating pain in a place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 13).  This horrifying judgment is the direct result of rejecting God.  Oh, how we need to hear the King’s gracious invitation and come to Him in repentance!  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 292)

 

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 true that the door is open to everyone, but when people come they must bring a life which seeks to fit the love which has been given to them.  Grace is not only a gift; it is a grave responsibility.  We cannot go on living the life we lived before we met Jesus Christ.  We must be clothed in a new purity and a new holiness and a new goodness.  The door is open, but the door is not open for the sinner to come and remain a sinner, but for the sinner to come and become a saint.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 315)

 

If we go to visit in a friend’s house, we do not go in the clothes we wear on the building site or in the garden.  We know very well that it is not the clothes which matter to the friend.  It is not that we want to put on a show.  It is simply a matter of respect that we should present ourselves in our friend’s house as neatly as we can.  The fact that we prepare ourselves to go there is the way in which we outwardly show our affection and our esteem for our friend.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 315)

 

The use of the word “called” means “invited,” not the irresistible call of God as Paul used it (see Rom 8:28-29).  The invitation had gone out to all Israel, but only a few had accepted and followed Jesus.  “Chosen” refers to the elect.  Jesus was applying this teaching to the Jews, who believed that because they were descendants of Abraham, they would be sure to share in the blessings of God’s kingdom through the Messiah.  But Jesus taught that not all those invited would actually be among the chosen of God.  As Jesus had noted earlier, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Mt 7:13 NIV).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 431-2)

 

Be needy, be docile, be expectant of heavenly blessings, and the kingdom of heaven is like a great warm heaven shining upon all your life and offering you all its contents.  Be rebellious, frivolous, contemptuous, self-sufficient, and the kingdom of heaven is dark with unspeakable tempests, ready to burst upon your life with overpowering destructiveness.  (Joseph Parker, Christ’s Finished Work, Studies in Matthew 16-28, 97)

 

This is not the place to discuss that wide and well-worn question of the ground of God’s choice.  That does not enter into the scope of the parable.  For it, the choice is proved by the actual participation in the feast.  They who do not choose to receive the invitation, or to put on the wedding garment, do, in different ways, show that they are not “chosen” though “called.”  The lesson is, not of interminable and insoluble questionings about God’s secrets, but of earnest heed to His gracious call, and earnest, believing effort to make the fair garment our very own, “if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.”  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, St. Matthew 9-17, 135)

 

I am interested in the words “the man was speechless” (v. 12), because that is the same thought Paul expresses in Rom 3:19, when he wraps up his powerful indictment of the human race by concluding that “every mouth [will] be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 471)

 

It was the man’s judgment day.  He was “speechless,” as all neglectful men will be when God asks them to explain why they insulted His glory and grace by refusing to put on the garment of salvation provided at such infinite cost at Calvary.  (John Phillips, Exploring the Gospels: Matthew, 420)

 

Of the many that are called to the wedding feast, if you set aside all those as unchosen that make light of it, and avowedly prefer other things before it; if then you set aside all that make a profession of religion, but the temper of whose spirits and the tenor of whose conversation are a constant contradiction to it; if you set aside all the profane, and all the hypocritical, you will find that they are few, very few, that are chosen; many called to the wedding feast, but few chosen to the wedding garment, that is, to salvation, by sanctification of the Spirit.  This is the strait gate, and narrow way, which few find.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 316)

 

The gospel invitation is sent to everyone, because it is not the Father’s will that a single person be excluded from His kingdom and perish in the outer darkness of hell (2 Pt 3:9).  But not everyone wants God, and many who claim to want Him do not want Him on His terms.  Those who are saved enter God’s kingdom because of their willing acceptance of His sovereign, gracious provision.  Those who are lost are excluded from the kingdom because of their willing rejection of that same sovereign grace.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 313)

 

There is no point in arguing about the marriage garment, whether it is faith or a holy and godly life; for faith cannot be separated from good works and good works proceed only from faith.  All Christ wants to say here is that we are called by the Lord under the condition that we be renewed in our spirits into His image, and therefore, if we are to remain always in His house, the old man with all his blemishes is to be cast off and we are to practice the new life so that our appearance may correspond to our honorable calling.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 630)

 

That’s my explanation of verse 14.  Let me now apply it.  The church is a mixed body (corpus mixtum) comprised of wheat and weeds, sheep and goats.  That’s what Jesus teaches in Matthew.  Thus, like Israel of old (v. 7), the church of the new covenant will face judgment (cf. 16:27; 2 Cor 5:10).  (Matthew’s Gospel alone “contains detailed descriptions of the Final Judgment–for example 7:21ff.; 13:36ff.; 47ff.; 25:31ff.,” all of which are given to professing Christians!  Isn’t that interesting?)  So every disciple who openly professes Jesus as Lord (“Lord, Lord”) will stand before the King and Judge.  Jesus Christ will have judicial robes on.  The question is, will you have the proper attire?  Faith?  Sure, faith!  A faith that loves, works, obeys, gets baptized into Christ.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 631)

 

In order to give the man an opportunity to justify himself if he can do so, the king addresses him in a not unfriendly manner, and pauses for a reply.  But the man, realizing that he has no ground to stand on and that any excuse would be useless, is reduced to utter silence.  The result is that the king orders him to be bound hand and foot and to be cast into a region of total darkness, a darkness that is in sharp contrast with the light that fills the wedding hall.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 798)

 

The charge to put on such a robe cannot mean that a person should base his hope for salvation on his own goodness or moral fitness, for this would be contrary to all of Scripture’s teaching (Job 9:2; Isa 64:6; Rom 3:9-18, 23, 24; Eph 2:8; Rv 7:14).  Does this mean, then, that the wedding garment is to be limited to “the imputed righteousness which is ours by faith”?  Not at all.  God not only imputes righteousness to the sinner whom he pleases to save.  Although these two must be distinguished, they must not be separated.  Careful study of those passages in Scripture that mention the robe with which the sinner must be clothed makes it clear that not only guilt must be forgiven but also the old way of life must be laid aside and the new life to the glory of God must take its place.  Briefly, the sinner must, by God’s grace, “put on Christ” (Gal 3:27).  There must be a complete turnabout, a thorough-going renewal or “conversion,” exactly as Jesus himself had taught (Mt 4:17), and as the apostles after him were going to teach.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 799)

 

The guest’s speechlessness proves he knows he is guilty, even though the king gently calls him “friend” (v. 12; cf. 20:13).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 457)

 

The symbolism is of someone who presumes on the free offer of salvation by assuming that therefore there are no obligations attached, someone whose life belies their profession:  faith without works.  Entry to the kingdom of heaven may be free, but to continue in it carries conditions.  Even though this man belongs to the new group of invitees, he is one who produces no fruit, and so is no less liable to forfeit his new-found privilege than those who were excluded before him.  As the parable of the sower has reminded us, there is many a slip between initial response to the word of God and ultimate fruitfulness.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 827)

 

IV-  Even more glorious is the fact that Jesus invites you to be the Bride of Christ at His wedding feast.  (Rom 7:1-4; Eph 5:21-33; Rv 19:6-9)

 

The OT often pictures the relationship of God and his people as a marriage (Hos 2:16-20; Isa 54:5-6; cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Rv 21:9f.).  The messianic wedding feast is under way:  now is the season for joy, not mourning.  The reference to a day when the bridegroom will be taken away anticipates the death of Jesus.  (Robert H. Mounce, New International Biblical Commentary: Matthew, 85)

 

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 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, 146-8).  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 W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia–Volume One, 547)

 

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)

 

What the bridegroom is to the bride, the Lord Jesus is to the souls of all who believe in him.  He loves them with a deep and everlasting love.  He takes them into union with himself:  they are “one with Christ and Christ in them.”  He pays all their debts to God; he supplies all their daily needs; he sympathizes with them in all their troubles; he bears with all their infirmities, and does not reject them for a few weaknesses.  He regards them as part of himself:  those that persecute and injure them are persecuting him.  The glory that he has received from his Father they will one day share with him, and where he is, they will be.  These are the privileges of all true Christians, who are the Lamb’s wife (Rv 19:7).  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 65)

 

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)

 

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)

 

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)

 

 

Worship Point:  Come prepared to worship the God of the Universe who invites you to be a part of His family by becoming His Son’s Bride; and enjoy the wedding reception of the Lamb that makes all other parties look like German concentration camps.

 

Too often, we go to God’s house with no preparation at all; if every man and woman in our congregations came to church prepared to worship, after a little prayer, a little thought and a little self-examination, then worship would be worship indeed–the worship in which and through which things happen in the souls of men and women and in the life of the Church and in the affairs of the world.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 315-6)

 

Gospel Application:  We are able to qualify as the Bride of Christ and eligible to attend the feast by repenting and being clothed with the free gift of the righteousness of Christ.  We dare not ever think we can come on our own.

 

The proper wedding garment of a true believer is God-imputed righteousness, without which no one can enter or live in the kingdom.  Unless a person’s righteousness exceeds the hypocritical self-righteousness that typified the scribes and Pharisees, he “shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20).  The only acceptable wedding garment is the genuine “sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 311-2)

 

Jesus surely would have been pleased had one of His hearers interrupted and asked, “How can I be clothed in the proper garment?  What can I do to keep from being cast into the outer darkness like that man?”  He no doubt would have said to that person as He had said many times before in various ways, “Come to Me, that you may have life” (Jn 5:40).  As Paul explained to the Corinthians, God made Christ “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).  That is the wedding garment that God demands and His Son provides.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 312)

 

(Isa 61:10) 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)

 

The gospel call goes forth far and wide.  It reaches ever so many.  Most of them are like the man in the parable:  they hear but do not heed.  In comparison with those many that are lost there are but few that are saved, that is, few that are chosen from eternity to inherit life everlasting.  Salvation, then, in the final analysis, is not a human accomplishment but the gift of God’s sovereign grace.  Cf. Lk 12:32; Jn 6:39, 44; Eph 1:4.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 798)

 

The Kingdom of God is not a meritocracy but a mercyocracy.  (Tim Keller; Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

Unlike traditional religion, Jesus says, “You do not earn your place in the Kingdom of God.”  But, unlike the modern idea that God just accepts everybody; God doesn’t love people unconditionally.  He accepts them counter-conditionally, and at infinite cost to Himself.  (Tim Keller; Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

Once more, as so often previously, he is going to show them the inexcusable nature of this impenitence and the terrible result to which it leads.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 792)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Look to Jesus to lavish you with everything you ever could imagine or desire.   But, look in faith, not by sight.

 

When you were baptized, you said, “I’m coming.”   But, have you come?   When you joined the church you said, “I’m coming.”  But have you come?  Every time you take the Lord’s Supper . . .you are receiving an invitation and you are making a reservation.   “I’m coming.”  But, have you come?

But, what does it mean to come?   Are you sitting down at the King’s table?  Are you rejoicing in His dainties?   Are you rejoicing in His love?   Are you experiencing it?   Are you rejoicing in Him with all your heart?  (Tim Keller; Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

There is nothing lacking on God’s part for the salvation of sinners’ souls:  no one will ever be able to say at last that it was God’s fault, if he is not saved.  The Father is ready to love and receive; the Son is ready to pardon and cleanse guilt away; the Spirit is ready to sanctify and renew; angels are ready to rejoice over the returning sinner; grace is ready to assist him; the Bible is ready to instruct him; heaven is ready to be his everlasting home.  One thing only is needed, and that is, the sinner must be ready and willing himself.  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 203)

 

The richer sort had a good dinner every day.  Those farmers could always kill a fat sheep, and those merchants could always buy a calf.  “Thank you for nothing,” they would have said to the king if they had accepted his invitation.  But these poor beggars picked off the streets…welcomed the fatlings.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 469)

 

Those ladies and gentlemen who were first invited, if they had come to the wedding, would have seated themselves there in a very stiff and proper manner…But these beggars!  They make a merry clatter; they are not muzzled by propriety; they are glad at the sight of every dish…  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 470)

 

So What?:  This world suffers from the FWS.  It will never be able to give you that for which you are ultimately looking.  Look in faith to the new heaven and new earth where everything will be much more than you could ever dream, imagine or of what you could possibly conceive.  (Isa 54:1-8; 62:4-8; Jer 2:2, 32; Ez 16:7-8; Hos 2:1-20; Mt 9:15; Mt 22:2;  25:1-23; Jn 3:26-30;   Cor 2:9; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:23-32; Heb 11;  Rv 19:7-9; 21:2)

 

What we are being told here (v. 7) is, you can be a person who on the outside says, “I’m coming” (you may have been baptized, you may have given your life in a formal way), but on the inside there is no feasting, there is no delighting, there is really no coming.   And that indifference is not really an indifference.  It is actually a way of saying, “Nobody, nobody can tell me how to run my life.”  (Tim Keller; Salvation: Merit or Mercy?”)

 

 

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)

 

 

CHRIST:

The BRIDEGROOM

of the CHURCH

 

 

 

 

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