The Lord Jesus’ parable in Matthew 22:2-14 teaches many spiritual truths using a king’s wedding feast as an example and these truths are still as applicable today as they were back then. He covers a wide variety of subjects from love to patience to judgment and eternal punishment.
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
The king represents God the Father and the son is Jesus Christ. The marriage for the son is the joining of the Lord Jesus with his church, those who confess and believe Jesus is Lord. It also refers to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9). The servants of the king are the prophets and other believers who were sent by God to tell the invited guests to come to bow down to his Son. The invited guests were originally the children of Israel, but when the time came for them to accept Christ, they refused the invitation. In today’s times, the invited guests are all who have been told that the Savior of the world has arrived and that they can come to him, but most of the time those who are invited to come to Christ refuse to come.
Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
Here we see that God in his longsuffering gives everyone who has been invited more than one chance to come to Christ. God tells the servants he sends out with the gospel to let the invitees know about all of the benefits that come with believing in Jesus and that they will be filled with all kinds of blessings from God. However, the invitees don’t take God seriously. They mock and scoff at the things concerning God’s kingdom because of their false beliefs like evolution, moral relativity, or Mormonism and are caught up in the cares of this world, including the preoccupation with their real estate, their businesses, and their material things. They consider their temporary possessions as more important than God’s eternal blessings.
Then there are those who take the rejection of God’s message even further by persecuting God’s messengers, physically assaulting them, and even killing them.
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Jesus gives us a glimpse of what happens when people persecute and kill his servants for preaching the gospel. They place themselves in the path of God’s impending judgment against their sin. Not only will they be judged as individuals for their personal wickedness, God also judges whole cities and whole nations for the mistreatment of his people. This is verified by what Christ stated in Matthew 10:15 when he said the day of judgment would be more tolerable to Sodom and Gomorra than to the city that rejects the message of the gospel. He also said in Luke 11:31-32 that the queen of Sheba and the citizens of Nineveh would rise up on judgment day to speak against the people of his day who rejected him. How much more is that true of today’s generation?
This judgment from God can come through an army of angels or an army of men. We see in Revelation how God sends angels out to use the forces of nature against those who hate him. The scriptures also show in various places how God used Israel’s enemies as his hand of punishment. Great empires like Egypt, Babylon, the Ottomans, and Germany have also fallen by God’s punishment through armies of men. So places where God’s people are persecuted and martyred and the gospel is rejected in this postmodern world should not be so surprised when volcanoes erupt, earthquakes rumble, floods rush in, or some other catastrophe occurs. God always gives fair warning for them to turn from their wickedness.
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
When one group shows themselves unworthy of the gospel, God has more servants that he will send to another group to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He continues to send out his servants into the streets and common places near and far until they find people willing to accept his invitation. This shows how loving and patient God is toward mankind. All types of people, from those who are considered bad by human standards to those who are considered good by human standards, are welcome to come to Christ. But now we will see in the following verses that one cannot come to the Father just any old way that one pleases. The Father has a standard that determines if one will actually get into the wedding (his kingdom).
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
It was customary in this region of the world during biblical times for the host of the wedding to ensure all guests had what was needed before the actual ceremony began. The wealthy provided all ceremonial robes for all guests to wear over their regular clothes. This called for the guests to be humble enough to admit their own clothes were not good enough for the feast and the humility to accept the gift from the host.
Spiritually speaking, for a person to accept the invitation to come to Christ (which is eventually celebrated in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb spoken of in Revelation 19:7-9), a person must acknowledge that all their righteousnesses are as filthy rags in God’s eyes. All of the good works unbelievers do cannot place them in right relationship with God. A person who is offered new life in Christ must see themselves as needing God’s grace, his undeserved favor, that can only come by faith in Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with how nice they are to other people, that they are a law-abiding citizen, or that they give to charity. All of this means nothing to God. When they realize how sinful they are and that sinfulness makes them filthy in God’s eyes, they graciously and humbly accept God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ for their spiritual cleansing. Accepting Christ means they have put on his nature (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27). God has given them the garments of salvation and his robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
But there was a man who thought he could get in the wedding without the ceremonial robe. He thought he could get to heaven by his own standards, by his own good works, by his false belief that all religions lead to God. Such people try to blend in with true believers, but before the time comes for the new heaven and new earth when the bride of Christ will reign with the Lord forever, unbelievers will be confronted by God at the judgment seat of Christ for their rejection of his garment of salvation through Jesus Christ alone and they will be speechless. But at that point, it will be too late to repent and they will be thrown out into the darkness of hell, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth because of the torments that are present there.
God has extended his invitation to a huge number of people, but because so many have hardened hearts and reject the gospel, only a few in comparison end up being truly chosen.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–