Scripture reading – Matthew 22; Mark 12
Today’s Scripture reading continues a series of parables whose theme is a warning of God’s judgment that would soon befall the religious rulers of Israel, and the nation as a whole because of their rejection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was aware the Pharisees were plotting to kill Him, and the parables He taught in the days leading up to His crucifixion, needed little to no interpretation for His enemies to know He was prophesying judgment against them. The Parable of the Marriage Feast (22:1-14), and the Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Mark 12:1-12), both portrayed Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah Redeemer, and the wrath and judgment of God that would befall Israel.
Today’s devotional will consider, the Parable of the Marriage Feast (Matthew 22:1-14).
The King in this parable was God the Father, the Son being married was Jesus Christ, the servants tasked with the responsibility of inviting guests were the prophets, and the guests invited to the wedding feasts were the descendants of Abraham, the children of Israel (22:2-3).
The King (God the Father), was said to be planning a great feast for His Son, Jesus Christ, and had commanded His prophets to bid those who were invited (the descendants of Abraham, Genesis 12:1), to come to a feast that was planned for them. When the guests (Israel) received the first invitation, “they would not come” (22:3). The LORD, as the King in the parable, demonstrated His mercy, and “sent forth other servants” (latter prophets, including John the Baptist) and telling the people, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage” (22:4).
Israel (the first guests invited to the wedding feast), “made light of” the invitation and pretended to have more pressing things to do. A farmer returned to his farm, and the business man to his business (22:5). There were others who abused, and then slew the king’s servants (i.e. prophets of the LORD), that had been sent to invite them (22:6).
His invitations scorned and His servants rejected, the parable prophesied God’s wrath and judgment on Israel (22:7) that was fulfilled in A. D. 70 when the armies of Rome under Titus destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.
The King, His invitations rejected by those whom He had invited (Judah), sent His servants to go out into the streets, and invite “as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage” (22:8). The invitation to all, opened the wedding feast of the Son (Jesus Christ), “and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good [immoral and moral; sinful and upright]: and the wedding was furnished with guests” (22:10).
Kings, and men of wealth, were known to provide their invitees exquisite garments for special occasions, and guests were expected to come adorned in the robes provided. One man at the wedding feast in our parable came (22:11), but he did not wear a garment provided by the king. The king confronted the man and asked, “Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?” (22:12a). Perhaps no one, but the King, had noticed he was improperly adorned; however, he had no answer. There was no excuse for his failure to be adorned in proper wedding garments the King had provided (22:12b).
The “wedding garments,” are symbolic of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, without which no sinner has right or privilege to enter into the presence of God the Father. The man in our parable was confronted, not because he was poor and lacked the means to have proper garments, but because he had either failed or rejected the “wedding garments” (i.e. the righteousness of Christ), that the King had offered and would have freely given to him.
Whether too proud, or simply defiant, the King commanded His servants (i.e. angels, Matthew 13:41-43, 49-50) to cast out the man who had rejected the garment He had provided: “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen” (22:13-14).
The man in our parable had been invited and came to the feast; however, he failed to put on the garments provided by the King: the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Romans 13:14 – “ But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
Ephesians 4:24 – “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith