Theme: Reactions to God’s Invitation
This week we learn about the indifferent, even arrogant way men and women respond to God
Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’
Half the parable (Matthew 22:1-7) is about those who despised the king and would not come to the banquet. But there is a second half (vv. 8-14), which tells of those who did come. The king said, “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find (v.9). In Luke that is elaborated to show how these persons were drawn from the lower ranks of life. Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame… Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full (Luke 14:21-23).
This seems an extraordinary thing for the master of the house to have done (or, in Matthews case, for a king to have done. But when we think of God it seems inevitable. We ask these questions: Is it possible that God, the King of the universe, can be dishonored by having no one at the wedding supper of his Son? Can the almighty God be defeated? Disappointed? Can the work of the Lord Jesus Christ be ineffective? Can Jesus have died in vain? Or risen in vain? If Jesus did that and no one receives salvation through faith in his completed work, is God not dishonored? Would Satan not have triumphed? To put the questions like that is to show the impossibility of such an outcome. God must be honored. Jesus must be effective in his saving work. Jesus himself said, All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).
“But surely God is dishonored by the kinds of people who come,” someone might say, “These are not the noble people who were first invited. They are not the wise, not the strong, not the mighty.” True, and God admits it. Paul wrote, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). Is God dishonored by that? On the contrary, he is highly honored.
How is God honored? Let me share Spurgeons answer to that question:
1. “The persons who came to the wedding were more grateful than the first invited might have been if they had come. 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. How glad they were!…I warrant, they were thankful for such a feast.”
2. “The joy that day was much more expressed than it would have been had others come. 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…”
3.”The occasion became more famous than it would otherwise have been. 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… Dear friends, when the Lord saved some of us by his grace, it was no common event. When he brought us great sinners to his feet, and washed us, and clothed us, and fed us, and made us his own, it was a wonder to be talked of for ever and ever. We will never leave off praising his name throughout eternity. That which looked as though it would defame the King turned out to his honor, and the wedding was furnished with guests.”1
Ultimately, nothing will ever really dishonor God. Unbelievers despise him and dishonor him by their rejections. They are often quite vocal about it. But theirs is not the last word. Their spite will be overcome by God’s good, and the praise of the redeemed will completely drown out the cries of the impenitent. To see it we have only to turn to the last chapters of the book of Revelation where we see the wicked judged and the redeemed people of God engaged in holy,
hearty, heartfelt praise to him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb forever.
1 Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Wedding” pp. 261-263.
According to 1 Corinthians, why does God choose the foolish to shame the wise?
How might the beggars in the story be more appreciative of the dinner than the invited guests?
Look up Isaiah 4523-24. How do Gods words in that passage become evident in this parable?