67. Parable of the Kings Banquet
Parable of the Kings Banquet…..JESUS spake unto them again by parables,
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.
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 entreatedthem spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
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 all together as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
¶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 earnest 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.
¶Then the Pharisees took counsel how they might entangle Jesus in his talk. They sent spies, which should feign themselves just men, to catch him in his words, that so they might deliver him unto the authority of the governor.
When these were come, they say unto Jesus, Master, we know that thou teachest the way of God in truth, neither acceptest the person of men. Tell us, Is it lawful to give tribute to Cesar, or not?
Jesus perceived their craftiness, and said,
Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money; bring me a penny, that I may see it. Shew me a penny.
And they brought it. He said unto them,
Whose image and superscription hath it? Whose is this image and superscription?
They answered, Cesar’s. Then saith he,
Render therefore unto Cesar the things which be Cesar’s; and unto God the things which be God’s.
They marvelled at his answers: they held their peace, and left him.
The same day came Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection: and asked Jesus, saying, Moses wrote, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, the brother shall marry the wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Now there were seven brethren: the first took a wife, and died without children: the second took her to wife, and he died: the third likewise; and in like manner the seven also: they died, and left no children. Last of all, the woman died. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she?
Jesus answering said,
Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures? Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, neither the power of God.
The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage; but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead; when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage: for they are equal unto the angels of God which are in heaven; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
And as touching the resurrection of the dead, that they rise, have ye not read in the book of Moses that which was spoken unto you by God: how in the bush God spake unto Moses, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living; for all live unto him: ye therefore do greatly err.
Scripture: Matthew 22:1-14
Meditation 1 of 3: What can a royal wedding party tell us about God’s kingdom? One of the most beautiful images of heaven in the
scriptures is the banquet and wedding celebration given by the King for his son. We, in fact, have been invited to the most important banquet of all! The last book in the bible ends with an invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb and his Bride, the church: The Spirit and the Bride say, Come! (Rev. 22:17). Why does Jesus’ parable seem to focus on an angry king who ends up punishing those who refused his invitation and who mistreated his servants? Jesus’ parable contains two stories. The first has to do with the original guests invited to the feast. The king had sent out invitations well in advance to his subjects, so they would have plenty of time to prepare for coming to the feast. How insulting for the invited guests to then refuse when the time for celebrating came! They made light of the King’s request because they put their own interests above his. They not only insulted the King but the heir to the throne as well. The king’s anger is justified because they openly refused to give the king the honor he was due. Jesus directed this warning to the Jews of his day, both to convey how much God wanted them to share in the joy of his kingdom, but also to give a warning about the consequences of refusing his Son, their Messiah and Savior.
The second part of the story focuses on those who had no claim on the king and who would never have considered getting such an invitation. The “good and the bad” along the highways certainly referred to the Gentiles and to sinners. This is certainly an invitation of grace — undeserved, unmerited favor and kindness! But this invitation also contains a warning for those who refuse it or who approach the wedding feast unworthily. Grace is a free gift, but it is also an awesome responsibility. Dieterich Bonhoeffer contrasts “cheap grace” and “costly grace”. “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves ..the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance ..grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. ..Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.” God invites each of us to his banquet that we may share in his joy. Are you ready to feast at the Lord’s banquet table?
“Lord, may I always know the joy of living in your presence and grow in the hope of seeing you face to face in your everlasting
Gospel reading: Matthew 22:15-22
Meditation 2 of 3:
What do we owe God and neighbor but to love and to give each what is their due (Romans 13:6-8)? The Jewish authorities sought to trap Jesus in a religious-state issue. The Jews resented their foreign rulers and despised paying taxes to Cesar. They posed a dilemma to test Jesus to see if he was loyal to their understanding of religion. If Jesus answered that it was lawful to pay taxes to a pagan ruler, then he would lose credibility with the Jewish populace who would regard him as a coward and a friend of Cesar. If he said it was not lawful, then the Pharisees would have grounds to report him to the Roman authorities as a political trouble-maker and have him arrested. Jesus avoided their trap by confronting them with the image of a coin. Coinage in the ancient world had significant political power. Rulers issued coins with their own image and inscription on them. In a certain sense the coin was regarded as his personal property. Where the coin was valid the ruler held political sway over the people. Since the Jews used the Roman currency, Jesus explained that what belonged to Caesar must be given to Caesar. This story has another deeper meaning as well. We, too, have been stamped with God’s image since we are created in his own likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). We rightfully belong, not to ourselves, but to God who created us and redeemed us in the precious blood of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Cor. 6:19-20). Paul the Apostle says that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). Do you acknowledge that your life belongs to God and not to yourself? And do you give to God what rightfully belongs to Him?
“Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you all my being. Moreover, I owe you as much more love than myself as you are greater than I, for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself. I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.” (prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)
Scripture: Matthew 22:23-33
Meditation 3 of 3:
The Sadducees had one big problem — they could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes! Aren’t we often like them? We don’t recognize spiritual realities because we try to make heaven into an earthly image. The Sadducees came to Jesus with a test question to make the resurrection look ridiculous. The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, did not believe in immortality, nor in angels or evil spirits. Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven.
Jesus retorts by dealing with the fact of the resurrection. The scriptures give proof of it. In Exodus 3:6, God calls himself the “God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” He defeats their arguments by showing that God is a living God of a living people. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived. That friendship could not cease with death. As Psalm 73:23-24 states: “I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”
The Holy Spirit reveals to us the eternal truths of God’s unending love and the life he desires to share with us for all eternity. Paul the Apostle, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17) states: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The promise of paradise — heavenly bliss and unending life with an all-loving God — is beyond human reckoning. We have only begun to taste the first-fruits! Do you believe the scriptures and do you know the power of the Holy Spirit?
“May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages.” (Prayer of Origen, c. 185-254)