A WEDDING BANQUET
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Parables - part 6
Matthew 22 A king hosted a wedding banquet for his son . . .
Lets also look at the parallel text in Luke 14
Notice what is different about these texts.
Perhaps Jesus is telling the same basic parable on two different occasions for different emphasis.
Luke and Matthew are using different version to make sense of the message in their gospels. Each version of this parable completes and enhances the themes of their gospels.
The accuracy of the details within this parable should not concern us. They are ridiculous to begin with and that is how the parable functions. For instance, no one in the ancient world would turn down an invitation to the kings wedding banquet simply because of business. If no other reason, than to simply partake of the food that is being served! And then theres the honor of being invited.
In addition to the texts from Luke 14 and Matthew 22, there is a version from the "Gospel of Thomas" (64).
64 Jesus said, A person was receiving guests. When he had prepared the dinner, he sent his slave to invite the guests. The slave went to the first and said to that one, "My master invites you." That one said, "Some merchants owe me money; they are coming to me tonight. I have to go and give them instructions. Please excuse me from dinner." The slave went to another and said to that one, "My master has invited you." That one said to the slave, "I have bought a house, and I have been called away for a day. I shall have no time." The slave went to another and said to that one, "My master invites you." That one said to the slave, "My friend is to be married, and I am to arrange the banquet. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me from dinner." The slave went to another and said to that one, "My master invites you." That one said to the slave, "I have bought an estate, and I am going to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me." The slave returned and said to his master, "Those whom you invited to dinner have asked to be excused." The master said to his slave, "Go out on the streets and bring back whomever you find to have dinner." Buyers and merchants [will] not enter the places of my Father.
The Context of Luke 14
- Takes place at an actual banquet after Jesus heals a man and he gives a wisdom lesson on taking the best seats (rank and status)
- Fits in with the theme of reversal in Luke. Notice who is accepted into the banquet: 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' (Compare to Luke 4:18)
The Context of Matthew 22
- Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem and is confronting the religious leaders who will crucify him.
- Two other parables of judgment precede this: The Parable of the Man with Two Sons, and The Wicked Tenants. Both reveal the antagonism of those who considered themselves the servants of God
- Two Scriptures set the interpretation of the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22
- Matthew 21:31-32 - Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
- Matthew 21:43 - "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
- The Messianic Feast was anticipated as the beginning of the new age under the messiah
- Isaiah 25:6-9 is the origin of the Feast
The Function of the Parable:
- A king gives a wedding banquet for his Son
- Guests are invited
- The invited make light of the invitation
- This is a ridiculous turn of events
- The excuses given are weak compared to the importance of a kings wedding banquet
- Deuteronomy 20:5-9 may be the background of the excuses. These were exemptions to serving in a war in ancient Israel
- Because the initially invited make light of the invitation, they are excluded and the most offensive are attacked by the kings army (once again, an odd and exaggerated situation that makes a point about rejection)
- Others, typically considered outsiders, are invited.
- In Matthew 22, they are the good and the bad (compare to the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds)
Grace and Judgment
- Grace is demonstrated in that all are invited good and bad
- Judgment happens when the King expels the man not wearing wedding clothes
- Wedding clothes represents taking the invitation seriously
- The king expects honor (God expects us to bear the fruit of the kingdom)
- This part of the parable connects to the saying that the kingdom is given to others who will bear the fruit of the kingdom.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 9 May 2010
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