Matthew chapter 22

For many are called, but few are chosen. – Vs 14 (NASB)

A king holds a wedding feast for his son who is getting married.

He had sent out invitations to his guests.

When the time came, he sent his servants to inform the guests there party was starting.

But all his guests turned him down – having no desire to go to his party.

So he sent out his servants again – telling them to tell his guests just how good his party was going to be.

But those invited to the party didn’t care – and went about their affairs.

Some even took the king’s servants and beat them, even killing some.

The king, in anger, sent his army to punish these people, destroying their town and themselves.

He then sends his servants to invite new guests – to replace the first ones – who had refused his invitation.

So they hit the streets and invited anyone and everyone they met – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The wedding hall was filled, including one guest who came improperly dressed for the occasion.

The king had this man bound and thrown out of the festivities.

What a story. As usual, Jesus had an audience in mind. It was the same group His last two parables were directed at: The Pharisees. But in this case, it also included the Jews as a people. Jesus is saying that God had invited the Jews to His feast. He had called them and made them His own. They had done nothing to deserve the “invitation to his party.” They were no different than anyone else, but God had set Israel apart – making them holy and wholly His. But they had rebelled. The had ultimately refused His invitation. They had no desire to take part in what God had planned for them. They grumbled, complained, rebelled, and sought after other gods. They had refused to listen to God’s prophets – rejecting their messages and even killing some. And even as Jesus spoke, there were many who were rejecting His message or repentance and restoration. Jesus was that final invitation to celebrate with God, but “they paid no attention and went their way” (Vs 5 – NASB). Just as the Jews of the Old Testament rejected the message of God and ended up in captivity with the city of Jerusalem ransacked and destroyed, so too would the Jews of Jesus’ day find their sacred city of Jerusalem destroyed in less than 40 years from the time Jesus spoke. Their refusal was going to result in destruction.

You’re Invited

But here’s the great news. Because the Jews turned their backs on God, He opened up the doors to us. We are those who were ultimately invited to the festivities because of the rejection of the Jews. We weren’t even aware there was a party. We hadn’t received an invitation. And the, all of the sudden, we get a personal invitation from God Himself, inviting us to be His guests at His Son’s wedding feast. He even provided the wedding garments for us to wear. This was a last-minute invite and we didn’t have anything to wear to this shin-dig, so God provided the clothes for us to wear to His party. That’s why the guy who showed up dressed inappropriately was kicked out. He was not wearing the clothes the king had provided. He came dressed in his own “righteousness” and was thrown out. This “party” to which I have been invited is something I could have never dreamed of being a part of. I didn’t deserve the invitation. I didnt know the King or His Son. I didn’t have the right credentials. I didn’t even own the right kind of wedding clothes to attend a party like this. But God provided it all! My presence at His Son’s wedding feast is all His doing and not mine. That’s pretty amazing.

God’s not done!

Here’s another exciting thought. God is not done with Israel. Paul makes that perfectly clear in his letter to the Romans.

“Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! His purpose was to make his salvation available to the Gentiles, and then the Jews would be jealous and want it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the Jews turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when the Jews finally accept it. I am saying all of this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I lay great stress on this, for I want to find a way to make the Jews want what you Gentiles have, and in that way I might save some of them. For since the Jews’ rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, how much more wonderful their acceptance will be. It will be life for those who were dead!” – Romans 11:11-15

What a picture of God’s sovereign plan. He is in control. He knows exactly what He is doing. Israel’s rejection of His Son was not a set-back for Him. It was all part of His plan to restore all mankind to a right relationship to Him. God chose Israel and used Israel to show how man could not achieve righteousness on his own. They were given God’s righteous laws, but couldn’t keep them. They failed. Even the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were still trying to keep the Law and earn their way into God’s good favor. But they would ultimately kill His Messenger. They would reject God’s righteousness for their own. But God is not done with Israel. Paul goes on to say:

“Many of the Jews are now enemies of the Good News. But this has been to your benefit, for God has given his gifts to you Gentiles. Yet the Jews are still his chosen people because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the Jews refused his mercy, God was merciful to you instead. And now, in the same way, the Jews are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you. But someday they, too, will share in God’s mercy. For God has imprisoned all people in their own disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone. – Romans 11:28-32 (NLT)

Mercy on everyone!

God is an amazing God. In spite of all Israel has done, He will show mercy. He will keep His promises to them. He has not abandoned them. They too will share in His mercy, just as we have. They will receive His grace, in spite of their rebellion and rejection. That’s the kind of God we serve. He is faithful and just, gracious and merciful, holy and loving. The fact that any of us will be at the wedding feast of His Son is amazing enough. But I am grateful and humbled by the truth that I will be there – at His invitation and clothed in His righteousness and not my own.

Father, what a story of your grace and mercy. Thank You for inviting me to your feast. For providing the clothes to wear. I am amazed and awed at the significance of it all. And thank You that you are the kind of god who does not reject His own. Your faithful love for the people of Israel is a testament and a reminder of your faithfulness to me. You will never reject me, in spite of me. Your love is everlasting.  Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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