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The parable of the wedding feast.

Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to [the chief priests and elders of the people] in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."' Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.' Many are invited, but few are chosen."

Who gets invited

to the Kingdom of God?

A king who gives a wedding feast for his son will invite other royalties, the elite class, and very important persons. Commoners will less likely be invited. The double invitation allows the potential guests to know who will be attending and whether everything has been arranged properly. If the right people are coming, they will also come.

For some reason, the guests disapprove of the arrangements the king is making. They offer flimsy reasons as face-saving ways of turning down the invitation. Others challenge the king's honor directly by killing his slaves. This insult to the king demands redress, and the king obliges: He kills the murderers and burns their cities.

The king solidifies his honor by avenging himself on those who shame him, but he does something unexpected: he breaks the rules of honor and shame by inviting the non-elites to the feast. This may prompt the royalties and other elites to cut ties with him.

Worse, even from the non-elites, someone shames the king by not wearing the proper garment provided by him. The king has no choice but to shame him and throw him out from the banquet hall.

The parable mirrors God's kingdom, but we should be careful in allegorizing it. God is not like a king who will kill those who insult him. Rather, the parable is directed by Jesus to His "elite" opponents from Jerusalem. They view the kingdom as something rigid and exclusive, whereas Jesus preaches a kingdom to which everyone is invited. In Jesus and through Jesus, God opens the kingdom to all -- Jews and pagans alike.

SOURCE: "365 Days with the Lord 2014," ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.,); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Oct 11, 2014
Words:573
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