As this ministry continues to grow along side the internet, I find myself concerned about false teachers and hypocrites within the church. Bombarded with questions about salvation and the kingdom of God, I decided to take a step back and resort to the purest and most genuine form of teaching available to me: The word of God.
Much like the prophet Jeremiah, I am described as bold and often controversial. The messages I write out of faith in Jesus Christ generate debate, mockery and even ridicule among fellow Christians. Still I persevere as God continues to blow wind in my sails inspiring me to address issues most pastors choose to ignore. In an attempt not to offend, these lukewarm teachers gravely fall short of their mission which is clearly laid out in the bible.
This week, I chose to address a parable most Christians struggle with. The parable of the wedding feast described in Matthew’s gospel where Jesus warns lukewarm opportunists about hell. This parable contains principles and truths that relate to the kingdom of God and those who will inherit a place in heaven.
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:2-14)
In biblical times, Jewish weddings involved a number of steps. Marriages started with a contract signed by both the bride and groom. One year later, the groom would visit the bride’s house where she was presented to him. This was followed by a nighttime wedding procession to the groom’s home where a festive wedding banquet took place. Depending on the resources of the groom’s family, this banquet could last up to one week. In this parable, the King is God the father and the Son is Jesus Christ.
Two invitations were sent out. The first was sent out long in advance so invited guest would have ample time to prepare for the wedding. Once the banquet was ready, a second invitation was sent informing them it was time to come to the wedding. These invitations portray the ministry of Jesus Christ and his disciples.
Unfortunately, many among those invited to the wedding feast care little about the King’s invitation and preoccupied themselves with lesser things. This indifference describes Israel at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry and, those of the world since then.
It is important to recognize both the “Bad and Good” eventually are invited to the feast. The morally evil and those who are morally good are called to God’s kingdom in spite of their background, of their sins. It truly matters to God that we respond to His word and accept His invitation but while answering the call is the first step, preparing for the feast is also critical.
By not wearing a wedding garment, the opportunist visitor failed to prepare himself according to God’s commands. The garment described in this parable is said to be coincide with righteous deeds or works we are to achieve as part of our own preparation for the kingdom of God.
This visitor had ignored a basic obligation placed on him when he accepted the king’s invitation to wear clean clothes to the wedding. Just as ourselves, once we have accepted God’s invitation to His kingdom we are commanded to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and walk the narrow path that leads to heaven.
Those expecting to inherit the kingdom of God without preparing accordingly do so at a great risk. To refuse to put on the wedding garment, to acknowledge Jesus’ great sacrifice on the cross is a sign of arrogance not acceptable to God. Those not wearing this garment will be declared unworthy and surely be cast out into hell bound “hand and feet” signaling an obvious inability to deliver themselves from the eternal consequence of their actions or lack thereof.
The visitor in this parable was an imposter and when discovered, as all imposters will, he was cast out and judged according to his heart as all opportunist will be upon judgment day.
This parable portrays a clear, frightening message to all those who believe. While accepting the invitation to the feast or believing in Christ is the first step, preparing for the banquet accordingly will dictate where we end up. “Many are called, but few are chosen” means exactly that. Not all those invited will be among the chosen of God.
How can you prepare for God’s kingdom? Put on Jesus’ robe of righteousness and follow in His footsteps. Wake up each morning and throughout the day, pray, obey God’s commandments, love your neighbor, spread the good news, plant and sow seeds of love based on faith in Christ. Do this in His name and for His glory and you will inherit His kingdom.
We thank you for all that surrounds us, for your love.
We gladly accept your invitation to your kingdom
And pray for your strength so that we may prepare accordingly.
Lord we thank you for your gift of life in this world
And for giving us the opportunity to bless others around us,
Using skills and talents you gave us through the years.
God, we pray for your joyful peace in the days ahead
As we rejoice with you and those who believe in you,
That many be awakened to your eternal bright light
And that they in turn spread your love to one and all.
Lord, we thank you for your forgiveness in our sins
And ask you to give us strength to obey your word
And attain wisdom from the knowledge of others before us.
Father bless us with your love and your magnificence
That we may enjoy your creations all around us
And inspire others to do the same each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre