Have You Been Changed? The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

 

 

Matthew 22:1-3: Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

In this parable told by Jesus, a “king” prepared a wedding banquet for his son. This “king” then sent out his servants to those guests who had been invited, telling them to come, but the invited guests refused. In this parable, the “servants” were Old Testament prophets that God had sent to proclaim the future coming of Christ. The King in this parable is of course God, the Son represents Jesus, and the bride of Christ represents the Church. In verse 3, we are told that the invited guests refused to come. 

Matthew 22:4: “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

In verse 4 we find that God sent out even more prophets to proclaim the free gift of God’s salvation, but we will soon see that the people refused to believe. Prophets such as Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist, invited people to accept the free gift of salvation that was offered by God the King. Sadly, the people rejected this offer and refused to believe.

Matthew 22:5-7: 5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

The King then sends out more servants (prophets) to invite other people to come to the wedding feast but those invited guests offered up many excuses to not attend. Many paid no attention to the invitation and just went about their normal daily routines.

Others seized, mistreated, and even killed the servants, who were God’s prophets. Many decided to choose the pleasures of life instead of accepting the free gift of eternal life that was being offered by God, to those who would believe. The sending of the king’s army, the destruction of those who killed the prophets, and the burning of the city, foretold the eventual destruction of Jerusalem.

How often do we go through life without ever thanking and acknowledging God or asking Him for direction in our lives? We make ourselves busy with the things of this world, while pushing aside God and failing to seek His guidance and accept his invitation to share in this banquet.

Matthew 22: 8-10: 8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

The invited guests represent the Jewish people who rejected Christ. So God the King says, “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you can find.” This is a reference to the Gentiles who were considered unclean and thus the “bad.” Eventually we find that the wedding hall was filled with guests, both good and bad. We know that even the church today is filled with both good and bad because the church is made up of human beings. There are many in the church that belong to the church but have not truly been changed by their encounter and belief in Christ.

Matthew 22: 11-12: 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

The Holy Spirit guides believers in our walk of faith. Sadly, many believers block the power of the Holy Spirit by following the ways of the world instead of being guided by the Spirit of God. Are you transformed by the leading of the Spirit or do you allow the world that you live in to guide you and shape your beliefs?

The King coming in to view the guests represents God at the final judgment. As followers of Christ, we are charged with living a life that shows evidence of our being changed by the acceptance of God’s free gift of salvation. If we believe and truly encounter the living Christ, we must be changed and our lives must bear witness to that. Galatians 3:27: for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Matthew 22:13-14: 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

At the last judgment we will be held accountable for the way that we have lived out our life of faith. If we have truly been changed by our encounter with the living Christ, then our lives will have reflected that. We are called to live repentant and pure lives that allow others to see Christ in us. If we have not lived a Christ like life, then our inner darkness and failure to follow Christ will be exposed.

The “attendants,” in verse 13, are the angels who are God’s servants and will help to carry out God’s final judgment. God will separate those who have been changed from those who have not.

If you are a believer, then you must be a changed person through faith and belief in the Risen Christ. You can go through life as a believer not being changed and it may not be apparent to those with whom you share a pew in worship. Someone who is truly “changed” will lead a life that reflects the glory and the presence of Christ in all of their words and actions. You can go through life “faking” it, but at the end of time, God the judge, will not be fooled. Belief and faith in Christ must lead to a new life in which you are truly transformed and changed.

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