Friday, October 14, 2011

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

This parable used to scare me because the ending is so violent and final. Jesus is still talking to the Pharisees who haven’t been able to trip him up. He tells them that the kingdom of heaven is like a king (God) who prepared a wedding banquet for his son (Jesus). People (Israel) had already been invited and when the wedding was ready God sent his servants (prophets) to tell them to come, BUT THEY REFUSED.

God sent more prophets, but they paid no attention and either mistreated or killed the prophets. At this point in the parable (verse 7) Jesus inserts a prophecy that from our point of view we can see was fulfilled a few decades later in 70 A.D. at the destruction of Jerusalem. Verse 7 reads: The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

The parable continues. God told his servants (now the Apostles) to go to the street corners (all the earth) and invite anyone they could find (Gentiles). People come, good people and evil people, and the wedding hall was filled.

Now it gets kind of scary. In the story the king comes in to see the guests and notices a man not wearing wedding clothes. Doing a little cross-referencing I found that in Isaiah 61:10 the wedding clothes are the “garments of salvation”. The man without the wedding clothes is someone who is not saved. What happens to him? He doesn’t just get kicked out of the wedding hall. The king tells his attendants to tie him hand and foot and throw him outside into the darkness where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. This doesn’t scare me personally anymore because I have the wedding clothes – the garments of salvation. The Pharisees that were listening didn’t get it, though. In fact they laid plans to trap Jesus. More about that on Sunday.