I’ll be preaching on “The Parable of the Wedding Banquet” this Sunday. I write now to get you thinking about it! In that parable (found in Matthew 22:1-14) the Jews of the first century are criticized for not embracing Jesus as the Messiah. They twice decline the King’s gracious invitation to the banquet, even killing the messengers who urge them to come to the banquet. Harsh judgement comes upon them as in the year 70AD the Romans would indeed destroy the Jerusalem Temple.
But God’s anger and judgement in the parable also visit the church! After all, the church is composed of “both good and bad.” The Christian’s first response to God’s invitation is to say “yes to Jesus Christ!” But that is only our beginning. Some never progress in the life of faith and that is why the parable has such a harsh ending. We read that one of the guests is found by the king to be without a wedding robe and so is banished to eternal punishment. What had he done wrong? He was invited by the king…he came! Why punish him?
The parable itself doesn’t really say what “the wedding robe” represents, but the rest of the New Testament sure does! God wants faith to change everything about us. As those baptized into Christ our “first response” to God’s gracious invitation to salvation is a clear yes to faith. But God’s harsh judgement is upon those who don’t let faith change them, never grow in grace, refuse to repent of sin, won’t make a sacrifice for God and in short, “fail to live up to their baptismal calling.”
It’s just a parable, just a story! But it has something very urgent to teach us. The story strongly encourages each one of us in the church to “die to the old (sinful) self…and become a new creation in Christ.” When you said “yes” to Jesus that was a great first response. But that is just our start in the Christian life. Let your second response be an ongoing commitment to “live a life worthy of that calling.” See you Sunday!