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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE MARRIAGE FEAST

Matthew 22:1-3 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. (Also read Matt. 22:4-14).

The spiritual leaders of the Jewish nation had denied Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. Had they recognized and accepted Him as their Savior, they would not have questioned His authority to perform miracles and cleanse the temple of money-changers and of those that bought and sold merchandise (See Matt. 21:12-27). To establish His authority and point out their error, Jesus used parables. First, the Parable of the Two Sons, then the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, and in this lesson, He uses the Parable of the Marriage Feast.

This is one of many parables that teach a lesson on the kingdom of heaven on earth - the kingdom that our Savior, Jesus Christ died to establish, also known as His body, the church of Christ. The application made in this parable is one on which most bible scholars agree. The certain king, is God, his son, is Jesus Christ, thebridegroom, andHis church, is, then, the bride. The marriage referred to in verses 2 is more correctly translated as marriage feast in the revised KJV. Those first invited represent the Jewish nation, while those invited later were the Gentiles. The servants extending the invitation of the king could represent the prophets, John the baptizer, and Christ. These taught God's word evenbefore the church was established. Afterwards, the servantscould represent His inspired apostles and disciples, as well as gospel preachers and teachers today. The invitation of the king was extended to the guests to come join the feast, which represents the body of Christ, the church of which He is head. The man without a wedding garment represents all that are unprepared to enter the kingdom of heaven.

The parable ends with this admonition - For many are called, but few are chosen. As the parable suggests, the invitation went out to the Jews first, then to the entire world. All were called, but few responded by accepting the invitation on its terms. Therefore, few were chosen to be among the elect. We know that it is God's desire that all mankind be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). It is mankind that chooses not to be saved by refusing God's invitation under His terms.

This parable shows a few ways people reject God's invitation. Some make light of it. They demonstrate their indifference by devoting all their time to their careers, whether it is their farms, their businesses, or any other profession. Providing for one's self and family is lawful, commendable, and even required. However, God does not want it to consume one's entire life. There must be time to accept God's invitation to attend to spiritual needs and duties as well as one's physical needs. God requires both and condemns failure in either. It is up to all people to recognize this, to accept it as a requirement from God, and balance time and effort so as not to be slack in either responsibility.

Some refuse God's invitation contemptuously. Most of the Jewish leaders demonstrated their contempt in a barbarous, militant way. Not only did they refuse to accept Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah, they planned and succeeded in having Him slain. Here God's invitation to the wedding feast was reject in the most disdainful manner possible - by killing the bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Although, in most areas of the world today this degree of rejection is not demonstrated to God's call, there is still much contempt through ridicule and derision. There are many today that become angry when their false religious beliefs are jeopardized by the true word of God, much the same as the Jewish leaders refused to give up their influence and position under the Old Covenant by rejecting the Son of God and the New Covenant He established.

Some do not respond to God's invitation under His terms. These compare to the guest that came to the feast without the proper wedding garment. As I understand, all guests that came to the marriage feast were required to be clothed in similar white garments. To comply, the host even supplied such garments. There was simply no reason one desiring to attend the feast should not request and wear the proper garment. Like the guest in the parable that came without a wedding garment, there are those that want to accept God's invitation, but under their own terms. God only gives the Christian garment to those that desire it and are willing to obey the commandments necessary to receive and wear it. Without going into detail, the requirements are to hear the word of God, believe it by accepting its teaching, repent of past sins, confess Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world, be baptized into His body for the remission of one's past sins, and live a faithful life thereafter. God recognizes those not willing to accept His call because they do not have on the proper garment - they refused to yield to God's terms, desiring to enter by wearing their own worldly-designed garment.God rejects those that reject His plan of salvation. Like the guest that was unwilling to put on the wedding garment, those that reject God's terms are cast out of the marriage feast. Those without the proper Christian wedding garment will be speechless on the Day of Judgment; they will be without excuse; they will be without defense, and condemned to eternal punishment.

For many will be called, but few are chosen. The many that will not be chosen will include those that are indifferent and do not take time to include God in their lives. Also included will be those that reject God and His Son, Jesus Christ in a contemptuous, disdainful manner. Others will not be chosen because they are not prepared - those that do not have the proper wedding garment to wear to the feast.

Another lesson that can be learned from the parable of the marriage feast, is that, all things were ready when the call went out. The meats and the entire dinner were ready for the guests to arrive and participate in the feast. Likewise, all things are ready today to accept God's invitation to the feast available in the body of Christ. God is ready, because it is He that is calling. Jesus is ready, because it is through Him that one comes into His body, the church, by water baptism. The Holy Spirit is ready because it is through His inspiration God's call is made available through His holy word. The angels of heaven are ready, and will rejoice when one obeys the gospel call. The feast of Christian blessings is ready and awaits each guest that comes prepared to obey the will of God. And, finally, heaven is ready, prepared by our Savior, Jesus Christ, to receive the faithful - the few chosen from the many that were called.

The great feast is ready. God's call is extended to all. Chose today to accept His invitation. A garment of salvation awaits those willing to diligently seek it, faithfully wear it, and obediently trust in God's will as their guide throughout life here on earth.