An Invitation to a Wedding
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
My brother is getting ready for his wedding. Recently Matthew and Beth went for a tasting session with the chef who will be preparing the meal for their wedding day. It’s going to be something special, with a mixture of Indian and traditional food – I’ve never had a samosa at a wedding before, but it definitely sounds better than another vol-au-vent.
I’m sure that you agree that although wedding services are lovely, and the best man’s speeches are funny (sometimes), the best thing (for the guests) at a wedding is the food! Receiving an invitation to a wedding is great because you get posh and tasty food for free. Who would turn down an invitation like this?!
Jesus told a story about people who received an invitation to a wedding party. The king’s son was getting married, so the king sent his servants to invite people to the grand feast. Awaiting each one of the invitees was an amazing feast, fit for a king, and they didn’t even have to worry about what to wear because the king had arranged that everyone would receive a smart new outfit as they arrived at the feast. Would you refuse such an invitation?
Here is the story as Jesus told it.
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.
Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’
But they paid no attention 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 feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’
And those servants went out into the roads 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. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
For many are called, but few are chosen.” - Matthew 22
Some who were invited ignored the invitation, one was too busy on the farm, and another was obviously a busy business man. They didn’t have any time for the king or his son – even on such an important day. We see a more extreme response from others – they abuse and kill those who brought them the invitation.
A story with a purpose
Jesus told this story because each one of us has been invited to a great celebration and feast. We each have received an invitation to come to know God, the king, and to celebrate with his Son Jesus Christ – a celebration from now and to eternity. This is a real invitation to live and to experience all of the king’s love, mercy and blessings, and the question, or challenge for us os how do we respond – what will be in your RSVP?
The Bible often uses the picture of a wedding to describe the work that Jesus has done in the world. Out of love, Jesus chose to come and to die on a cross in our place, to take our punishment for ignoring God throughout our lives. He came back to life and he offers us forgiveness and the opportunity to live in a relationship with God now and forever.
Knowing God is like being in an amazing banquet. He is the one who created us, and from him we receive every good thing. He gives a solid foundation to live this life and hope to face death in certainty.
The Bible explains that each one of us will one day stand before the bridegroom, Jesus Christ. It would be a tragedy to end up standing there having chosen to be too busy, taken up with everything else, without having received his forgiveness. Will you accept his invitation? The sad truth is that in some countries in this world people are persecuted and killed for inviting people to Jesus’ wedding feast. But what about you? Are you too busy in your work, or do you believe that you can live without God, our creator?
As in Jesus’ story, the invitation sent by God is to a celebration already paid for by someone else. Traditionally in Wales, the bride makes all of the arrangements for the wedding, but this is not how it is with God’s invitation. He has done all of the work – Jesus offers forgiveness to us so that we can walk into the wedding feast with everyone else who has come and received his mercy.
In the story, God’s forgiveness is represented by the new smart clothes which are given out freely on the way into the wedding feast. The new clothing of his forgiveness hides the old rags of our filth and rebellious hearts. We must realise that not one of us can face God in our state of rebellion – in the story, one man refuses the clothing as he believes that he is already good enough, and he is refused entry into the wedding feast.
We can’t come to God believing that we are good enough. To be honest, most of us already know that we’re not good enough. But Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and a place in the amazing feast of being in a relationship with God.
How are we going to respond? Lose the invitation down the back of the sofa, decide that we’re too busy, or receive the invitation and enjoy the eternal feast with God because Jesus Christ has paid for it all in our place?
- John Derek Rees
First published in Ask Magazine August 2018