‘Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9a)!’”
Invitations require a response. Sometimes at the bottom of an invitation card you’ll find the letters RSVP, which stand for répondez s’il vous plaît. This is French for “Please Reply.” If the sender doesn’t receive a reply he will be disappointed.
He may persist and send further invitations; but if they too are ignored (Matthew 22: 5) he may well invite others (v. 9).
Jesus’ Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14) presents such a scenario. In the story some of the recipients responded ‘spitefully’ and they killed the king’s servants (v. 6) who had brought the invitations to them. The king wasn’t just disappointed – he was furious (v. 7)! He sent his armies to destroy them and to burn their city. Afterwards he invited complete strangers (vv. 7-10), who, unlike those originally chosen, accepted his invitation.
On the day of the wedding feast someone was found there who had not been invited, and on being asked by the king how he got there, he was ‘speechless’ (v. 12). He had no proof he was a bona fide guest, as he was not wearing ‘a wedding garment (v. 11).’ So the king had him cast ‘into outer darkness (v. 13).
The Meaning of the Parable
This parable speaks of Israel’s rejection of God. They had been chosen by Him, and they were His special people (Deuteronomy 7:6). They had the privileges, the blessings and the law (Romans 3:2), but they were a disobedient people (Romans 10:21) who lacked faith (Hebrews 3:19). They had been invited to the feast, but they rejected the King’s invitation.
God would replace them with His new Israel – those chosen in His Son (Romans 16:13), the risen Jesus, who would make the the old covenant obsolete (Hebrews 8:13) and establish a ‘new covenant’ (Jeremiah 31:31). Those chosen ‘strangers’ (Matthew 22:7-10) would accept His invitation to the wedding feast, and they would worship Him ‘in Spirit and truth (John 4:23)’. God would give them hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19), and they would ‘know’ Him (Jeremiah 31:34). He would write His law ‘in their minds’ and on ‘their hearts (v. 33).’
This new Israel is the Spirit-filled and Spirit-powered (1 Corinthians 2:4; Galatians 5:25; Romans 15:19) church of Jesus Christ, i.e., God’s special people (1 Peter 2:9, 10). Paul describes them as ‘all Israel’, and those who ‘will be saved (Romans 11:23-26).’
Jesus says “Come!”
Jesus proclaims His invitation to all. Those who accept and come to Him in faith (Ephesians 2:8) will be saved (Romans 10:13).
Matthew 11:28, 29
28 Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.