‘Jesus again answered them in parables: The Kingdom of Heaven is like the situation which arose when a man who was a King arranged a wedding for his son…’ (Matthew 22:1-14)
Although they form one continuous narrative, over the years there has been much debate as to whether these verses actually constitute two separate parables – verses 1-10 and then verses 11-14 and the fact that it begins with Jesus again answered them in parables (plural) has added to this. No doubt these discussions will continue. Personally, I like to think of verses 11-14 as being a kind of P.S. to the opening 10 verses, but that’s just my view on it. What does it say to us?
The invited guests represent the people of Israel, God’s chosen people. Over the years they had turned their backs on God and rejected Him, time and time again, and even when He sent His own Son among them, still they rejected Him. Those out on the highways are the Gentiles and sinners who would never have expected such an invitation to come their way, but who joyfully accepted when it did.
For us today this parable first of all reminds us that the invitation to God’s Banquet is a joyous occasion and one which we should joyfully embrace. But it also teaches us a few things. Some of the reasons given by those who rejected the invitation weren’t in themselves all that bad; they were things that we might be involved in every day of our lives. However, the lesson for us here is this. It is so easy to get caught up in our own affairs every day, to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, that suddenly we forget Christ. And once we forget Him we might start to neglect Him, and continue to neglect Him, even to the point that we miss out on the greatest gift of all – eternal salvation.
This invitation comes to us by the Grace of God Himself and was an invitation offered to all – to all – through the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and that takes us to the P.S. as I call it. Grace is the most wonderful we can possibly imagine and we should all embrace it joyfully, however, it comes with responsibilities also. Once we accept this wonderful gift of God we cannot continue to live our lives as they were before coming to Him. Yes we will make mistakes and stumble along the way, but we must consciously seek to change our lives by seeking, as best we can, to follow in our Lord’s footsteps. In any walk of live the way the way in which we approach things and present ourselves speaks volumes about the spirit in which we are doing so. So it should be in terms of our faith lives.
Through His Son God invites us all to Himself, every single one of us, and He will rejoice when we accept that invitation. But saying yes to God has to be yes – and that means allowing Christ to clothe us in His Grace and allowing that to change our lives.