What's the Meaning of the Parable of the Marriage Feast (Matthew 22:1-14)?
The Parable of the Marriage Feast
The following is a transcript of the video below:
I'll begin at the end, as we begin. And that is with Jesus is in verse 14 of Matthew 22. He said, "Many are called, few are chosen." The calling is he's referring to is, is that God's people are to carry the gospel into the highways and byways. The reason for that, the gospel going to the Gentile nations was because of Israel's rejection of Christ's overtures in his earthly ministry. This now, this parable, begins to remind Israel then, that they are indifferent to God, they are apathetic toward his calling to salvation, they have other things to do. They have to go bury people, they have to go work this business over here it says in the parable. They have other things more of a concern to them than God's kingdom and doing God's will.
So the king sends out others to invite those less fortunate. The lame, the maimed, others that would be unfit sacrifices if they were to be offered in the temple. And as a result, we see that they came, and some of them came with improper clothing. Now the clothing they needed was the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And he invited everyone, out of every kindred, tribe, people, and nation. He purchased with His own blood men out of every kindred, tribe, people, and nation. So this is a calling then to all people to come to the wedding feast, to come to heaven, to come by faith in Jesus Christ.
In Acts 17, Paul on Mars Hill, in Acts 17:32-34, we read there that there were three responses to Paul's preaching. And that is, some mocked, some hesitated said, "We'll hear you again," or they delayed, and some actually believed, right? And we see this happening also in this parable. We see again, a mockery by indifference, we see delaying, people have other things to do. And then we also see the chosen responding. "Many are called, few are chosen."
This also reminds me that not every human being will get the opportunity to hear the gospel. And men are made right with God by grace, obviously. But the phrase many are called, few are chosen, again, reminds me that not every human being will get the opportunity to hear the gospel. They're already on their way to hell because of their sin in Adam. And unless God has some mercy, they perish. So if a man has an opportunity to hear, he must respond to the gospel. God is just either way. So then this is a call to the religious and the irreligious of all nations to not take lightly the privilege you have of hearing the word of God, hearing the gospel. Jesus is inviting all men, all women, all peoples to come to his feast.
An interesting story relating to this parable was when the famous British preacher from the 19th century, Charles Spurgeon, in which he was preaching his sermon called, Compel Them to Come. It was a powerful message, maybe one of the greatest you've ever preached, and the greatest souls amount of souls that were saved from that message. But one of the most profound stories about that was that track, that penny pulpit that was printed through his ministry was used with British soldiers in the battle of North Africa. And the general read that track right before they went to war, 300 plus men. And at the end, he asked them to bow and to receive Christ. Every man was converted. And hours later, they were all killed. And it's again, a powerful amount of there's hope. And right now you're being compelled to come into the kingdom. So respond to opportunity.
Matthew 22: Bible Text
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, "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."