Wedding Banquet: Invitation, Ingratitude, Pt I :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

Matthew 22:1-14, Isaiah 55:1, John 7:37, Ezekiel 33:11, Isaiah 45:11

Summary: Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22:1-14) is a call to salvation. There will be many who will make poor excuses and refuse the invitation. There will be those who accept it with gratitude, but some will try to enter in their own way. In which category do you fit?

Throughout the Scriptures, the call of God to come to Him for salvation, grace, and mercy is prominent. The paradise we lost at our fall into sin is not irreversible nor permanent. He has promised redemption even though we do not deserve it. He promised to make all things new, starting with the re-establishment of our relationship with Him made possible through the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 45:11, 55:1; Jeremiah 44:4; Ezekiel 33:11; Hosea 6:1; Matthew 11:28-30; John 7:37; Romans 10:12; Revelation 22:17).

The mission of the Lord Jesus Christ was to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10), beginning with the lost sheep of Israel (Isaiah 53:4-6; Matthew 10:6; Luke 15:1-7; John 10:4-16, 28-30). There is not ONE figure throughout history who made the effort to come to His people and offer redemption. All the others have taught that we have to do something to appease the deities. Our works and rituals were to be the key that helps us gain some kind of benefit beyond the grave. This is a lie from the pit of hell. None of us have the ability to do anything in our own power to cleanse our rancid souls. What works would be sufficient to do the job? The answer is NOTHING (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-18, 23).

God, in His mighty love and sovereign choice, declared that He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). He provides the ONE way by which we may approach Him, and that is ONLY through the Lord Jesus (John 14:6, John 19:30; Acts 4:12). God invites us to come home and take part in a celebration that symbolizes the joy, fellowship, and eternal peace with the King of Kings. Who in their right mind would turn down such an invitation? The sad answer is that there are people who would rather wallow in the sewer of this present world and give excuses than humble themselves and enter into the King’s presence. Jesus presented a parable to illustrate this scene and its eternal consequences for those who accept the invitation and those who reject it.

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet is found in Matthew 22:1-14 and Luke 14:15-24. Each story begins with “a certain king” who wishes to arrange a marriage for His son, the Crown Prince. The king instructs His servants to go out and call those who had been previously invited to make themselves ready and come to the party. Surely no one would refuse the gracious invitation of a king to come and celebrate with him. That would be an insult to the office and person of the king and an open demonstration of rudeness and disrespect towards his authority. (We see this is the upcoming coronation of King Charles III, as some celebrities have turned down offers to perform or attend for some reason that makes no sense to me).

Luke lists some of the flimsy and lame excuses these guests offer (Matthew 22:4-6; Luke 14:18-20) to the king’s servants. Are we any better? What excuses do we offer God Almighty to avoid being in His presence? Instead of the eager expectation of being invited to a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, we are often all too content to grovel before our altars of excuse and selfishness, wishing that the knock on the door of our stubborn hearts would cease and leave us alone (Revelation 3:20). How sad, yet this illustrates the depth of humanity’s hatred of the King to the point where if we could commit Divine regicide, we would gladly do so (Revelation 19:19). Jesus points this out with the potential guests’ brutal treatment of the messengers of the king, even to the point where they were murdered (Matthew 22:6).

Many who reject the gospel invitation today have equally flimsy excuses and will rightfully incur the wrath of the King. They say they are too busy for spiritual things. They say that they have fields, patients, business, or bonds, or whatever it is that imprisons their souls and keeps them from faith in Him who brings salvation.

The “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), spoke of a ship owner who was visited by a godly man. The Christian asked, “Well, sir, what is the state of your soul?” to which the man answered, “Soul? I have no time to take care of my soul. I have enough to do just taking care of my ships.” But he was not too busy to die, which he did a week later.

Scripture teaches that we are not in charge of our future nor our next breath (Luke 12:13-21, 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 9:27; James 4:13-15). Do you fit that pattern? Are you more interested in your good credit score than in Christ? Do you read the latest drivel on social media more than the Word of God? Have you allowed other people to do your thinking for you when it comes to the state of your soul and where you will spend eternity? Will you continue to fritter away your time and energies on what will end up as trivia and oblivious within the realm of relevance and history?

The opportunity for you to repent and answer the King’s invitation is running out. Excuses are no substitute for eternal peace. Come to Christ today. Your place at the table is ready.