A Banquet For the Unlikely

Matthew 22:1-10

Here we have another parable that Jesus told about the kingdom of heaven. This time the kingdom is compared to a king throwing a wedding feast for his son. When his servants are sent out to call those who were invited, they ignored him, and some even killed the servants. The king then sent the servants out onto the roads to gather whoever they could find to fill the wedding hall with guests.

The Kingdom Feast – A very common way of speaking of the kingdom in the Bible is through the image of a feast. In this parable, it is specifically a wedding feast that is in view for the king’s son. This is the Messianic banquet. The fattened calves have been slaughtered. The picture is one of great celebration with good food and  good wine flowing, and with all the nations coming together in joy before the king (see Isaiah 25:6). This is a picture that will be fulfilled ultimately when Christ returns (see Rev. 19:6-9), but even now we experience it in part in our fellowship with Christ and his people.

The Kingdom Rejected – Despite being invited to such an incredible banquet, the guests show utter disrespect to the host. Some ignore the message of the servants completely, and others killed the very servants who were announcing them. This was a reference to those in Jesus’ day who were ignoring or opposing his message of the kingdom. The same is true in every generation. There are those who are either indifferent or hostile to the good news of God’s kingdom, and just like in the story, they will miss the opportunity and find that the party is enjoyed by others in their place.

The Kingdom Filled with the Unlikely – After the original guests showed such disdain for the host, he sent the servants out to fill the room with whoever would come. In Luke’s version of the story, it is specifically pointed out that this would include “the poor and crippled and blind and lame.” The kingdom of God is open to all who will come, and there is a particular kingdom priority on those who would seem unlikely by human standards. In the kingdom, there is a special place for the poor.

Possible Applications

  • Accept the Invitation! – The passage is about how different people respond to the invitation to God’s kingdom banquet. It is a great opportunity to present that invitation to people and invite them to think about their own response.
  • Enjoy the Feast! – The picture of the kingdom as a wedding banquet is a powerful one and speaks of enjoying fellowship with him! We should enjoy being in his presence now, and look forward to this day when the banquet will take place in all it’s splendour!
  • Look to the Margins – We see the banquet of God’s kingdom filled with unexpected people, and this has always been the way. God works powerfully in the margins and if we are going to reflect his kingdom then we too should be looking to draw in those on the margins of society.