As Jesus ended his earthly time with his disciples he had them prepare the Passover, his last meal with them before the cross. He emphasized that as they partook of the bread and wine that it represented his body and his blood shed for them. Although they did not totally understand the significance of this night until after the Resurrection, they quickly instituted what we know as Communion. In this way they obeyed his command to remember his death until he returns and when we may all celebrate it with him in heaven.
In Proverbs 9, Solomon used an analogy of two banquets prepared by Lady Wisdom and Dame Folly. Lady Wisdom is busy preparing a dinner for the guests, the naïve who lack understanding, sending out the dinner invitations to come and feast at her table. The invitation reads: “Blessed is everyone who will feast in the kingdom of God!” She sends her slaves to gather those invited to come. In contrast Dame Folly, who is naïve and does not know anything, sits at the door of her house calling to the passersby, come and taste of the “stolen waters which are sweet.” This reminds us of the parable Jesus taught in the NT of a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son and invited many guests. However, those who were invited offered excuses and would not come. Thus he said ‘the ones who had been invited were not worthy.” Why were they not worthy? They did not come when called.
Our King is busy preparing a sumptuous banquet for us and invites us to come. Will we offer excuses or be ready? God’s banquet leads to life eternal but Dame Folly’s only offers separation and death.
The Parade is over and Jesus is in the Temple once again and is teaching, as he has so often, about the kingdom of heaven through parables. We remember that Jesus told the disciples that he would be using that approach: “I speak to them in parables: Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand” thus fulfilling Isaiah’s 6:9-10 prophecy. Although this was Jesus’ method the Pharisees and chief priests knew not only was he directing his teaching at them but also they understood the implications of his teaching. That is why they wanted to arrest him as we found out in chapter 21.
Jesus spoke to them again in lest any should say they never understood. He has just told them that they were rejecting Him as the Chosen One and now He will emphasize it in greater detail through an illustration that they could all relate to which is a method that we must learn to utilize as well. Start with a common every day thought and use it as a spring board to the truth you want the audience to grasp. In this parable the listeners would have grasped the importance of the wedding banquet in their first century culture, but more importantly they would have been astounded that the king would invite any to his son’s banquet! This was thus not just any banquet–it was for his son! In that culture one received an invite and then when the banquet was ready the ‘king’ would send for them. Try to picture you receiving an invite to a head of state’s home for dinner. You receive it in advance and when the time is ready your limo arrives to pick you up. But, notice the responses of the invitees. They would NOT come! They were indifferent and turned their back even when he sent a second gracious summons! No wonder the king was furious! He had spared no expense nor the preparation.
What are we to learn? The king is God and He has a banquet prepared for Jesus, His Beloved Son. He has spared no expense; he sent his only son so that no one would perish but have eternal life. All have been invited to come and celebrate! Yet there were some then and some today who say no or some who are just too busy. In Matt 8 we read that many said they would go but they had many excuses as to why “not now.” When he sent out the disciples he gave them orders to shake the dust off their shoes if the message they brought was ignored or rejected. We meet these same people today in the marketplace; in our workplace and even in our families. They are more concerned about their now than their eternal destiny. Felix said the same thing to Paul in Acts 24.
What about the intruder in the banquet? Who is he? And why is he even there? He is there because the invitation was to both good and bad but even with that there are rules of decorum to be followed and he chose to not do that. How often have we heard that the “I am the Way, The Truth, The Life” just doesn’t cut it for me? I will come to Jesus in my way. Note the consequence! Bound and sent packing to outer darkness. There will be some that will face this in the day of judgment.
Beloved, God has a plan and it includes you. He has issued His invitation and He has sent this message to you. What will you do with it? Will you come and celebrate or are you just too busy to do it now? Remember the intruder when this crosses your mind.