The Lord’s earthly life is almost finished. He spoke this parable shortly before going to Gethsemane, the Judgment hall, and finally to the Cross. The parable is actually a dispensational outline of how God is dealing with men and women in this age. It is another parable of the kingdom of heaven. It has to do with the sphere of profession and portrays conditions in Christendom during our Lord’s absence.
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, which made a marriage feast for his son (see Matthew 22:2):
1. The king is God.
2. The Son is Christ Himself.
3. The marriage is the union of believers with Christ.
4. The marriage supper is really the Gospel feast.
Please note that it is God’s feast, God’s Son, and He provides everything for the joy and glory of His own beloved Son. This thought was in God’s heart, and motivated Him to express it by sending the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to seek a bride.
Matthew 22:3 covers the period of Christ’s lifetime:
He sent forth His servants to call those that were invited to the wedding feast. Yet, they would not come.
- John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way—and they rejected him.
- The Lord Himself came and they rejected Him.
- He sent forth His disciples and they, too, were rejected.
The first invitation was limited in its scope. It was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They refused the gracious invitation. “Ye can discern the sky […]” “Come unto Me […]” John, writing many years afterwards, wrote, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (see John 1:11).
John 5:40 - “Ye will not come unto Me that ye might have life”
Matt 23:37 - “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…but ye wouldn’t”
Their answer? Crucify Him.
Matthew 22:4 introduces us to the period immediately following the ascension of the Lord. This is known as the Apostolic Era. The history of this time is given in the book of Acts. Consider Peter and the others pleading with the Jews “Tell them which are bidden—tell them again; all things are now ready.”
Matthew 22:5 shows us that they made light of it. It is true that a few of them accepted the invitation. The majority of them spurned Him (see Matthew 22:5) and persecuted His servants (see Matthew 22:6). Use the examples of the various soils, oxen, and the wedding feast. They went their own way into their trades of farming and/or being merchants. They followed after their earthly pursuits instead. Hebrews 2:3 says, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.”
Matthew 22:7 reveals that when the king heard of their continuing refusal, he was angry. He sent forth his armies, destroyed the murderers, and in A.D. 70, burned up the city of Jerusalem. God’s judgment on the wicked unbelievers can be summed up by the verse that says, “God is not mocked.”
Will God have an empty banquet hall because of this? Will no one accept the invitation and be present at the marriage feast for the glory of the Son? The wedding feast will be furnished with guests and He will find them in the most unlikely places. Matthew 22:9 says, “Go ye therefore into the highways and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” The Gentiles are then brought in (see Acts 10).
In Matthew 22:10, we see that the servants obeyed. From apostolic times until today, God’s servants have gone into every land and nation with the Gospel invitation; the good and the bad have responded and are still responding. The wedding feast will be furnished with guests. [Describe the events leading to this, including the Rapture, the Judgment Seat, and the Wedding.]
Matthew 22:11 reveals that it was a custom in the East for the host to supply suitable garments to be worn at these feasts. The wedding garment ensued that everyone was suitably clothed for the presence of the king. [Note the sphere of profession.] The guests were assembled; the king arrived and found a man without the wedding garment.
Matthew 22:12 allows us to picture the man entering the feast. The servants were making robes available to the guests. This man came along and said, “I really do not need to bother with that robe, you see I just bought a new outfit, and I do not think that I need anything else; I am quite presentable as I am. I am good enough.”
“But sir,” say the servants, “the king himself has provided this robe, and He wants all to wear one.” But the man insists, “Oh, I don’t think it will make any difference in my case; the king will be satisfied with me just as I am.” And he passed on in. He took his place with the rest of the guests. He joined in the preliminary activities, he used the same language. He was really enjoying himself. Then the king came in. [Quote Matthew 22:12] - “And he was speechless…” “That every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may become guilty before God.”
Matthew 22:13 describes the punishment. They are cast into outer darkness. Note the Great White Throne and the story of the rich man in hell. Profession - not everyone who sayeth Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of God. In Matthew 22:14 we learn that many are called, but few are chosen. The Gospel invitation is the call. Those who are chosen are those who obey the call.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast and the Great Supper
The King insists that the host be present until the guests are assembled. These parables show the time at His absence. Then is the time for His giving and receiving of His invitation and for His seating of His guests. In a sense, the gospel begins for each one as soon as he is saved, but the great banquet represented in these parables cannot really take place until He Himself sits down at the feast with us.