The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Have you ever had one of those times where you know what something means but you can’t explain it? That is me occasionally and this is one of those times. I must have read about 5 different translations of this parable and all goes well until the last line. (First mistake right there Susie!) Now, I am used to Jesus explaining what his parables are but then realising the reason He speaks in parables — stories if you will — is as He likes to put it, ‘to create readiness’. I obviously was not ready to read and hear this story as you will soon find out...
After reading through a few commentaries and wrapping my head around it, I missed a crucial line. At the start of the parable Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son”. When I didn’t read this line, the story took a different slant. I was reading it as if the King was generous at first when he invited anyone that the troops could lay eyes on but then quickly judged the man who wasn’t wearing wedding robes. I was very angry at the King and then the last line, just confused me!
That’s me, jumping the gun….again!
Anyway, I read through it carefully again and made sure that every word was understood. I do have a better understanding of it now and it is a lesson I have learned thus far; don’t skim the Bible … it’s just not a good idea.
God, the King had this banquet thrown for his son, when he invited to first lot of, I’m sure highly esteemed, people, they declined the invitation. Then when the King asked for the troops to get anyone to the banquet, many turned up. What a chance to go to a banquet and feast on beautiful food in a wonderful surroundings. They knew who it was for and they dressed up. Basically, they understood what needed to happen in order to go for this wedding banquet; except for this man. We don’t know his story but we know he accepted the invitation, knew he would be getting fed and would probably have a great time with everyone else. I don’t think he expected what happened shortly after him tucking into the food…
God loves us for who we are. When we accept to live a life that is for God’s glory that is not just about consuming the word of God because as we know God is a God of action, He not only wants us to soak up His Word and to hear Him but he wants that to be blended into our everyday lives. That our lives with him and that interaction we have with him only causes us to live lives that honour Him and the people He loves, us and everyone else!
When we focus only on one part of doing, we ignore the other parts and I have very much been guilty of that. I know that I have the action down pretty well but sure, if I actually don’t read the Bible then it’s unbalanced. This parable has definitely challenged and convicted me. I have explained conviction before but I think it's a great and scary thing but so important in order for us to develop and grow as people who have an active faith. I need to be more holistic in my approach to how I do faith and that very much includes reading God’s Word more and not skimming it because there’s vital information in there that can help us.
Susie Keegan is a creative, a font nerd, a graphic designer and the new Diocesan Youth Officer for the Dublin Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. Use ‘Comic Sans’ in the wrong context and you’ll feel her wrath! Being an author on this blog has really pushed her comfort zone and she is very happy to be part of this community.