DIGGING DEEPER INTO MATTHEW 22:1-14
Bible Background: Dr. David Lose calls this “an ugly parable.” None of the characters look good in it. Characteristic of other parables, this one uses hyperbole for ‘shock-value.’ There’s a softer version of this parable in Luke 14. In Matthew’s gospel-this story happens in Jesus’ last week; when tensions with the religious authorities are high. When Matthew is writing this down (perhaps 80 A.D.) Jerusalem and the Temple have been burned to the ground; and there is strife among Jewish factions-with persecutions aimed at those who believe Jesus was/is the Messiah. Still, the image of the “wedding feast” is an image that gets us thinking about Jesus coming again.
Going Deeper: 1. This parable conveys both grace and judgement. Notice the grace in the invitation that goes out to all! How do we as a church/as Christians, help get God’s gracious invitation out there for all?
2. For invited guests to refuse the king’s invitation is extremely rude. It’s not that they can’t attend. It’s that they won’t. Why not? Then there is outright rebellion against the king….messengers are killed! What choice does the king have? He meets force with force. Then, he invites others “both good and bad”. How significant is that? Can we do the inviting and allow God to do any sorting that needs to be done?
3. Then, there’s this guy without the right attire. He sticks out like a sore thumb! (In an Old Testament banquet scene, the king provides the proper garments to wear. Did this man refuse to put them on?) What might this ugly scene be saying? That while we can always rely on God’s grace-we should also expect to be transformed by it? And not insist on clinging to our old ways?
4. Be careful in this parable, about equating the king with God; or with equating the first invited guests with the Jews; or with presuming that we always know how to respond to God’s invitation! How do we take God’s invitation to repent and believe seriously? Or to be claimed in baptism and made new? How do we help others take those invitations seriously?
5. For a deeper take on this parable, go to www.davidlose.net and search for Matthew 22:1-14. Here’s a quote: Faith isn’t understanding everything, not even accepting everything. Faith is hanging on, trusting in God’s love, even when you don’t always understand or agree.