DUNCAN/Parables against the Pharisees
Turn with me in your bibles to Matthew 22:1-14. The parable outlines nicely into three parts. If you look at verses 1-7, it focuses on the issue of this rejected invitation. An invitation has gone out. It’s been rejected. Then if you look at verses 8-10, that section focuses on this filled wedding hall. Guests have been brought in from all over. And then the third section of the parable you’ll see in verses 12-14. And it focuses on the man with the missing wedding robe. Everybody else is prepared. Everybody else is in their finery. But there’s one man sitting in that hall who doesn’t have his wedding garments on. As we look at those three sections today, I’d like you to see three things. First, Indifference to Christ and opposition to Christ are both rejection of Christ. Second, that God’s offer of the gospel is free and His inducements to come are great. Third, that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom. Let’s look at the passage together.
I. Indifference to Christ and Opposition to Christ are Both Rejection of Christ
First, let’s direct our attention to verses 1-7. Here, we see a picture of the rejection of Christ. And we learn a very important lesson. We learn that indifference to Christ and opposition to Christ are both rejection of Christ.
Now, as I said this is a shocking story. A king has a son who is going to be married. And he sends out an invitation to his subjects to come to the wedding feast. Now undoubtedly the original list who are sent this invitation would be a rather esteemed multitude. And surprisingly everyone turns the king down. Now you need to understand that everyone hearing this parable as it was originally spoken would immediately have been offended by that. And so, the king implores these people to come. He says, look, I’m going to be serving great food. This is going to be a tremendous party. Please come. And we’re told that still people don’t care. They’re indifferent. They go on to their farms. They go on to their businesses. In fact, some of those people take the messengers of the king and mistreat and kill them. And then the king enraged on the very day of his son’s wedding feast, sends out his armies and burns the town to the ground.
Jesus is telling a shocking parable here. And He’s doing it to jolt you into the reality of what it is when we reject the gospel offer. God has spread this feast for us in the gospel. It’s cost him his son. He’s invited all to come. And when we reject that offer, either by indifference or direct opposition, it is an offense to God almighty, it is rejection of Christ.
II. God’s Offer of The Gospel is Free and His Inducements to Come are Great
Let’s look at verses 8-10. Here we see this wedding hall filled. Matthew from the beginning to end is concerned to show us that the message of salvation, as Paul would put it, is to the Jew first and also to the Greek. That is, that the message of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven is not something that is only for ethnic Israel. It is for the Jews to whom the covenant promises were originally given in the days of Abraham, but it is also for the Gentiles. And here in this picture in verses 8-10, He shows us the calling of the Gentile. But He also reminds us of something very important. And that is this, that God’s offer of the gospel is free. And the inducements to our accepting that offer of the gospel are great.
There’s more irony in this parable than just the ironies that we’ve pointed out in the first seven verses. And the very first irony that meets you, you find right here in verse 8. Jesus uses irony to draw attention to the wickedness of those who had rejected the invitation. And so, when this king sends his servants out into the highways and byways to gather anybody who happens to be standing there and to draw them in, we sense the justice of it, but we also see what an inducement they have to come to this dinner. And so, they’re sent out into the highways and byways, and all manner of people are drawn in. Perhaps, mostly from the underprivileged ranks. And we see here the unrestricted offer of the gospel. The fact is, the sacrifice of Christ is for all. And so, regardless of race and nationality or sex or social standing. No nation has any special standing before God, Matthew says. But God desires all to come to Christ.
III. Not Everyone Who Says “Lord, Lord” will Enter the Kingdom
And then in verses 12-14, we see God’s judgment against the false profession of faith. Many are drawn in to this marriage feast, but not all have truly embraced God in the gospel. And so, we learn in Jesus’ words that not everyone who says, Lord, Lord, is a member of the kingdom. And here we see yet another irony. He walks up to this one man, and he says, “Friend, how did you come to be here without a wedding garment?” And the man is speechless. And the reason he is speechless is that he has no excuse. But it’s so ironic, because the king says, “Friend” and then one of the very next words out of the king’s mouth, “bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness.” Not normally something you say to a friend. Why? Jesus is showing us that there are some people who like to think of themselves as friends of his who aren’t. Let me give you a direct example from Matthew. If you’ll turn with me to Matthew 26:50, you’ll see Jesus use this term in the same way. In the Garden of Gethsemane, and a friend of Jesus’ comes to see Him. A friend named Judas. And he comes up to plant a kiss on Jesus’ cheek. And the first word out of Jesus’ mouth is “Friend, what are you doing?” You see, Jesus knows that there are people who pretend to be His friends who are not. The feast has been spread. The way has been prepared. The invitation has been given. The garment’s been provided. Everything’s there for them, but they’re not His friend, because they won’t repent. You see, the one thing that’s waiting is repentance. And Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, just as surely as He’s saying to you and me today, ‘The feast is spread, but you must repent to eat it. And if you don’t, you’ll be consigned to the same end as this man without the wedding garment in the end.’ May God bless His word.