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The Guests Who Said Yes

He said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.”
—Matthew 22:8-9

Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22 is told in three acts. Act Two of the play — that is, Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet — picks up after the enraged king sent his armies to bring justice against those who had mistreated and killed his slaves.

Now, after being rejected three times, the king would have been justified in calling off the wedding banquet, but the king’s son was going to be married and he wanted to honor his son. So he came up with an idea. Matthew 22:8-10 says, “Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.”

In Luke’s account of this parable, Jesus said they went out into the highways and the byways, and they brought in the lame, the crippled, the maimed, the deaf, and the blind, those considered the dregs of society—they were the ones who were invited to come and be a part of the wedding feast (Luke 14). It was unthinkable that these people would enter into the king’s palace. But, you know, the fact that they came made a much more exciting party. Had the first group that had been invited actually come to the wedding party, it would have been one more boring, highbrow affair for them. These people had probably been to the king’s palace before. But just imagine what it was like when these street people walked into the palace for the first time. Imagine them with their mouths wide open. This was a big deal to them. The first group likely wouldn’t have been impressed with the meal. In fact, they probably would have found something to criticize. One of them might have sniffed, “Can you imagine the chef serving white wine with lamb? How tasteless.” The second group, they were so hungry they were thankful for any meal they were served. Had the first group come to the wedding banquet, it would have been no big deal. But when the second group came to the palace—the blind, the lame, the crippled—it was an event that would be talked about for many years to come.

In the same way, when Jesus saved us by His grace, it was no common event. When He welcomed us sinners into His kingdom, it was a marvel to be talked about with wonder forever. Jesus’ point in this parable is simple. Why did the first group neglect or reject the king’s invitation? They felt as if they had no need to come to the banquet. They thought they had all they needed to satisfy themselves. But the second group was different. They accepted the king’s invitation because they were hungry for something. They wanted to be satisfied.

And what a great lesson for all of us. Those who accept God’s invitation are those who recognize their need for God.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Kingdom of God Is a Party” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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