The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and be given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
In his book “What’s So Amazing about Grace?” Philip Yancey recounted a story that first appeared in the Boston Globe in 1990. A bride-to-be and her fiancé went to the Hyatt in downtown Boston to make arrangements for their wedding banquet. The price came to $13,000, and the couple left a check for half that amount as a deposit.
But before the wedding, the man got cold feet. The event manager at the hotel was very apologetic, but she could not return the jilted woman’s money in full. “You have two options,” the event manager said, “to forfeit the rest of the down payment, or go ahead with the banquet.” The woman decided to go ahead with the banquet–but instead of a wedding banquet, it would be a big, blowout party for people living in homeless shelters and rescue missions. You see, the woman herself had been homeless a decade earlier. Now she wanted to treat people who were down and out to an unforgettable night on the town.
So in June 1990, partygoers descended on the Hyatt. Yancey wrote, “That warm summer night, people who were used to peeling half-gnawed pizza off the cardboard dined instead on chicken cordon bleu. Hyatt waiters in tuxedos served hors d’oeuvres to senior citizens propped up by crutches and aluminum walkers. Bag ladies, vagrants, and addicts took one night off from the hard life on the sidewalks outside and instead sipped champagne, ate chocolate wedding cake, and danced to big-band melodies late into the night.”
Contrary to what most people believe, heaven is not going to be a boring, never-ending church service. Instead, Jesus taught that heaven can be described as a big, blowout party to which everyone is invited–but only a few of the most unlikely guests are going to attend. That is the theme of the parable we are going to look at this week.
The context of this parable is found in Matthew 21:43. Speaking to the Jewish leaders, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and be given to a people, producing the fruit of it.” Jesus was teaching that even though Israel rejected Christ, God was not going to cancel the kingdom of heaven. Instead, He was going to invite the Gentiles. That was unthinkable to the Jewish leaders. But it is what Jesus taught, and to emphasize that truth, He told the parable of the marriage feast.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Kingdom Of God Is A Party” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Philip Yancey, “What’s So Amazing about Grace?” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 48-49.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org