by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

The Invitation (3 of 7)
Series: Day by Day with Jesus
Roger Thomas
Matthew 22:1-14

''For many are invited but few are chosen!'' That's the punch line to Jesus' parable. Parables aren't just cute little stories that illustrate a spiritual lesson. Sometimes that's the case. But other times, Jesus' parables are more like riddles. They raise more questions than they answer. That may be the case with this one!

On Sunday, the crowds cheered Jesus like a king. He wept because he knew what was going to happen-to them. On Monday the tears turn to fire. He curses a barren fig tree and drives the money-changers from the temple. Both events were object lessons of judgment to come. The events of Sunday and Monday were not lost on Jesus' rivals. Mark's gospel records that after the temple affair, ''The chief priests and the teachers of the law... began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching'' (11:18). Tuesday turns into a day of challenge.

Our text comes in the middle of that last Tuesday. As with many of Jesus' parables, there is more to the story than meets the eye. The story provides a good window through which to view the other events of that day AND this day. It sheds some important light for anyone still trying to figure out what to do with Jesus. The story divides into three acts. Each is about an invitation. In the first, the invitation is offered. In the second, it rejected. In the third, it is neglected.

Act I: the invitation is offered. Ancient wedding customs were much different than the modern version. But they had one thing in common. A wedding was a big, festive event. The concluding wedding feast could last for days. Friends and family came from far and wide. This was the king's son. To be invited was a big deal. People might boast about being there for years.

Jesus says, ''this is what the kingdom of heaven is like.'' The Bible often uses the image of a great banquet as a pictur ...

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