As my wife, Sarah, and I prepared to get married a few years back, we sent out invitations inviting our friends and family to our joyous event. We promised a beautiful reception on the 10th floor of a historic building, where our guests would enjoy jubilant dancing, an open bar, and a delectable dinner spread (given my reputation, you can probably guess how much effort and care was put into menu planning, and boy, did it pay off!).
Needless to say, it shaped up to be a glorious night, all free of cost to our guests, most of whom replied on time. But there were a few that we had to hound for RSVPs, unable to confirm their attendance until the final weeks before the wedding. We couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to respond; we were giving all we had, but some guests seemed reluctant to take it.
Anyone who’s planned a wedding likely understands this struggle, and I think that’s why Jesus used it in His parable as He taught in the temple courts. In this tale, a king prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He butchered his oxen and fattened cattle for a glorious feast, yet when he sent his servants out with invitations, he was met with a chorus of “no”s. Most of the invitees were indifferent to this grand offering, and some even had the audacity to mistreat and even kill the king’s messengers!
Can’t you just feel the anger rising inside you? Who would have the audacity to treat anyone like this, much less a king?
Umm… yeah, it’s you and I and the rest of humanity.
In the Kingdom of Heaven, we have a greater celebration planned for us than any earthly wedding can even dream of. The joy that awaits us in Heaven is literally never-ending, and this blessing is completely free! All we have to do is accept Jesus’ invitation by believing that His sacrifice of the cross absolved us of our sins.
And yet, so many of us decline our invitation.
We choose the ways of this world over the wedding feast. Many of God’s messengers, including Old Testament judges, John the Baptist, and the apostles were tortured and killed for presenting God’s invitation to the people.
Even if you’ve chosen Jesus, you still make the decision to decline His invitation every time you sin. Though you know of this awesome party you’re invited to, you refuse to come (Matthew 22:3). You get caught up in work (Matthew 22:5). You prioritize things of this world over the King’s invitation.
One day, Jesus will return and create a new Heaven and a new earth. On that day, believers will begin an eternal party the likes of which have never been seen.
And those that don’t believe? Read Matthew 22:7. There’s really no nice way to describe their fate.
The good news is, the choice is yours! Whether you’re accepting the invitation of eternal life or the daily invitation to deny earthly pleasures to obey Christ, you don’t have to worry about God rescinding your invitation.
Take note that the King sends out messengers not once, but twice. Even after being rejected, He offers the foolish decliners a second chance. That’s how badly He wants them to attend His grand celebration.
He’s sent you your invitation. Now He eagerly awaits your response.