Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In our text for today, the Lord speaks of the kingdom of heaven as like a wedding. In many of His parables, He speaks of the culmination of His plan of salvation as a wedding party. When a man and a woman are united in marriage, first there is a solemn ritual and then a celebration of the relationship that should last all their lives. The joy and happiness in heaven after this earthly life is like a wedding feast without end.
All who have attended a wedding know how joyous is the celebration. There is plenty of food and drink, dance and music. However, the point is not to eat and drink or dance, but to share in the happiness of the couple in their new life together. The gathering of the saints in heaven is like a wedding in this respect, but will not be an occasion for excessive consumption of food and drink. Our epistle (Ephesians 5: 15-21) reads:
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and praising the Lord in your hearts; Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. "
This is the way of our worship now, that reflects the character of our worship of God in heaven. Many people think that there is joy in drunkenness, but the pleasure lasts only for a while. Often people drink too much to forget their problems, but when they wake up in the morning, they have the same problems and more. Because under the influence of alcohol, they do many things they regret in the morning: fights, infidelity and the like. At the least, the result of drunkenness is a severe headache.
On the other hand, when we sing hymns and spiritual songs to God, we feel the joy in our hearts that will last forever. Now we sing in a simple way in a humble place. In January we worship our God in a better place, but how much better will be our worship in glory before the throne of God.
Well, our Lord says:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a king who made a marriage for his son; and he sent his servants to call those called to the wedding; they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. "
This is a symbolic story, so who is the king? God the Father Almighty. And the Son is Jesus Christ. What happened?
"But they made light of it, and went, one to his farm, another to his business; And the rest seized his servants, mistreated and killed them. "
The first guests invited by the Father were the Jews, the people of Israel. They had the first invitation, that is, the promise of the Savior and eternal life. However, many of them rejected the invitation. When someone declines an invitation to a wedding, it shows a lack of respect for the host. Many of the first invited guests had other priorities, taking for granted the promises of God, they even forgot the Word of God. And when the king's servants, that is, the prophets, reaffirmed the Word of God, they killed them.
Furthermore, when the Son Himself proclaimed the message of salvation, He was killed too.
Then the king said: "The wedding is prepared; but those who were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways and invite to the wedding as many as ye shall find. And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests "
God the Father made a covenant with the people of Israel and fulfilled it in Jesus Christ, but the guests did not believe. Then Jesus made a new covenant in His blood for all nations. This covenant does not depend on our merits, so the invitation is for good and bad together. Indeed, we are all sinners and need a Savior for that reason.
However, this parable is a warning not only for Jews, but for us too. If we take for granted the promises of God, we may lose the opportunity to attend the wedding. Please note the last part of the parable.
"And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man not wearing wedding clothes. And he said, Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment? But he closed his mouth. Then the king said to the servants, Bind feet and hands seize him, and cast him into the outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. "
The custom at that time was this: If someone did not have the money to buy new clothes for the wedding, the host would buy a suit for him. To attend the wedding without wedding dress also showed lack of respect for the family. If we do not live as redeemed children of God, if unbelievers do not see a difference in our daily lives, it is not good witness, it is not a good confession of our faith. So if we're arrive at the wedding feast with no evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we may lose the opportunity to enjoy eternal life in God's presence.
Thank God that the invitation does not depend on our own works. Jesus died for all, but we must not reject the invitation and take it for granted, because the day of judgment comes. But we should not fear the wrath of God, for Christ has done for us. Therefore, we have peace that passeth understanding. Amen.
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