The parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22: 1–14)

The parable of the wedding feast is a parable about universalism . Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of God is open to everyone, not only Jews.

This parable is told using the familiar setting of a wedding feast, however there are a few surprising events included.

A king was preparing a wedding feast for his son. He sent his servants out to bring the invited guests – but they did not want to come. The servants were once again sent out with the message,“Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.”

Their reactions were very strange and severe:

  • Some guests ignored the servants and went instead to their farms or businesses.
  • Others seized the slaves, mistreated them and then killed them.

The king was furious and sent troops to destroy the murderers and burn their city. He then instructed his servants to invite anyone they found, so that both good and bad people filled the hall at the wedding feast.

The original guests invited were the Jews. The Jews believed that because they were God’s chosen people that was all that was required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (ie to be invited to the wedding feast).

The Jews who ignored the servants were those who ignored the prophets who came to deliver the message of God, and perhaps those who refused to believe in Jesus. The Jews who reacted violently could be a reference to those who mistreated and murdered the prophets and messengers of God, and perhaps foretold of the rejection of Jesus.

The guests who were invited afterwards are the Gentiles. This parable shows that the Kingdom of God is open to everyone, not just the Jews.

At the end of the parable we see an interaction between the king and a man who was not dressed appropriately. He ordered the servants to bind this man and to throw him into the darkness where he will cry and gnash his teeth. The unsuitably dressed man represents those who were not prepared for complete commitment to Jesus.

The parable concludes with the words:

quote
Many are invited, but few are chosen.

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