1And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1-14)
I have to say, this is quite the Gospel reading! Here’s one of the things I missed up until I started looking at this Gospel reading for this Sunday: the horror story of the wedding banquet. While camp songs might bring out that some who were invited used the excuse of their recent marriage or purchase of a cow, I somehow missed that the master’s servants were slaughtered by those he was inviting to the feast. Not only that, but I missed that the master sent troops to put this murderous rabble to death.
Now here we get a picture of exactly what happened to the prophets. Some ignored them and chased after the things of this world, but if you were a prophet, it was likely that you would be killed by those who despised the message the prophets brought (and thus despised the source of the message, the one true God). Here we see also how God’s chosen people put their own Messiah to death. This ultimately leads to the master sending out the servants to invite people off the streets, both the good and the bad.
The sermon is still in the works, there’s almost too much to fit into one sermon: the prophets, Christ’s death at the hands of sinners, the final judgement, God’s steadfast love to all, even the outcasts of society. This is certainly a Gospel text that can preach itself.