July 20

Text: Matthew 22:8-10

"Then he *said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.  Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.'  And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.”  (NASB)

Two things grab our attention: (1) The concept of unworthiness, and (2) the concept of “the kingdom” containing “evil and good.” Both are strange concepts to many!

First, invitation to the royal wedding was no longer based on “worthiness.”  Those who should have known the invitation’s value and honor were declared “unworthy.”  The parable is based on royalty and nobility.  Not just anyone was invited to associate with a king.  Though the concept of a class system is foreign to most people in a democracy, that concept was reality for those listening.  People who were considered nobility knew and understood things common people did not know and understand—nobility was “worthy” because of who they were.  They were special when compared to lower classes—they were suited for association with the king.

These Jewish leaders’ attitude was that they were “worthy” because of who they were.  Were they not descendants of Abraham through Isaac?  Had God not delivered their forefathers from Egypt?  Had God not given them Palestine?  Were they not the best of the best? John the Baptist addressed this attitude when he told Israel’s religious leaders that God could make descendants of Abraham from stones (Matthew 3:9).  Repentance determined the “right” to be with God, not ancestry!

Second, everyone was invited to associate with the king.  Unthinkable!  The king’s slaves went to the streets—not the houses of the nobility—and invited everyone, good and evil, to come to the wedding feast.  The objective was to fill the king’s dining hall with guests, guests that did not know how to behave as nobility.  How could the king invite such people to be his guests?  Matthew 8:11, 12 comes to mind: "And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (NASB)

Suggestion for reflection: Our basic blessings are not based on who we are, but on who the King is.  (Read 1 Timothy 1:17.)

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