Matthew 22:1-14 (The Parable of the Marriage Feast, Part 2)

Who did the king send to call the people to the wedding feast?  See Mat 22:3.  Who did they represent at the time Jesus spoke the parable, and who do they represent today?  Observe that some translations refer to those whom the king sent as slaves and others as servants; what is our modern understanding of the difference between a slave and a servant, and which term best conveys the intended meaning?  Note that the Greek word used is doulos, which refers not to a free person serving another, but a bond-servant who has sold himself into slavery to another; cf. 1Co 12:13, Eph 6:5-8.  How is this different from most people’s understanding today of what it means to be in God’s service?  Is it different from ours?  I.e., do we consider such commands as to go call people to the wedding feast somewhat optional because we are free in Christ to do as we please, or do we consider them an obligation because we are His bondslaves who have been bought with a price and are not our own?  Cf. 1Co 9:16-17.  What does this part of the parable then teach us about the nature of those who are nearest to God in His service and most entrusted with the daily activities of His kingdom?  Cf. Act 4:29, Phil 1:1, 2:7, Jam 1:1, 1Pe 2:16, 2Pe 1:1.  Is there any question about them being at the King’s feast?  Cf. Luk 13:28-29.  Is there a danger that some may come who expect to be admitted but will not be, or may even be thrown out?  See Luk 13:23-27, Mat 22:11-13.  What then does this teach us about the sure way of being a part of those festivities?  Cf. 1Co 14:1.  What additional reward does Jesus mention awaits His bondslaves who have served him like the prophets in calling God’s people to the wedding feast?  See Luk 12:35-38.

Who did the people that the king’s slaves were calling represent at the time Jesus spoke this parable, and who do they represent today?  Was it the case that these slaves were calling people who didn’t know about the feast and couldn’t attend because the call came at the last minute and they already had prior commitments?  Observe in Mat 22:3 that the guests had previously been invited (literally, “called”), and this call was an additional courtesy to remind the guests that the hour had come and even assist them as needed to the celebration; cf. Est 5:8, 6:14.  What does this teach us about God’s genuine beneficence and earnest desire for those whom He has called to join Him at the feast He has prepared and commune with them?

What does Jesus say was the response of those who had been invited when the king sent his slaves to call them to the feast?  See Mat 22:3 and note that the Greek imperfect tense is used indicating a stubborn refusal to come.  How was this like the religious leaders to whom Jesus was speaking?  Cf. Mat 12:22-24, 21:23-27, Luk 7:30, 19:37-40, Joh 11:47-48.  How did it end up being like the nation as a whole?  See Rom 9:30-10:3.  In what way are many today who profess to be the people of God like these in the parable in having been invited to the King’s feast but when it comes right down to it, they refuse to come?[1] Are we like that?

What does Jesus say the king did at the refusal of those who were invited to come?  See Mat 22:4.  What does this again teach us about God’s earnest desire for those whom He has invited to share His joy at the feast He has prepared?  What does it teach us about His kindness and forbearance and patience even towards those who have slighted Him?  Consider in Jesus’ ministry how often the call went forth to come to the feast, and consider how often in our lives we have heard the call to come; in eternity when all is clearly seen, will any of those who were called as the people of God but didn’t come to the feast be able to say that they forgot or didn’t know or that nobody told them?  What does the king’s persistence in calling those who were invited to the feast but their unwillingness to come teach us about the notion held by some that it is ultimately God who is not willing for all men to be saved because He has not extended to them His enabling grace, without which they are unable to come to Him?



1. The reason why sinners come not to Christ and salvation by him is, not because they cannot, but because they will not (Jn. 5:40); Ye will not come to me. This will aggravate the misery of sinners, that they might have had happiness for the coming for, but it was their own act and deed to refuse it. I would, and ye would not.  Matthew Henry

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