The King’s Banquet
In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A Promised Feast
Through the prophet Isaiah, the people of Israel heard God promise that he was going to prepare a great feast, a banquet with the richest of foods and well-aged wine. The banquet would be a celebration of God’s gift of salvation. As Isaiah wrote, “[The Lord] will swallow up death forever and the Lord God will wipe tears from all faces.”
God promised to take away “the reproach of his people.” The Lord promise to take away all accusations of guilt and threats of punishment. There would be gladness and rejoicing when the Lord would come to usher in his kingdom with salvation. Isaiah wrote, “It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him that he might save us.””
The Wedding Feast
With that promise in mind, we hear Jesus tell a parable about a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. The king sends his servants to tell the people who had been invited that the banquet was ready. The Israelites had long been waiting for this announcement of good news.
The wedding feast is a picture of heaven where Christ and the guests will celebrate with the angels and archangels. The guests become the very bride of Christ and live with him forever in peace and joy.
In the parable, those who had been invited and re-invited found excuses not to come. They rejected the king’s gracious invitation and the joy of sharing the feast with the son. What happened next is a warning.
Because they refused to come to the banquet, they were no longer considered worthy. The king was angry and sent his soldiers to destroy those who rejected his invitation. Not only do they not go to heaven but they go hell, a reality that so many people want to deny even exists. They spend eternity completely separated from God, a death of constant loneliness.
The truth of the matter is they were never worthy of being invited in the first place. It was by the grace of the king alone that they were on the guest list. It was by his grace that they were invited to receive the great banquet of forgiveness and salvation. Many refuse the gift of God’s grace preferring the things of this world.
You have rejected God’s invitation whenever you have chosen to place other people, other activities, or other things in a higher priority than him. You reject the invitation whenever you justify your selfish words and actions instead confessing them as sin. You reject God’s invitation whenever you think that your thoughts are not sinful as long as you don’t follow through with them.
Repent, do not reject God’s invitation but repent of your sins and come to his banquet of forgiveness and salvation. Let him feed you with the good news that his Son has suffered and died for your salvation. Come to his banquet where you will hear the message that your sins have been paid for and your death has been swallowed up in the death of Jesus.
In God’s grace, he does not shut down his banquet because some reject his invitation. He does not cancel forgiveness and salvation because some reject the wedding feast. He does not stop inviting you and others.
In his grace, he sends his servants into world to invite all that they can find to come to the banquet. It doesn’t matter if those invited to the banquet are seen as good or bad in the eyes of the world.
God wants the banquet hall to be filled with guests. Rich or poor, smart or not, young or old, it doesn’t matter, he wants his banquet hall filled. He wants you there. That is why he invites you through his Word. That is why he washed you with the water of baptism. That is why he feeds you with his body and blood. He wants you there.
The invitation is given to you not because of who you are but because you have been purchased and won by the blood of Jesus shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. Everything is ready for you. There is nothing for you to do.
I’m sure you have been invited to come to a dinner at a friend’s house or here at church with the expectation that you will bring something to the meal. Our pot-luck dinners are a good example of this. God’s banquet of salvation is different. He has prepared it all, the best food, the best wine, the best of everything. It is not a pot-luck meal it is a gracious wedding feast.
What Shall We Wear?
One last question remains, “What shall I wear to the banquet?” Let me tell you a little bit about the custom of weddings at the time of Jesus. If a king or ruler would host a wedding, it was his responsibility to provide proper wedding attire for all the guests.
It was understood that guests would not have the wealth to have their own special wedding clothes. When the guests arrived, they were clothed with robes provided by the king. In the parable, when the king came he found one of the guests who did not have on a proper wedding garment.
This guest had refused the robe that the king had provided. Our king has provided the most beautiful robe for you to wear at the great banquet. Our king has provided you with the robe of Christ’s righteousness.
If anyone rejects the righteousness of Christ, they are saying to the king, “I think my righteousness is better than Christ’s.” What a foolish rejection that would be. No one can remain a guest if they are not covered completely with the righteousness of Christ.
The banquet has been prepared for you. The perfect wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness is given to you. Your sins are forgiven for the sake of Jesus, the Son of God. Your death has been swallowed up by the death of Jesus Christ. Your invitation is given to you whenever you hear the Word of God proclaiming your salvation by the grace of God through faith in the Son of God.
The banquet has begun. We receive a foretaste of the feast to come when we are feed with the very body and blood of Jesus Christ. What is left for us to do, “O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
This parable is about the heavenly Father who prepared a wedding banquet for his Son. It is about our gracious God who invites us to his banquet of salvation and clothes us with the proper wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness.
This wedding feast in not just about our being guests at the wedding feast, but it is about you and me being the bride of Christ. You and I are the most precious bride whose sins have been forgiven and who are called to be with the bridegroom forever and ever.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.