You've successfully subscribed to With Christ on the Mountain Top
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to With Christ on the Mountain Top
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.

Invited to the Feast

. 7 min read

In today’s Gospel reading we see that Jesus,
fulfilling the prophecies of Psalm 78
Psa 78:2. and
Isaiah 6
Isa :6:9., uses parables to connect with the people of his time. These
were, after all, a storytelling people.
He provides the event of a wedding feast to give YET
ANOTHER example of what is in store for humanity in the Kingdom of God. And Jesus
provided lots and lots of examples!                                                                                         
Much to MY relief, I learned that the parables
although intended to be memorable, are not necessarily transparent. I spent some
time with this one.
. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –                                                                                                                            

                                       

So, The King has invited the guests to the wedding
feast in the tradition of the day: A first invitation is given at the time of the
announcement of the marriage, and then a second, more immediate, invitation is sent
for the prepared feast.
The
first call by the servants
represents
the OT prophets announcing to the nation of Israel “The incarnation of Jesus was coming!” But they failed to respond.
This second wave recalls the time in which Jesus
lived, and represents the more urgent message “Look, the incarnation of Jesus has arrived!” People remained so
preoccupied with the here and now, and their own affairs, that they had little
concern for the Kingdom of Heaven. They
made light of the invitation.
Furthermore, these servants were mistreated and
killed, a reference to the sacrifices of John the Baptist, Jesus himself, and
the disciples, to whom, in Luke 10
Luke 10:3, Jesus
warns that he is sending them out “like lambs among wolves”.
Despite all this rejection, The King moves beyond anger
and does not relent to the plan. There is a Feast planned and there will be
guests!
I love
that God does not give up on us! After all, isn’t this the story of the entire
Bible, from Genesis to Revelation?; God’s consistent, loving but adamant,
request to hear God’s call for us to come into relationship.
Finally, in verse 8 “servants … ‘go to the main highways and invite to
the wedding feast as many as you find.’
 both bad and good; so the wedding hall was
filled with dinner guests.”
Jews and Gentiles together, of both good and bad morality,
are now asked to accept the invitation of the king! The good news of the Gospel
can be heard – Love, Grace and Acceptance.
The King has made a HUGE investment in this party, what
with fatted calves and the like. We’re talking prime rib here.
Likewise, God’s has invested IN US and our entry into
God’s Kingdom. What’s the tab come to?
We already know:  For
God so loved the world …”
John 3;16      . . . .
The price paid out
of pure love for us
so that we could have salvation was “His only begotten
Son”.
Those who had received SPECIAL notice, but principally the
religious elite <chief priests, elders, Pharisees> had spurned the King’s
invitation. Commentator Stanley Hauerwas described it as being consumed by
their own “prideful presumption”.
However, THIS group of new Christian believers responded
to the generosity of the king. 
As a
result, Israel’s Messiah became the world’s Savior
But wait, there’s’ more!
Verse 11 “But when the king
came in to see the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed
 [appropriately] in wedding clothes,12 and he said, ‘Friend,
how did you come in here without wearing the wedding clothes
 [that were provided for you]?’ And the man was speechless.
The parable makes clear that these who came to the banquet
‘from the streets’ are expected to be clothed as per the traditions of the day.
After all, few of you are going to show up to a wedding
‘come as you are’. In fact, I would bet the majority of us would likely ask
“What am I going to wear?” a week in advance.
The message to us? For God’s Kingdom, we are expected to
be clothed by the virtues bestowed upon us through our baptism and the
righteousness of Jesus.
In other words, the putting on of love,
trust
, and care of the needy, and the
shunning of the
false
idols
of greed, ambition, and self-absorption.
Do WE not get distracted by our own desires, take the easy
way, and ‘make light of the invitation’ and walk in without wedding garments?
“One of
my functions at work is to audit and coach our work teams as our Steelcase
furniture is prepared for distribution to our customers.
About
two weeks ago, as I observed a group of loaders, I got caught up in the banter
of the some of the guys in the trailer. It can get rather salty. Wanting to fit
in, and in the spirit of the moment, I found myself compromising my own
standard of conversation.
Having
started to study this parable, I began to understand what this invitation is
all about!  As I moved on from there, I
said, “Aguayo, REALLY?, These are not the Christian values that will keep you
invited to the Feast”    …   Fair to say that I had left my garment off!
And, be sure, We’ve talked about this”
It is HARD to stay the course! It’s easy to fall into
traps!
A couple of observations on this last development of the
unprepared person in v.11:
Note that the King addresses the stranger as “friend”,
providing a certain benefit of the doubt based on Love.
Next, God requests a reply.
God provides time and time again the opportunity for us to
respond. For example, The question to Adam and Eve in the Garden after the Fall
 ‘Where are you?” asked God.  (I think God knew already.)
God gives us many, many chances to reply. Recall the many
rounds of invitations earlier in the story!
This to me is a continuing plea of the relationship God
seeks with us.
At first read, I
found it curious, if not disturbing, that the underdressed person was
speechless. “C’mon, Say Something!” I thought. In fact, the King was one to whom he could give no deceptive response.
Any reply from this guest  would have been
an obvious falsehood: God knows what is in our hearts! The speechless person
represents the futility of trying to deceive the all-knowing King.
Through the
rejection of the unprepared guest in v.13 to the outer darkness, the parable
reminds us – God will stand in Judgement.
I liked how Apollinaris
of Ravenna put it: The outer darkness … also speaks of those things far removed
from
divine
virtue
and glory.
So we ask ourselves:
What do we do that moves us away from virtuous behavior and keeps us from what
we know to be right in the eyes of God?
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Put another way, many people hear the call of God, but
only a few heed it. Many get invited, or summoned, but few make it.  … few persevere to the end.
Did I mention this was HARD! The human condition continues
as such!
The price of Jesus’ death is too precious to God, TO US, to let anyone into the Feast
unprepared to commit to wearing the proper attire …In the parable, here at the
end is the warning to professing Christians.
Us.   
We …    are …    accountable.
.——————————————-
My
daughter Alisha married Alex 4 years ago and Carol and I had the pleasure of
hosting the Big Party. And many of you know that Carol and I are a ‘mixed
marriage’: I bring rich Mexican traditions and Carol hails from time-honored
Puritanical New England values.
When it
came to inviting the guests: Well, on MY side of the family, you can expect
LATE, inaccurate RSVP’s, if you receive them at all, oh, and your invited
guests MAY WELL bring someone else, likely people you have never met!
Now on
Carol’s side, you honor the RSVP and you reply on time; sending the exact
number of guests attending,  … or
perhaps,  Regrets.
And, no,
you never bring your neighbors!
There
are expectations necessary to execute the plan!
Now, we
ended up making many follow up calls and still there were ‘drops ins’ that we
accommodated. We love them all.
 By the way, they all showed up in wedding
clothes!
.——————————————-
Time and time again, like a beacon of light shining
through the New England fog, God’s grace shines through the stubbornness of we
so-called stiff-necked peoples throughout history.
‘Come, for the table now is spread, … And you will be
richly fed”’. An RSVP is included in your bulletin today.
The Kingdom of Heaven was opened up to anyone; anyone who will set aside their own
righteousness and, BY FAITH, accept the righteousness God provides in Christ.
Those who spurn the gift of salvation and cling instead to their own ‘good
works’ will be judged.
My Friends, this is a feast of God’s abundance! This
is the reward for relying on God’s provision of salvation and grace, not on our
sense of what’s right or our service.
Through God’s love for us, and the sacrifice of Jesus, you
have the invitation.

Our King is
waiting your RSVP.