1. How many wedding invitations do you receive each year?
2. How do you determine which weddings you will attend and which you will not attend?
3. How do you explain to the bride and groom that you must decline the invitation to their wedding?
4. If you attend, how do you determine what clothes to wear? (We received an invitation this past year that specified “formal attire”. Most do not specify what to wear.)
Recall, Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Passover. During the week He had several encounters with the religious leaders. They tried to make Jesus look bad in front of the large crowds that gathered everywhere He went, but He outwitted them each time. Jesus used a series of parables to illustrate spiritual truths that cut the religious leaders to the heart and infuriated them even more. They were more and more determined to get rid of Him. In today’s passage, Jesus tells a parable about a wedding banquet.
(A short disclaimer here: Parables generally have one or two main points of spiritual emphasis. We can’t give every small detail a special spiritual meaning.)
The Invited! Read Matthew 22:1-7
1. Who are the characters Jesus used in this parable to this point? (King; son; servants; and invitees.)
2. Whom does each character represent? (God; Jesus; servants of God—prophets, disciples, etc.; and Jewish people.)
The wedding feast would likely have reminded the Jewish leaders of the feast with the Messiah, which they were looking forward to when the Messiah arrived someday. One commentary stated that early on a notice would be sent out as to the day the wedding would occur so they could set it aside. Then on that day when everything was ready, those invited would be told to come. They should have wanted to make this small sacrifice a priority and go enjoy the feast with the king and his son.
3. How many times did the king send out his servants and what does this represent? (Twice and it demonstrates God’s grace.)
4. Why did those invited refuse to attend the feast? (They simply went about their daily business, unwilling to attend the feast.)
5. How did some even act cruelly toward the king’s messengers?
All of these actions demonstrate a total disrespect for the son and the king.
6. If you were completely honest, why do you attend most weddings you are invited to attend? (To show respect for the bride, groom, or the parents, or all of the above. You don’t want them to think you don’t care about this momentous event. Those invited in this parable didn’t care!)
Just as the king shows patience in verse 3, God shows His patience as He draws people to accept His invitation into an eternal relationship with Him through His Son.
7. How does the response of the invited guests in the parable reflect the way people respond to God’s offer of salvation today?
8. What causes people to respond in this way?
9. What is the fate of those who show utter disrespect for the king? (The destruction of the city represents God’s judgment on people who do not honor and accept His Son. This parable is a picture of Israel and her rejection of the Messiah. It is also a picture of people today who reject Jesus as their Savior.)
The Gathered! Read Matthew 22:8-10
Now we have many guests attending the banquet.
1. According to verse 10, what kinds of people were included? (Some scholars believe “evil and good” to be referring to Gentiles and Jews.)
2. What does that say to us about the nature of God? (He loves and wants a relationship with everyone.)
The guests who came to the banquet represented Jesus’ followers. Jesus clearly expresses that there was a place in the kingdom for everyone, “both evil and good”.
3. What should we be doing to ensure that everyone, “both evil and good,” hears the king’s invitation? (Through our prayers and monetary gifts, we can help spread the gospel across the globe. Right here in Ardmore, we are called to share the good news with “everyone” we encounter. We must do our part in sharing and then allow God to work in their hearts. Dr. Fannin puts it this way: Identify—Intercede—Invite. A very simple way to remember that “I” am the one responsible to share the Good News of the Gospel!)
The servants gathered the available people to attend.
The Unprepared! Read Matthew 22:11-14
It was the custom in Jesus’ day for the host to provide attire in the form of a robe if someone came without one. Likely, the king provided a garment as a gift for those in attendance. There was no reason for someone to show up in his old street clothes, other than overt rebellion.
1. What could this “wedding robe” represent? (The righteousness of Christ that all believers will be clothed with.)
This man was a “pretender”.
2. What is the significance of the king addressing the man as “friend”?
3. What consequences did he suffer due to his careless decision?
4. What false assumptions or beliefs do you think contribute to people’s belief that they will gain access to heaven without faith in Christ?
5. How should the doom of this unprepared guest motivate believers to share the gospel with clarity and urgency?
6. Who called the man’s hand on not being properly clothed? (The king, not the servants. Perhaps we have a lesson to learn here. Only God really knows who belongs to Him and who doesn’t. We need to tread lightly in this area.)
7. What was the man’s response when asked why he wasn’t properly clothed? (There was nothing he could say—he was speechless!)
8. Jesus taught a lot about “hell”. What are some words He used to describe this awful place? (A place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Place of condemnation. Where the “worm doesn’t die and the fire is never quenched”. A place of torment. Place of separation from God forever.)
9. How should the portrait of hell painted by Jesus serve as a motivator for believers?
“The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Summarize and Challenge!
Salvation is offered to all, yet each person must respond in obedient faith to be a part of God’s kingdom.
How can we help those around us to join Jesus in God’s kingdom too?
Through our words and actions we should tell the gospel story of God’s invitation for all people to join His kingdom. We must remind ourselves that God holds us accountable for our response to Jesus, and eternal punishment awaits those who reject His Son.
Have I placed my trust in Jesus, declaring that I want to be a part of God’s kingdom?
If you have not made that decision, what keeps you from making it today?
If you have said yes to God’s invitation and put your trust in Jesus, where and how can you share that good news with someone else this coming week?