Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
- Matthew 22:1-14
There is a television advertisement that drives me crazy. (I love the restaurant chain, but hate the commercial.) The lyrics of the “jingle” are easy to remember, “When you’re ready, come and get it. Na-na-na-na. Na-na-na-na.” over and over and over again.
I cannot relate to such a call from the kitchen. If you went to the restaurant, other than a few items, they would have to prepare your food after you order. If they mean “eat some bread until we have your food ready…” maybe. So as a sit-down restaurant with ordering from a menu, the jingle does not work.
And comparing with what I grew up with, I never heard those words. “It is ready. Come right now.” Yes, but not the words of the jingle. The following I did hear:
- “If you do not get here within the next five seconds, your food goes to the dogs.” Note: I only went to bed hungry ONCE, and the dogs ate well that night. And to everyone’s surprise, the dogs will not die from eating table scraps – at least most foods.
- “If you do not get here within the next five seconds, you will be unable to sit while you eat.” Note: This means that I might be able to sit in a chair, but it would be painful after the spanking.
- “I don’t care if you are not ready or hungry. You will eat it. You will like it. And you will have seconds of everything … with a smile on your face.” Note: I think I threw up that night from overeating, but I never let my parents know – then, both ends would have been hurting.
There were not many variations to this, because when the call came to get to the dinner table, we had to drop what we were doing, immediately, run to the table, or pay dire consequences, and the threats were never idle threats. My parents carried them out.
My wife may call me to the table, but she allows an excuse. She needs to hear exactly why I cannot drop everything. She then determines whether I will eat alone or if she will stay at the table after I arrived late. The threat of eating cold food is silly now that there is a microwave oven.
You could read this basic table manners discussion into the parable above, but that is not what Jesus was saying. Jesus is talking about the Gospel being spread to the Gentiles. This is a paradigm shift from the Jewish thinking of the time. They thought that they were the Chosen people and all they had to do was look religious on the surface and they would be rewarded by God. Yet, Jesus turns that notion upside down. The invited guests (the Chosen people) are rejected, killed, and their city burned. The King then invites people at the spur of the moment, yet one of the newly invited guests is not wearing wedding attire. As Rev. MacArthur says of this passage, they were brought off the streets in a hurry. They could not go home and put on wedding attire, otherwise, the food would get cold. Thus, the King must have provided the clothing, and this one person refused to wear it.
This means that those who sit in the pew because it is a nice thing to do on Sunday morning have done a worse thing than those that rejected the King in the first place. We need a meaningful relationship with the King of kings, and that goes far beyond being “dressed properly for a wedding dinner.”
When you are ready, come and get it!
No, I do not find that in what Jesus said. Jesus related that the wedding feast is ready. Come, and if you delay, there are others who will sit at the table, and you will be left out.
In other words, when the gates of Heaven are opened, and Jesus stands at the gate and beckons you to come… Forget being ready, run into His arms.
We must be prepared. We have no idea when Jesus will open the door for us.
We must remain ready.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.