As I read this latest parable under our investigation today I was somewhat struck at the bluntness of it. Jesus was trying very hard to make a breakthrough with the Jewish leaders. They had positions within the temple that required leadership. They were God’s representatives to His people. Yet, sadly they had failed in their duties. Their prime responsibility was to serve the people with God’s love and assist them in learning to trust Him and know Him more. God had been sending prophets and teachers to His people for generations encouraging them to turn to Him and trust Him. Tragically, these men were more often than not sent on their way, chased out of the cities whilst some were even killed. God had now sent His very own Son Jesus to them to represent Him and be their Messiah. They failed to recognize Him. They refused to listen.
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet is the third parable Jesus told to the Jewish leaders and to the crowd of people who were gathered at the Temple. I have found the parables of the two sons and the tenants hard hitting. The proverbial ‘blind Freddie’ could easily understand the truth behind each parable. They were very pointed indeed. Yet, those who ‘should know better’ were so blinded on discrediting and destroying Jesus that they failed to really listen to what He was teaching. In this third parable, Jesus does not hold back and hits them ‘right between the eyes’ with a scathing attack on how they will be left out of God’s kingdom. The imagery is stark. The imagery speaks a thousand words. The image that speaks most to me is the man who arrives at the banquet and is not dressed accordingly. He stands out in the crowd because he is missing something of great importance.
Verses 11-14 are incredibly poignant and hard hitting. It leaves you in no uncertain mind that there is only one way into God’s kingdom and that is through Jesus and Jesus alone. For it is impossible for those who are not dressed in ‘Jesus’ clothing’ to gain entry. In fact, they are thrown out into the darkness where there will be ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’. Pastor Ernest will unpack this telling and sobering parable this morning. May we all have ears to hear with today and take very seriously this teaching. May we also pray for our family and friends who are yet to know Jesus because they will be the ones not ‘dressed appropriately’ for the great wedding banquet! Tragic!