The Wedding Banquet

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.’”—Matthew 22:1-2 (NIV)

Who doesn’t like to go to a wedding banquet? The festivities serve not only to celebrate the bride and groom but also to bring friends and families together to rejoice. In the Parable of the Wedding Feast, which we will focus on for the next few days, Jesus presents to the chief priests and Pharisees a picture of the history of Israel and a symbol of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

As God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel had a unique invitation to an eternal inheritance in the kingdom of heaven—a time when Christ will establish His kingdom on earth, commonly referred to as the millennium. The parable shows how God extended the invitation to this kingdom; but, like the wedding guests in the parable, Israel refused to come (Matthew 22:3). Instead, they turned away from God in exchange for foreign gods and didn’t acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah.

The parable continues by presenting the king’s relentless pursuit to woo the guests by showing the splendor of the reception. He instructed his servants to revisit each guest and explain that oxen and fattened cattle would be served—everything was ready! But they still refused. Some even went so far as to assault and kill the king’s servants (Matthew 22:4-6).

The servants of the king represent the prophets God repeatedly provided to Israel to call people back to Himself. These men stood as a voice for God to let the people know they had wandered far from Him, and inform them of the consequences of their wandering. Sadly, many of these prophets were hunted, abused, maligned, and killed.

Naturally, “the king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city” (Matthew 22:7 NIV). God, too, became angry by Israel’s rebellion toward Him and the abuse of His prophets. So, in His righteous judgment, he brought calamity on the nation by allowing other nations to conquer both Israel and Judah, taking livestock, wealth, goods, and people into captivity. 

The picture paints a rather dismal view at this point, but God is relentless and always has a plan. He knows the beginning and the end. As we continue through this parable, we will see the redemptive plan unfold not only for Israel but for every nation and all of creation. The Groom and His bride will indeed celebrate and rejoice.

DIG: What does the banquet represent in this parable? Who is the king and who is the son?

DISCOVER: Has God extended an invitation to you? Maybe it’s salvation or even an opportunity to grow in His grace. How did you respond?

DO: If your initial response was refusal, know that God is pursuing you in His mercy, grace, and unfailing love. He forgives you, and the invitation to follow Jesus is extended even now.

About the Author

Lisa Supp

Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.