The Parable of The Great Feast

Scripture Text: Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’  But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see. 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

To understand this story, you need an Eastern mind set which we Westerners don’t have. It is hard if not impossible for us to imagine a monarchy, a system of government where one person has all the power. Some parts of western Europe still have kings but they are figure heads who have no real power. In the old eastern monarchy, one man, the king had all the power. There was no parliament or congress and no supreme court. In ancient Israel, the king was sovereign. He held the power of life and death. No trials, no lawyers, no judges, no courts, no juries, no appeals: the subjects had no rights and the king had every right.

In this setting, what should rule number one be? DON’T OFFEND THE KING because He is Sovereign and we live in His kingdom. So remember…


 Think of the king as David. He had a hair trigger. If you caught him in the wrong mood, he would have you executed for bringing him bad news or in some cases, good news. So your first rule of survival is “don’t tick the king off.” You have a few servants but he has an army. What are a few grubbing hoes and pitch forks against a fully equipped cavalry with horses and chariots. So rule number one is RESPECT THE KING.

This is the motif of this story, the religious Jewish leaders had no respect for God. Whereas they professed to have great respect for God they showed little regard for His word, His messengers and now His Son. They are on the verge of offending the king and Jesus is giving them a stern but subtle warning to change their attitude about the King. You do not want to offend the king.

They had ignored his messengers and rejected his invitation. This was not an intelligent move since He had all the power and everything legally belonged to him: it was his kingdom and they were merely subjects living in his kingdom. Tenants should know better than to disrespect their land Lord.

The truth is this: The earth and the cosmos is the LORD’s. When Al [bless his heart] Gore talks about “Our planet having a fever,” he is wrong on two counts….[1] It is not our planet [2] It does not have a fever. Right now, it is in a cooling cycle. The fact is, we live in God’s world and He is sovereign over all His creation. He can send out invitations if He chooses to, it is His world and we are subject to Him whether we like it or not. We are also free to decline the invitation but we are not free of the consequences of offending Him by dishonoring His Son.  No one was at the feast that did not choose to accept the invitation. They were all invited and they all accepted the invitation.


Life is about choices, priorities and making wise decisions which the people in this story did not do. The King sent out invitations but the people refused to come. Actually [v.5] they ignored the invitation and went their own way. This leads to a question: why would anyone ignore an invitation from a king? You know that declining or ignoring the invitation is going to offend the king so why do it? I am going to suggest three reasons, there could be more.

1. Secularism: Worldly cares, encumbrances, secular business, or the concerns of this life, in providing earthly things.

2. Materialism: The riches, or love of wealth, busy amassing more wealth. [Building a little mini-kingdom]

3. Hedonism: Sensual satisfaction, or the inordinate love of pleasures, sports, entertainment, pursuit of power and pleasure: these are the things that destroy the soul: for this sort says, “they cannot come.”

Did these people realize how terribly they had offended the king? I don’t think so. They were busy in their own little kingdom and had failed to give the greater kingdom any thought. They were careless. Most of them did not hate the king, they simply didn’t give him any thought.


God is sovereign: He is king and we live in His kingdom [like it or not]; the earth is the LORD’s. We are living on His land. We are breathing His air. We need to keep this in mind. We are not little mini-kings building our own kingdom.  The only possibility of us having a kingdome would be for God to give us one, other wise, we don’t have one and we cannot build one. God invites us to be a part of his KINGDOM and He has sent out invitations…it is called the gospel. Listen to some of the whosoever’s in the bible…See if you can hear God calling you?

  • Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.
  • Whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.
  • Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled.
  • Whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
  • Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
  • Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.
  • Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
  • Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
  • Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
  • Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life
  • Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
  • Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst.
  • Whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.
  • Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
  • Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God.

Also think about the word “Come.” Sounds like an invitation to me.

  •  Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
  • “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them!
  •  “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
  • Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear.
  •  “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
  •  “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!
  •  “Lazarus, come out!”
  • The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say,Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

Your on the guest list: you have been invited so please give the invitation some thought. You are free to choose but you are not free of the consequences of making wrong choice. I’m going to be honest; I believe God does have a furious side like the king in this story. He is a God or wrath and His wrath is like an unquenchable fire. BUT He is also a God of love and mercy. Which is greater, darkness or light? Which is greater, sin or grace?

I am not going to compare myself to the king or a king and obviously I have not prepared a feast of this magnitude but I have prepared for guest, sent out the invitations and had no one show up. Actually, we had 8 and was prepared for 80. It hurt but I didn’t get angry. I had no moral right to get angry but with God it is different. I’m not a king and I don’t have my own army so there was never any threat of me sending my men to your place and burning it to the ground. This is just a story but it illustrates a truth: it would not be wise on your part to disrespect God or to dishonor His Son.

Jesus was addressing the Pharisee’s who were guilty of disrespecting the Father and dishonoring the SON. I have no doubt that Jesus loved Pharisees but they refused to repent and Jesus cannot not help any man who refuses to repent. 

I think it all boils down to verse 5, But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, anotheCr to his business. I think Isaiah 53:6 nails it…All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase reads like this…We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, {Jesus}. Jesus has made sufficient payment for our sin but we cannot get His Father’s forgiveness for His death unless we repent. Jesus said twice in Luke 13…Unless you repent, you will perish.”

Many years ago I heard a story about a huge city church that had many prominent members. We are talking about civil leaders, celebrities, successful businessmen, etc. It was a First Baptist type church: the church that the affluent want to be identified with. A woman of great wealth moved into town and after talking to several about the various churches, she decided that this was the church for her. What she did not discover in her investigation was that the pastor was a God fearing man who preached the bible and believed what he preached. When the invitation was given, the wealthy woman walked proudly to the altar to take the pastor’s hand. She told him who she was and why she had come. Sensing the air of pride in her voice and demeanor, he ask her if she had ever repented of her sins. When he mentioned sins in connection to her personally, she was aghast, startled and unnerved. “What do you mean?” Said the lady, “repent of what sins? I have no sins to repent of, I came to join this church so I could be a member and give it my financial support. I did not come to be embarrassed or labeled a sinner.” The pastor humble but resolutely said, “I am truly sorry madam but I cannot receive you into the fellowship of this church until you repent.” She turned in whirl and marched to her seat, mad as an old sitting hen. When she got to her seat, she fumed and replayed his words in her mind over and over. He will not get the best of me she muttered to herself and out in the aisle she went for a second trip to the altar but the pastor was resolute. He insisted that she repent and he called attention to her pride, stubbornness and self-will. She wheels around and considered marching right out of the building and never coming back but mysteriously, she returned to her seat. She felt humiliated and embarrassed. She was confident that everyone was watching. Suddenly a conviction came over her that she was in error and that in fact she had never repented of her part in the death of Christ. At that moment, her heart was broken and she began to weep. For the third time she stepped out into the aisle and went to the altar but this time it was different. She took the pastor’s hand and said, “Pastor, you are right, I have not repented but I do now, I know that I am guilty of the death of Christ and I am truly sorry. The Pastor smiled and said, “Now you are ready to become a member of the body of Christ.”
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and he repented. Joseph of Arimathea was a Pharisee and he repented. All Pharisees are not destined to hell, just those who refuse to repent.



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