The parable of the wicked vinedressers enraged the Pharisees, for they knew that Jesus spoke of them. However, they did not lay a hand on Him, for they feared the people (Matthew 21:46-48). Immediately, He spoke another parable against them.
Two Distinct Guest Lists
A king arranged the marriage feast for his son and sent his servants to call those invited. None were willing to come. He sent his servants a second time, but the guests wouldn’t come. In fact, some abused or even killed his servants. Jesus tells us,
…when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore, go into the highways and as many as you find, invite to the wedding. (Matthew 22:7-9)
A crowd was gathered, such that the hall was filled. However, there was a mix of bad and good guests. The king came upon a guest who did not have a wedding garment on. When asked how he came in without a wedding garment, the man remained silent.
Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into the outer darkness, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:13-14)
Rejected By The Jewish Nation
Who is this group of people that were invited, but refused to come to the feast? Who was guilty of mistreating the king’s servants? It was the Jews who waited for the Messiah, but then refused to receive Him when He did come. God sent His prophets to them, they did not heed them, but abused and killed them. The Jewish people, and more specifically their leaders, are the invited guests.
Jesus spoke prophetically of what would come upon the city of Jerusalem. The king
…sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. (Matthew 22:7)
The Lord would destroy the city of Jerusalem, which was the hub of Judaism. Jesus was not the first to speak about such. Daniel had said the same:
…after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and till the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26)
Jesus would cite Daniel as He warned the people about Jerusalem’s fate in Matthew 24:15-16 (cf Luke 21:20-21). The city would be destroyed because they rejected God’s Son. They were not worthy, and so others were invited.
A Mixed Multitude Invited
Who are these people who were invited to the feast AFTER the King was snubbed by the Jews? The prophets spoke of the Gentiles coming to the Lord (Isaiah 49:6; 60:3; Jeremiah 16:19-21; Malachi 1:11). We have been called into a wedding feast of the Son of God! However, the Lord said that not all these new guests were good (Matthew 22:10). The parable closes with the Lord speaking about one of the bad guests.
Imagine going to a wedding and seeing a fella come in wearing a pair of camouflage pants and a muscle shirt. Unfortunately, such uncouth behaviour may not be so hard to find in our day and age. As the king walked about the guests at his son’s marriage feast, he found one without a wedding garment. Most commentators agree it was a custom among the ancients to provide suitable garments to guests for such occasions. Had a garment not been provided, the king would be unjust to cast the man out. It seems the man had refused to wear a garment provided, which was an offence to the king. He was bound and cast out of the king’s presence.
Are You Clothed In Purity?
Friend, all who have been invited into the presence of the Lord are expected to wear a special garment. We cannot come to the Lord and remain in the sin-stained life we once lived in. In writing the book of Revelation, John spoke of the importance of being clothed in purity and righteousness (Revelation 3:4; 16:15; 19:8). Paul wrote:
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the work of darkness, and let us put on the armor of life. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Romans 13:12-14)
For us to enter the marriage feast of the Son of God, to be in the kingdom in eternity, we must put off the old garments of sin and death, and be clothed in the righteousness that is found in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9-11). Walk in the way of the Lord here, and we’ll dwell with him in eternity. of God.