- Sermon Notes
Chapter 22 finds Jesus at the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees. He had been invited there to eat bread, but they were watching Him closely no doubt because they were hoping to find a reason to accuse Him.
Being invited to a feast then becomes the theme of the next 24 verses. The conversation at this meal at the home of one of the leaders of the Pharisees takes many interesting turns and is filled with spiritual insight for all of us.
At the table with Jesus were other Pharisees and experts in the law of God, but there was also a man, probably standing at the door, who was suffering from dropsy, a condition of severe water retention, probably from heart disease. Jesus impressed the lawyers and Pharisees for a definitive answer, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?"
Accusing Jesus of healing on the Sabbath was the best they could come up with for an accusation. Jesus was winning the hearts of the multitudes and the Jewish leaders decided on a campaign of accusation, very similar to modern political campaigns.
But Jesus continued teaching and when He noticed how the invited guests had been picking out the places of honor at the table He gave them a great lesson in godly character by teaching them about humility. Having the godly character of humility is more honorable than having a place of honor at the table.
Jesus then turned to the one who had invited Him and gave a lesson on who to invite for a meal, but it was also a lesson in God's heart to invite us to the marriage supper of the Lamb. "Invite those who cannot repay you and you will be blessed, even repaid, at the resurrection of the righteous."
When one of those who were reclining at the table with Jesus heard this, he said to Him, "Blessed is everyone who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!" Jesus then put his finger exactly on the point of the problem. They believed in the resurrection and that the kingdom of God would be inaugurated by a great banquet feast, and they assumed they would be eating bread at that feast, but at that very moment they were plotting to kill the One in whose honor the banquet would be held."
So Jesus gave a parable to explain the heart of the problem. The parable is about a certain man giving a big dinner who invited many, but they all alike made excuses. This is very similar to another parable Jesus gave about a king who gave a wedding feast for his son and sent out invitations. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven may be compared to this king who gave this wedding feast for his son.
This parable is about the invitation that God gives to the world, first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. There are other scriptures that speak to the fact that the church is actually called the bride of Christ and that there will be a wedding feast at the end of the age, but this parable is about the invitation to come, to respond to God when He knocks on the door of your heart.
I. Respondez, s’il Vous Plait
- That's French for, RSVP. It means literally, "respond, if you please." In other words, God is expecting a response to His invitation.
- In those days they didn't have postal service, so they would send servants to give invitations by hand and then they would knock on the door again when the feast was ready.
A. It’s the king; no excuses please
- It says that they each began to make excuses, one to his own farm, another to his business… another said he married a wife.
- In Matthew's gospel, the invitation was sent out from a king. Can you imagine making light of an invitation from the king? When a king is giving an invitation, excuses are weak.
Illus - It's one thing to ignore someone knocking on your door if it's a solicitor, but to ignore the king is another thing altogether.
- There is a difference between a reason and an excuse. The famous preacher, Billy Sunday, once said, “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”
- A person gives a reason for saying no when they truly cannot do something…
Illus – “The reason I can't help you move your heavy furniture is because I'm flat on my back with a ruptured disc," that is in fact a good reason he is unable to come.
- But an excuse is given when a person is unwilling to come, doesn't want to offend, or doesn't want to keep being bothered by more invitations.
Illus - If a guy asks a gal to go to dinner and she responds, "I have to wash my hair,” that sends a clear message.
Illus – When Jordi and I were getting to know each other, I was hoping for a relationship, but she said she “just wanted to be friends.” At first I was disappointed, but then realized, I call my friends; I go places with my friends :>) The rest is history.
B. Some people simply refuse to change
- People use excuses when they don't want to take responsibility for the truth or to try to shift responsibility from the truth.
- Sometimes it's small and insignificant, but it's still an untruth nevertheless.
Illus – “The dog ate my homework,” is a classic. Apparently, excuses aren’t limited to humans. Koko, the gorilla, is famous for mastering more than 1,000 signs of American Sign Language to communicate to researchers. One day they discovered a steel sink in her enclosure torn from its moorings, when confronted, she pointed to her pet kitten and signed, "Cat did it.”
- And the bible has some classics as well.
Genesis 3:12, The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."
Exodus 32:24, "I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”
- But back in Matthew 22, and looking at our own lives, people use excuses when they don't want to take responsibility for the truth.
- Why don't people respond to God's offer of life?
- I suggest two reasons: 1) some people don't want to change, they refuse to let go of that which is harming them; 2) they don't want a captain over their soul.
Illus - After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, many of the Jews saw what He had done and believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done; and so they said…
John 11:48, "If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
II. You must have Clothes that are Clean
- In Luke 14 verse 24 Jesus said, "None of those who were invited shall taste of my dinner." In Matthew we know this was a wedding feast and Jesus said that the king was enraged and sent his armies and destroyed them and set their city on fire. Again, this is a picture of the Jewish leaders rejecting Jesus as their Messiah. Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Jewish people were dispersed throughout the world until May 14, 1948 when they became a nation again.
- But the parable continues, the master again sent out his servant, but this time they went out into the streets and as many as they found, they invited to the feast.
- This is a picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ being given to the rest of the world, the Gentile nations, to respond to the invitation.
- Matthew 21:43, "The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it."
- It's interesting who are then invited and respond to the invitation. As we'll see, God doesn't invite those who deserve to be invited.
- But the parable takes an interesting turn because the king finds a man at the wedding feast who is not dressed in wedding clothes…
A. The clothes are yours as a gift
- Today, if we were to be invited to a royal wedding, one of our biggest challenges would be; what do you wear?
- When Prince William married Kate Middleton apparently the answer of what to wear was a grand hat, the grander the better, the hat is more important than the dress.
- But in that culture in Israel the answer was very simple, the king supplied the garment, and you couldn’t enter without it.
- When the king came in to visit with his guests, he saw a man not dressed in wedding clothes and said, "Friend, how did it come into your mind to enter without wedding clothes?" And he was speechless.
- There is very important symbolism here for all of us to understand. The clothes are a picture of the righteousness needed to be in the presence of our King and Father in heaven.
Isaiah 61:10, I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorned herself with her jewels.
- In contrast, our righteousness is like filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6, But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is like filthy rags…
- This is a beautiful picture of the fact that not only does God forgive our sin in Christ Jesus, but that he also gives us the righteousness of Christ also.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Isaiah 55:1-3 Come, you who have no money, come buy and eat!
B. Say ‘yes’ to God and live
- In Luke 14 verse 23, Jesus said that the master said to his servant, “Compel them to come in that my house may be filled.” We are the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. The heart of God is amazing!
- How much more should people say yes to God when we see His heart for those who are poor and crippled and blind and lame speaking spiritually?
- He gives His invitation to all and wants us to say yes to His invitation.
Deuteronomy 30:19, "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live,”
- As we have seen before, Jesus said that He stands at the door and knocks…
- But now is the time to respond.
Isaiah 55:6, Call upon Him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
- Many people have many excuses why they don't respond to God, "I was busy building a career," "I needed time for myself," "I just wanted to figure this thing out on my own."
- What you need is to say "yes" to God, to know that He loves you and calls you and makes you His own and He'll write your name in the Lamb's book of life.
Illus – You have an invitation from the King, that's one invitation you must respond to.
Matthew 22:1-14 NASB