The Kingdom that Demands a Response

A sermon manuscript for Matthew 22:1-14,
prepared for Life Bridge Community Church
(recorded audio | sermon notes | parables study tool handout)

Introduction

Well, here we are – the final message in our Kingdom Parables series. Today, we’ll be studying the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22.

Jesus' Nine Kingdom Parables

I’ve put our chart back up on the screen, and I want to renew my encouragement to you to be studying these parables in your own time.

In addition, although we don’t have time to look at them, I want to point out that today’s parable is the third in a trilogy of so-called “judgment parables,” through which Jesus pronounces judgment over the leaders of Israel who are challenging His authority and rejecting His Kingdom.

As you can see, these other two appears in the previous chapter, Matthew 21. In fact, the Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Matt 21:33ff) is almost identical to this parable. I would encourage you to check these out as well, as you’re meditating on today’s message this week.

Finally, before we get into today’s passage, I wanted to share a quick personal update. As you know, I’ve been conducting my internship at Life Bridge for the past 18 months. As of this week, my internship has concluded. Sometimes I think when people hear “internship,” they think that our family will be moving on as soon as it’s over, but we are not. This church is our home, and we are members here. I have 3 more years of school, so at least until that is completed, we’re not going anywhere.

But what I really wanted to say is “thank you” for the innumerable ways you have encouraged and supported me and my family during this internship period. Thank you for the opportunity to open God’s word with you, which is an awesome privilege. We love this church, and consider it an honor to do life together with all of you. So, thank you!

On that note, let’s pray, and then dig into the parable of the wedding feast.

Prayer for Illumination

Father, we praise you for the marvelous ways in which you love us. We thank you for your word and for your grace, for your patience with us and for your reckless love. We come to you with open hands and open hearts today, because we truly want to know you and love you more. Illuminate your word for us and teach us. And use this time and this parable to change us and make us more like you, Jesus, for it’s in your name that we pray.

Amen.

The Parable

Open your bibles with me to Matthew 22:1-14, and follow along, as I read from the ESV…

Again, Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.

Again, he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.

The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So, the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

For many are called, but few are chosen.

Character Overview

Wedding ReceptionThis parable has a ton of characters in it, but only two are truly the focus of the story. So, before we dig into the text, let’s take a few minutes to describe the characters in the parable, because I think it will help smooth out our analysis as we walk through the passage. There’s a chart on the back of your bulletin insert for you to fill in, so that you’ve got it as an easy reference when we’re analyzing the parable.

  • The king – The first character is the king. He represents God the Father, and He’s the main character. Often, when we encounter kingly language in Scripture, it’s talking about Jesus. But in this parable, the king is the Father, who is hosting a wedding feast for his son.
  • The king’s son – This is Jesus, the bridegroom, who is betrothed and preparing to celebrate His marriage with a royal banquet.
  • The bride – The bride is us, the people of God – Israel and the Church. Let’s pause for a second and let that sink in. This is incredible. The King of heaven left His throne, became a man, died and rose again, so that He could be united to us, and resurrect us with Him into a totally new kind of life that lasts forever.

The fact that the Eternal Son has chosen you for Himself should absolutely blow your mind! It should drive us to our knees in worship. It really should give you butterflies just to think about it … as if you really were the bride on the morning of her wedding … marrying the most amazing man you’ve ever met … the guy you’ve had your eye on ever since grade school but whom you thought would never ever even notice you. The perfect guy. The one everyone with half a brain wants. But he didn’t choose them, he has chosen you!

This is the picture (only infinitely more so) that Jesus is painting in His story. He has chosen you to be His! Don’t ever let the wonder of that truth fade!

But we have to be careful not to mix metaphors here. Although the people of God are indeed the bride of Christ in an absolute sense, for the purposes of this parable, Jesus intends his listeners to identify with the people the king is inviting to the wedding feast. As we work through the parable, you’ll see that the focus is not on the bride but on the king and the guests. So, for our purposes today, when I refer to Israel or the Church, I’m talking about the wedding guests, not the bride. Deal?

Okay, moving on…

  • The servants – Typically, when we encounter “servant” language in Scripture, it is a reference to the angels of God, who serve Him day and night around His throne (Rev 7:15). But in this case, the servants are the prophets and apostles, whom God sent into this world – largely to Israel – throughout history to speak for Him and proclaim His Kingdom.
  • The invitees – The story gets a little complicated at this point. Allegorically, the identity of those invited to the wedding feast changes as the story unfolds. We’ll track that progression as we work through the parable, but for now, suffice it to say that these are human beings who must choose how they will respond to God’s invitation to dwell in His Kingdom.

Observation and Interpretation

Now that we have a sense of who the characters are in this story, let’s walk through the parable. We’ll take it a verse at a time, and see if we can get at what Jesus is teaching us. I want to warn you ahead of time: there’s a ton in this parable that I’d love to talk about, but which we just don’t have time to cover. So, please forgive me if I mention some things only in passing and totally bypass others. If this parable raises questions for you that aren’t adequately addressed today, write them down. I would encourage you to bring those questions up for discussion in your community group or life group. You can also feel free to find me (or one of the elders); I’d absolutely love to discuss these things further offline.

As we work through this parable, we’ll see the king take six specific actions in the story. I’d like to use these as a structure for our observations and interpretation, and then we close with two points of application.

1. The King plans a wedding feast

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast…” (Matthew 22:2-3a)

Wedding Feast Banquet HallThe king (allegorically, the God of all creation) has a son (Jesus), and that son is getting married. As we discussed when we went through the characters in the story, this represents Jesus’ being married to His people, the Church.

Side note: Hold it… Do you have butterflies? Okay, just checking.

To celebrate the wedding, his father, the king is hosting a wedding feast.

In 1st century Jewish culture, to talk about the wedding feast is to talk about the wedding itself. And this is a royal wedding. In Jesus’ day, even a poor peasant’s wedding celebration could last for days. The party the king is about to throw will be at the palace, and will probably go on for weeks. Guests will be lodged in the palace at the expense of the king. The purchases the king makes for this party in the local villages will materially impact their economies. This isn’t some back-yard BBQ or a dinner party at your church. Even the most elaborate wedding today would have been dwarfed by the scope of the event imagined by Jesus’ listeners. Essentially, Jesus is describing the most extravagant party they could possibly conceive.

Allegorically, this means worshipping God, walking with God, and working for God under the rule of King Jesus in His perfect Kingdom for all eternity. This is better by far than the most amazing thing you have ever imagined.

Let’s also talk about the guest list.

It is implied (see v3) that the king has invited a large group of people to the wedding feast. Allegorically, this refers to God’s covenant with the nation of Israel. Almost 2,000 years before Jesus stood telling this story, God made a covenant with Abraham, that his descendants would be God’s very own people – a people for his possession (c.f. Deut 7:6; Isa 43:21). In Jesus’ story, this agreement is represented by the king’s wedding invitation. God selected Abraham’s descendants to live in close proximity to Him, with the goal that they would come to know Him by faith and thereby participate in His eternal Kingdom. They were to obey His laws and represent Him to the nations around them. In time, the whole world would be blessed through them.

In Jesus’ parable, the king has formalized an arrangement with a subset of his citizens that they are officially invited to the wedding feast. “Someday soon,” He said, “when everything is ready, I’ll send for you, for we have agreed that you will be there to witness my son’s marriage and celebrate with us.” So, there is a sense of obligation, but primarily this is a great privilege. In theory, those the king invites would be tingling with anticipation, excited for the king and his son, waiting for his announcement, and eager to celebrate with the royal family.

2. The King proclaims that the time is at hand

King's Royal ProclamationAnd now, at last, the day has come. The time of the long-awaited wedding feast has finally arrived. Allegorically, the Kingdom of Heaven is being inaugurated. Jesus, Himself, is bringing about the dawning of the kingdom. Look at v4…

He sent His servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’” (Matthew 22:4)

We aren’t looking for significance in the details of this statement. Slaughtering oxen and fattened calves (etc) is just what people did when they threw a feast in those days. The point is that everything is now in readiness, and the king is going to activate the standing agreement he has in place with his citizens, summoning them to the palace to celebrate with his son.

The words of Jesus in Mark 1, or for that matter the words of John the Baptist (who is chief among the King’s servants) in Matthew 3, should be ringing in your ears…

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15)

So, the Kingdom of God has arrived in this world in the person of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God. And He calls all whom God has invited – at that time, the nation of Israel – to fulfill their covenant commitment and respond to His invitation.

Note that there is nothing automatic about this. Being invited to a wedding feast isn’t the same as attending it. Similarly, the Bible makes it very clear throughout – from the very first day that God made His covenant with Israel to the last pages of the book of Revelation – that God’s gift of salvation and life in His Kingdom must be accepted. We must appropriate these things for ourselves. The Kingdom of God isn’t about something Jesus did “out there,” it’s about something He does “in here”.  {point to chest}

Nobody is saved from sin and death and born again into new life by osmosis or because they grow up in a Christian household or because they sit next to a godly people on Sunday mornings. God’s kingdom invitation demands a response.

But that’s not what happens in the story…

3. The King sees His invitation rejected

But [those he had invited] paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. (Matthew 22:5-6)

In Jesus’ day, to refuse a wedding invitation was a tremendous insult. It was considered a very personal rejection. And again, this is a royal wedding. So, bottom line, to reject this wedding invitation is to reject the king himself.

Jesus is using this story to indict the nation of Israel, particularly its leaders. For many hundreds of years, they had rejected God and maligned His prophets. In fact, some of the people Jesus is speaking to at this very moment are in the process of plotting His death. And these are supposed to be Israel’s leaders and teachers! They should have been leading the people in procession to the wedding feast, not rejecting the bridegroom and killing his servants.

But notice that not everyone violently mistreats the king’s servants. Some just ignore his invitation. They are too busy, too self-important, or have too many other things to do to worry about a wedding. They can’t be bothered to come to the feast, even though they had committed to do so. They probably had thoughts like, “I need to make a little more money, and then I’ll have enough to go” or “I just need to finish this one task first” or “It’s just not a good season right now for me to make this trip.” Surely, they thought their excuses were justifiable. But in the end, no matter how legitimate they may have seemed at the time, they all amount to the same thing: rejection of and great insult to the king. And we’ll see that he does not stand for that.

I think Israel thought they were secure because they were descended from Abraham and were biologically a part of his family. Well, and they had kept the rules they found easy to keep. They were circumcised, so they though they were automatically in the Kingdom. But their circumcision was a circumcision of the body, not of the heart.

The Bible makes it clear over and over again that we are not included in the family of God because of outward works or club memberships. God includes in His family those whose hearts are surrendered to Him, who have exchanged their old lives for Christ’s new life. God’s kingdom isn’t a club membership among many other club memberships. It’s not something you can layer onto the rest of a life lived your own way. It demands that you surrender one life to receive another. The leaders of Israel got this totally wrong, and ultimately paid a terrible price for their sinfulness and error.

4. The King destroys those who reject him

“The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” (Matthew 22:7)

Angel ArmiesAt this point, the story turns ugly. We have a tendency in our culture to consider any kind of negativity or judgment to be harsh and unwarranted, but God doesn’t see the world that way. Modern American culture also tend to imagine Jesus as meek and mild and uncritical, and we picture God the Father as a wizened, kindly old grandfather who overlooks our faults, always lets us eat candy and stay up late. And when He grades, He grades on a curve. Even in Christian circles, we have a way of explaining away the terrifying holiness of God and His legitimate wrathful judgment of sin. But this is an extremely distorted and unhelpful view of reality.

Yahweh is the sovereign, all-powerful God who created all things by speaking them into existence (Ps 33:9). He holds the whole universe in the palm of His hand (Isa 40:12), and every second of every day He holds the very atoms in your body together by His will (Col 1:17). He is the God of angel armies (Ps 84:8-9), who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16). Moses couldn’t even look directly at Him, lest He be immediately struck dead (Ex 33:18-20). When God described Himself to Moses, he said this…

The Lord, the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in covenantal love and faithfulness, maintaining that love to a thousand generations, and forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I will not leave the guilty unpunished…” (Exodus 34:6-7)

God’s patience with us has limits. There is judgment for sin and consequences for rejecting God’s covenant invitation. There is no indication anywhere but in our secular culture that God is soft on sin and inclined to overlook rebellion in His people. In this story, those who agreed (established a covenant) with the King to attend the wedding are now disregarding it. This depicts Israel’s disobedience in general and specifically their rejection of God’s Messiah. And God is not going to let that pass.

In the story, God punishes the would-be wedding guests with an avenging army. He utterly destroys them and burns their city. This is foreshadowing.

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (AD 70)Not even 50 years later, in AD 70, God will send Roman armies to raze Jerusalem to the ground (including the temple), killing many of its inhabitants, and scattering others. The Jewish people – particularly the leadership – refused to recognize the promised Messiah and the inauguration of His Kingdom, bringing God’s wrath upon them in consequence.

5. The King broadens His invitation to include everyone

Then [the king] said to his servants, “The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.” And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So, the wedding hall was filled with guests. (Matthew 22:8-10)

Wedding InvitationNot only is God judging Israel because they have rejected His invitation, but Jesus now pronounces an end to Israel’s exclusivity as God’s people. They have demonstrated that they are unworthy of their invitation to be ruled by King Jesus, so God will now extend that opportunity to the Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

One obvious question this raises… What makes someone worthy (or unworthy) of God’s invitation to His Kingdom? Simply put, worthiness is determined by one’s response to the king’s invitation. Those who fail to respond are not worthy of the invitation. It doesn’t matter if they’re morally good or bad, rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised. The king has one criterion and one criterion only: Do you accept my invitation to the wedding?

Allegorically, God wants to know, “Do you accept my Son?”

If you do, then you are worthy of God’s Kingdom.
If you do not, then nothing else in this world can secure you access to the banquet.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This is what He meant!

Back in the story…

The servants of the king are literally combing the main highways (where the most people possible can be found) inviting every person they can find to the wedding feast. Every homeless person, every prostitute, every unclean Gentile … people who have never before had much regard for the king … They are all now invited to the palace for the son’s wedding banquet. What an honor! Not one of these people could have earned this or deserved it. They’ve never even dreamed about something like this, but now they have it! And all they have to do to be “worthy” of it is to accept the king’s crazy generosity and head to the palace. Well, it’s almost the only thing, but we’ll get to that in a second.

Interpretively, this is the great turning point in redemption history. What the Jews thought was exclusively theirs because they are genetically descended from Abraham, we now learn is available to everyone. Anyone who accepts God’s invitation can now be a child of Abraham and a citizen in God’s Kingdom.

So, when the people in Jesus’ story hear this, they respond to the king’s invitation in droves, and they flock to the palace. This is clearly the opportunity of a lifetime, and nobody wants to miss out.

6. The King evaluates the guests and separates the prepared from the unprepared

But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” But [the guest] was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 22:11-13)

Appropriate Wedding AttireThis parable has been full of surprises, and the end is no different. Many have now responded to the king’s expanded invitation, and it might be tempting to think that these people will live happily ever after. But Jesus throws us a curve ball at the end of the story. Not all of the guests are permitted to stay at the party. We have been working on the assumption that responding to the king’s invitation by showing up at the wedding feast is all that the king requires. But clearly, something more is necessary. Specifically, the king expects us to be appropriately dressed for the occasion. Those who aren’t – even though they have responded to the king’s invitation – are separated from the other guests and thrown out of the feast.

This reminds me of the parable of the four soils (Matthew 13:1-24) we studied back in the beginning of the series. The seed, which is the word of God, takes root in 3 of the 4 soils and looks good for a time, but in the end, only plants growing in the 4th soil ultimately bear fruit. Allegorically, only those who bear fruit are the children of God.

Similarly, in the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13:25-43), which we studied two weeks ago, the wheat and the weeds grow up together and look the same for a long time, but in the end, only the wheat is kept in the harvest. The weeds are thrown out and burned. Allegorically, in the end, God Himself will separate those who are truly His from those who, despite their appearance, are “guilty of lawlessness.” Only the former will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is a common theme in Jesus’ parables. Over and over again, Jesus teaches that He knows His own (e.g. John 10:27). And on the last day, when the King returns in His glory to rule over the earth, He will gather His people together into eternal life, but everyone who does not belong to Him will be turned away … because they have excluded themselves from His Kingdom.

Bringing it back to this parable… Jesus indicates that those who belong to him are the ones dressed in wedding garments. But what exactly does that mean?

Well, I think this is a great application question. So, let’s switch gears and make two points of application, the second of which will answer this question. And after that, we’ll close.

Application

Studying this parable, I think there are two commands contained in it. I’m going to zero in on these two ideas as our means of applying what we’ve studied today to our lives.

Jesus’ first command is very explicit. In v4, the king’s servants relay his command to his people, “Come to the wedding feast.” For us, this means that we must accept God’s invitation.

Accept God’s Invitation

RSVPEach of us must decide how we will respond to God’s invitation to participate in His Kingdom. In the parable, those who had a prior agreement with the king to attend the wedding feast didn’t respond well when the call finally came. This was Israel’s sin… Despite their incredible blessings and close proximity to God, they rejected God’s Messiah. The Jews should have been shoe-ins for life in the Kingdom, but they became complacent and distracted. They thought that they would enter life because they descended from Abraham and had circumcised bodies. Essentially, they thought they were in God’s club, so they were good to go. And that blinded them to their need for circumcised hearts – hearts that were wholly devoted to the King.

Here’s the application…  God forbid that it would ever be this way with us!

Accepting God’s invitation isn’t a matter of words or about ritualistic religious activity. It’s not about attending church or living a moral life or knowing the Scriptures well. All those things are important, but the Jewish leaders Jesus was rebuking in this parable did all these things really well. The problem was that their hearts had grown cold and their eyes had grown blind, and they no longer recognized God (Jesus!) even though He was standing right in front of them.

What God means when He bids us to accept His invitation is to respond to Him with our whole lives. He is not only our Savior, but our Lord and King. Don’t let the anything distract you from loving and pursuing Jesus this way. When we go off to work at our farms or our businesses, we must ask ourselves, are we considering the King? Work is good (and so are school and hobbies and sports and all manner of other activities), but only in their place. The question is: What would bring Him honor? Conversely, what would reject the King and bring Him insult? Do we think about these things when we make plans for our careers or our weekends? Do we consider these things when we decide where to live or what job to take or how to interact with the neighbors on our street? The Jews were God’s chosen people, and they blew right by the King’s invitation oblivious to their sin until the avenging armies showed up to burn down their city. This should be to us a cautionary tale.

Don’t let competing interests tempt you to wonder off and end up paying no attention to the King’s invitation. Don’t get taken in by the philosophies of this world, such that when God’s prophets come calling, you end up killing the messenger. That’s what happened to the king’s guests in this parable and it’s what happened to so many in Israel. And we would be foolish to think that it can’t happen to us. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We must keep our eyes fixed on the King, and keep preaching the gospel to one another. And we must open our lives to godly men and women around us, and let them speak into us, because they will be able to spot idols encroaching on our souls long before we will be able to see them in ourselves.

In short, may there be no other kingdoms in our lives which threaten to compete with the Kingdom of the Living God!

Arrive properly dressed

Proper Wedding AttireSecondly, we must arrive at the wedding feast properly dressed. We saw in the story that only those who have not put on wedding garments are judged by the king to be unprepared for the wedding feast and are not permitted to stay. But what does this mean? How do we interpret this idea of a proper wedding garment?

Simply put, the only appropriate garment in which one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus Himself.

This is another way of saying what we’ve already talked about: It’s meaningless to talk about coming to Jesus halfheartedly or alongside a bunch of other things. Coming to Jesus means exchanging our lives for His. We surrender to Him everything we are and all our plans to build our own kingdoms, and in exchange, He gives us Himself and His Kingdom. We put off ourselves, and we put on Christ.

Listen to how the Apostle Paul puts it in Romans…

The night is nearly over, and the day is near. So let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and make no plans to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:12-14)

Putting on Jesus means we obey Jesus’ command to repent and believe. It means to turn away from sin. To forsake it. To treat your old life as if it were dead to you. And if I can use a gambling analogy in church … we put all your chips on Jesus. Trust Him with your whole life, everything that you are. If we die with Him, and He will give you a new life in Him, united to Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In a spiritual but very real sense that we can’t fully understand, the Christian life is a life of being joined together with Christ. We literally clothe ourselves in Jesus. And unless we are remade in this way – what Jesus called “being born again” (John 3:3) –, then we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

No gospel that effectively equates to fire insurance results in being clothed in Christ.

No attempt to paint a thin veneer of Jesus over a life that’s essentially all about me will be acceptable to God.

The Kingdom of Heaven costs us everything. God will not be satisfied dwelling in the house of your heart if several of its rooms are off limits to Him.

We can’t come to the wedding feast on our own terms dressed in a comfy old T-shirt and Bermuda shorts, and expect God to let us into the party. Don’t forget, we don’t deserve to be invited to this wedding feast. The king has exhibited incredible grace by inviting us. Let us be careful in how we respond, showing Him the honor of coming on His terms, not ours.

Conclusion

And with that, we’ll close. Just like the last parable, in the last line of our passage Jesus offers a single line of commentary to summarize the whole parable. He explains,

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

You and every person you know has been invited to spend eternity living in the presence and under the magnificent rule of King Jesus. That is the greatest reward, the greatest reality you could possibly imagine. But sadly, only a few will come to Him to receive it.

Make sure you’re taking God’s invitation seriously. Even if you’ve been a Christian for many years, ask yourself, “Do I have any competing kingdoms in my life?” And if you’re new to all this… If you have never turned from your sin and trusted Christ by faith to give you an entirely new life, then you can do that right now. He knows your heart! Find me after the service, and we’ll talk.

But remember, you can’t come to God on your own terms. Clothe yourself in the Lord Jesus Christ. Surrender your old life and give yourself entirely to Him. I guarantee that you can trust Him with every single part of your world.

Here’s the deal… You have been chosen. You have a destiny that is more glorious than you can possibly imagine. So, get dressed and head for the palace. The time has come. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. And we are all invited to dine with the King.

Let’s pray.

Father, I get goosebumps talking about this stuff. It can be a hard message to talk about surrendering everything to you, but that’s only because we are so proud and so foolish and so enamored with tiny little things. The truth is that to trade everything we are for everything you desire to give us is an unimaginable bargain. Father, I ask that in the coming week, you would give each person in this room a vision of you that would take our breath away. Captivate us, Lord, with your goodness and your grace.

Thank you for your invitation to life in all its fullness.

Thank you for making it possible for us to come to you. For, as imperfect as we are, we do come.

And thank you for clothing us in the very person of your Son, who is our eternal King. It’s in your name, Jesus, that we pray.

Amen.


Image credit:
1) Kingdom Parables – Dan Pongetti, 300DPI
2) Parables summary / O&I slides – mine
3) Wedding reception – The Spruce
4) Wedding banquet hall – Isobel Sippel Studios
5) Royal Proclamation – Armorial Register
6) Angel Armies – Chip Borgden
7) Destruction of Jerusalem – Wikipedia
8) Wedding invitation – elegantweddinginvites.com
9) Inappropriate wedding attire – the Gentlemanual
10) RSVP – Every Event Gives
11) Proper wedding attire – theknot.com
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About Jeff Block

Lover and follower of Jesus, the long awaited King. Husband and father. Writer and seminary student. On a long, difficult, joyful adventure, learning to swim with the current of God's sovereign love and walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
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