You are cordially invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb…
In the ancient Hebrew culture, two invitations were expected when banquets were given.
The first asked the guests to attend; the second announced that all was ready.
In this story the king invited his guests three times, and each time they rejected his invitation.
God wants us to join him at his banquet, which will last for eternity.
That’s why he sends us invitations again and again. Have you accepted his invitation?
22 Jesus went on speaking in parables.
Jesus: 2 The kingdom of heaven is like a king whose son was getting married. The king organized a great feast, a huge wedding banquet.
3 He invited everyone he knew. The day of the wedding arrived, and the king sent his servants into town to track down his guests—but when the servants approached them with the king’s message, they refused to come.
4 So the king sent out another batch of servants.
King: Tell those people I’ve invited to come to the wedding banquet! Tell them I have prepared a great feast! Everything is ready! The oxen and fattened cattle have all been butchered, the wine is decanted, and the table is laid out just so.
5 And off the servants went, and they carried the king’s message to the errant guests—who still paid not a whit of attention.
One guest headed into his field to work; another sat at his desk to attend to his accounts.
6 The rest of the guests actually turned on the servants, brutalizing them and killing them.
7 When he learned of this, the king was furious. He sent his army to kill the murderers and burn their towns.
8 But there was, of course, still a wedding to celebrate.
King (to his remaining servants): The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited didn’t rise to the occasion.
9 So go into the streets and invite anyone you see; invite everyone you meet.
10 And the servants did just that—they went into the streets and invited everyone they met, rich and poor, good and bad, high and low, sick and well. Everyone who was invited came, and the wedding hall practically burst with guests.
11 The king looked around the wedding party with glee, but he spotted one man who was not dressed appropriately. In fact, he was dressed rather plainly, in clothes not at all fitting for a fine nuptial feast.
King: 12 Kind sir, how did you get in here without a proper suit of wedding clothes?
The man was speechless. He had been invited in off the street, after all! 13 Getting no response, the king told his servants,
King: Tie him up, and throw him out into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and grinding of teeth.
14 For many are invited, but few are chosen.
22:2 THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE
Many Jewish parables depict God as a king; sometimes His son represented Israel marrying the law.
Here the son is presumably Jesus.
Because the size of wedding banquets displayed honor, hosts usually invited as many people as possible.
22:3 THOSE WHO WERE INVITED… NOT WILLING TO COME
Jesus will reject those who refuse his invitation into honor and privilege, replacing them with true worshipers—those restored from sin by his grace.
Refusal to accept a banquet invitation insulted the inviter; insulting a king was treason.
But such invitations were normally RSVP, followed up by a second notice once the food was ready.
Thus the people now refusing to come, at the second notice, had already agreed to come at the first invitation (“those who had been invited”).
Their refusal now was therefore a conspicuously deliberate and provocative insult.
22:4 OXEN AND FATTENED CATTLE
A fattened calf alone could feed a village (cf. Luke 15:23); the king has made massive preparations, and the meat will spoil unless the guests come quickly.
22:6 KILLED THEM
All ancient readers would have agreed that slaughtering messengers was an offense worthy of death.
By universal ancient law, heralds, or messengers, were to be exempt from any harm, even during times of war.
22:7 BURNED UP THEIR CITY
Conquerors burned resistant cities; a generation after Jesus’ ministry, Rome’s army burned Jerusalem.
22:9 AS MANY AS YOU FIND, INVITE
The first invited guests had dishonored the king; the only way to recoup some honor is to find other guests before the food can spoil.
22:11 NOT HAVE ON A WEDDING GARMENT
In another Jewish parable possibly (but not certainly) as early as the first century, wise servants waited at a king’s gate, awaiting the promised banquet; foolish servants kept laboring with soiled garments and were unprepared when his banquet was ready.
Regarding the parable here in ch. 22, some scholars suggest that the host would have provided special garments; others simply note that coming to a wedding banquet in soiled clothing would insult the host.
In v. 12, the king asks how the intruder made it past the servants guarding the doors; the intruder’s refusal to answer may suggest that his insulting act was deliberate.
If the first invited guests represent Jerusalem’s leaders at Jesus’ first coming, the rudely dressed man perhaps represents professed followers of Jesus unprepared for His second.
YOU ARE INCLUDED IN THIS INVITATION
You are cordially invited to your wedding party.
Welcome to the great “Marriage Supper of the Lamb,” where you, one of Jesus’ brides and part of His Church, the elect, the ekklesia, the called-out ones, finally get to celebrate your marriage with Jesus.
You became part of His Bride the minute you accepted Him into your heart, and now you finally get to have the wedding supper, and it is going to be the party to end all parties—well, at least up until this point.
John described it like this:
Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”
From that point on, the Bible is silent as to what the celebrations consist of, but we can rest assured that if Jesus is planning the party, it is going to be totally out of this world.
There is another event that will apparently take place at this time, referred to in Scripture as the Judgment Seat of Christ.
This is when the saved will come individually before Jesus Christ to receive their rewards.
Paul writes: “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10,12).
Also, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).
And, “The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27).
And also, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
The apostle Paul, at the end of his ministry, shortly before his death, said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7–8).
This crown is your reward.
A lot of Christians get confused by the Bible verses on rewards and crowns, and apply them to salvation as something that must be earned.
Salvation cannot be worked for and thus earned; it is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5).
But you can work for rewards and you can earn praise and commendation from the Lord!
A special, “Well done, good and faithful servant. … Enter into the joy of your Lord!” (Matthew 25:21).
Although the good that you do in this life isn’t going to help to get you into Heaven, it will have a great deal to do with your reward and your position once you’re there.
When a heavenly messenger was speaking to Daniel, he said:
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2–3).
Those who have been wise by living a life dedicated to being what God wants them to be, and to turning others to righteousness, will shine as the stars; but those who haven’t done much for the Lord will be pretty dull and some held in shame and even contempt.
So those who have done more will receive more rewards. But it also has to be understood that “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
He knows what you are capable of and what you desire to do, and if for some reason your circumstances hold you back from being as much of a force for good on Earth as you would like to be, then those circumstances will be taken into consideration.
Jesus is called the Righteous Judge, and your reward will be a righteous one.
Nevertheless, it is important that we do our best to be and do all that God expects of us.
Paul wrote, “Now if anyone builds on this foundation [salvation] with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:12–14).
Having received Jesus, as both Lord and Savior, if you are living for Him and are doing your best to be a living sample of His love for others, when you stand before Him at this great Judgment Seat, these works will endure the test, even as gold and silver endure and come through the fire.
They will endure and you will receive a glorious reward. “That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ!” (1 Peter 1:7).
But, the Scripture passage in Corinthians continues,
“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).
Those who have received Jesus, but yet did nothing for Jesus in thanksgiving, who lived their lives selfishly and did not live by the golden rule of “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12), will find their works burned as wood, hay, and straw, and will not receive much of a reward, if any.
They’ll still be saved, but they’ll suffer such a sad loss!
So if nothing else, this should be strong motivation to do our best to live the way God wants us to live and do the things He wants us to do on Earth, so that we can receive His reward and commendation in Heaven!
Meanwhile, as we are rejoicing at the Marriage Supper and receiving our rewards, the angels of the Lord are taking care of unfinished business on the earth.
So the invitations have gone out and you are one of the recipients.
We are told that many are called, but few are chosen; and so obviously the ones that are chosen are the ones who answered the call, who have committed their life to Jesus and to His service.
Our decision for Christ and our willingness to serve him with all of our heart, mind and strength is the most important decision we will ever make in our life.
New Living Translation
23 Then he (Jesus) said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
So as we can gather from all the above versus Christianity is definitely not a spectator sport, it requires our total and absolute dedication, in order that we may fulfill the destiny that God has planned for each one of our lives (see Ps 139:16, Rom 8:29-30, Eph 1:4-6).
Come join the Adventure!