Sermon Manuscript: An Invitation to the Banquet
How sure are you that you will be in heaven? The story we come to today in Matthew’s gospel was told to people, some of whom were very sure. They had different ideas as to what constituted heaven or the kingdom of heaven. But they were very confident that they would be there. And yet, what if those ideas are wrong? Matthew 22:1-14, is a section of Scripture—if we want to be sure—we need to pay careful attention to.
It was a Wednesday, of what was no ordinary week. It was the Lord’s Passion Week, in which he was to be betrayed and crucified. Jesus had already made his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. The hostility towards him from the religious leaders was growing by the minute. And as he was teaching in the temple, the chief priests and the elders came to Jesus and said, “By what authority are you doing these things?” Well, what they meant by that was this: “We’re at the top of the religious pecking order. We’ve earned our place by strict observance of the law and religiosity. Who are you to come in and do all of this?
And Jesus looks at them and says, “This reminds me of a story.” Well, it reminded him of three stories. But three related stories that all have to do with the same theme—judgment. Perhaps you’ve noticed already in the parables, that Jesus has a way of turning things upside down. Because a person might think they know exactly what the kingdom of heaven is like, until Jesus tells a story that challenges the way we think. In fact, the story I want us to look at today begins with a wedding feast and ends with weeping and gnashing of teeth.