Matthew 22:1
The opening of this parable reminds us of the feast of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 9:1-5). But there is an advance beyond the Old Testament ideas. Now the interest is no longer centred in the abstraction "wisdom," but the king and his son, representing God and Jesus Christ, make the feast one of supreme importance. So much the greater, then, must be the folly of those who decline to attend.

I. THE ROYAL PREPARATIONS. Much must be done to provide so great and sumptuous a feast as shall be fit for the wedding of a king's son. But all these elaborate preparations have been completed. Much was needed to make ready the gospel and its privileges, the new Christian blessings, the festival of the marriage of the Lamb with his bride the Church. But God has made all ready; he has provided the Bread of life and all the bounties of the gospel. They have been produced at the greatest possible cost, and now they are spread out in readiness for the guests. We have not to manufacture our own highest blessings; God offers them freely to us. We have not to wait for them; they are all ready in this happy Christian era.

II. THE SHAMEFUL REFUSALS. Those first invited refuse to come. Their conduct, is scandalous, and that for several reasons.

1. The feast was important. It was for the wedding of a king's son. The king was the host, and a king's invitation is a command. Yet the guests made light of it. They who reject the gospel reject the gift of God, and insult him.

2. The guests had previously consented to come. This is plainly implied, because the message sent to them is merely a reminder that all is now ready. So was it with the Jews. So is it with those who once showed interest in Christ and have since grown cold.

3. There was no valid excuse for refusal. The men went their ways, one to his farm and another to his merchandise. There is no good excuse for the rejection of the gospel of Christ. Too often the most commonplace worldly interests are preferred to it.

4. The messengers were cruelly maltreated. A certain irritation arising from a consciousness of being in the wrong makes people angry with those who would lead them into the right way.

III. THE GUESTS FROM THE HIGHWAYS. The king must have his feast stocked with guests, if only with tramps and beggars. This suggests to us a desire on the part of God to find those on whom he can bestow his kindness. It is as though he were possessed with social sympathies and could not endure to be alone in his joy. Thus we see the best of all reasons for accepting his grace. There can be no doubt that he will welcome all who come, because he hungers for souls. Observe further:

1. The rejection of Christ by the Jews led to the opening of the kingdom to the Gentiles. This would have happened in any case, but the conduct of the Jews expedited and facilitated the process (e.g. see Acts 13:46).

2. It is not man's desert, but God's loving kindness, that invites to the gospel feast.

IV. THE WEDDING, GARMENT. The dramatic incident with which the parable closes gives us a shock of surprise. Here is an additional, most important lesson. All kinds of people are invited, and some are in a very unfit state to appear at the wedding feast. But the king provides a seemly garment, that the dingy dress of everyday life may not mar the beauty of the festival. God invites all sorts and conditions of men to the feast of the gospel, and even the very lowest may come at once. But God provides them a new character. If a man will not take this, if he seeks the privileges of the gospel, but will not submit to its changing influence on his character, he must be cast forth. He can come just as he is; but he must not remain just as he is, especially as God provides for him a better way of life. - W.F.A.







The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king which made a marriage for his son.
I. WHEN OR HOW MEN SLIGHT THE INVITATIONS OF THE GOSPEL.

1. When they neglect the Word of God, which is full of them, and which authoritatively announces them to the world.

2. When they absent themselves from the sanctuary, when they are proclaimed by God's own ambassadors.

3. When they fail to give heed to the Divine message, when it is personally and solemnly addressed to them.

4. When Sabbath after Sabbath they refuse to accept the invitation to come to the feast of love spread for them. No greater slight can be conceived when we consider —

(1)who gives the invitation;

(2)the character and condition of those to whom it is made;

(3)the honour and infinite good involved in the invitation.

II. THE DANGER OF SLIGHTING THESE INVITATIONS.

1. It cannot fail to provoke the anger of God. "The king was wrath."

2. It inevitably forfeits all the blessings of Christ's meditation and sacrifice.

3. It shuts the door of mercy against the sinner.

(J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)

Expository Outlines.
I. A MONARCH'S CELEBRATION OF AN INTERESTING EVENT.

1. The king here referred to is evidently the Most High. The human kingship is really but a lower form of the heavenly.

2. The king had a son who had taken to himself a bride.

3. On the occasion of his marriage a splendid banquet was provided. Royal feasts are sumptuous and abundant.

II. THE MUNIFICENCE DESPISED BY HIS UNGRATEFUL SUBJECTS.

1. The invitation he sent, and the way in which it was responded to.

2. The causes of their rejecting so kind an offer.

(1)Indisposition. "They would not come."

(2)Love of the world. "One to his farm," etc.

(3)Open malignity.

3. The consequences that ensued.

III. THE ROYAL BOUNTY AT LENGTH APPRECIATED.

1. The messengers were entrusted with a fresh commission to a totally different class.

2. The response which their message received.

IV. THE ASSEMBLED COMPANY INSPECTED, AND THE CONSEQUENCES THAT ENSUED.

1. The spectacle which was beheld: "He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment."

2. The question proposed.

3. The doom pronounced.

(Expository Outlines.)

Four different ways of treating God's invitations in the gospel are here set before us.

1. We have it complacently ignored by those who went their ways to their farms and to their merchandise.

2. We have the gospel offer violently rejected. There is still a violent rejection of the gospel by open infidels.

3. The inconsistency and insolence of the man who professed to accept the invitation, and yet failed to comply with the conditions on which alone true acceptance of it was possible. He pushed into the festive hall without having on a wedding garment.

4. We have the gospel invitation sincerely and heartily accepted.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. A magnificent banquet with A GRAND OBJECT IN VIEW. The person is Divine. The occasion a subject of delight to us personally; it is a marriage with our nature; not with angels. The royal descent of the Bridegroom. His character; His achievements.

II. Here is a GRACIOUS METHOD of accomplishing the design.

1. A feast for joy;

2. A feast for fulness.

3. A feast for fellowship.

4. All the expense lies with Him.

5. How honourable is the gospel to those who receive it. A monarch's entertainment.

III. THE SERIOUS HINDRANCE.

1. They were disloyal.

2. They slighted the king.

IV. THE GRACIOUS REJOINDER,

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If I were in a boat on the river in the rapids, it would not be necessary, to insure my destruction, that I should enter into violent controversy with those who would urge me from the shore, to take heed and come to land: all I should have to do would be to shut my ears to their entreaty, and leave myself alone; the current would do the rest. Neglect of the gospel is thus just as perilous as the open rejection of it. Indeed, half the evils of our daily life in temporal things are caused by neglect; and countless are the souls who are lost for this same cause. Leave your farm for a little, then; let your merchandise alone for a season; settle first, and before all things else, what you will do with this invitation which God has given you to the gospel banquet: then, that accepted, your farm will become to you a section of God's vineyard, and your business will be a means of glorifying Him.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. THE FALSE HOPE INDULGED. The man without the wedding garment represents the person who believes that he is reconciled to God, who has not God's righteousness. This hope may be designated

1. A self-righteous hope.

2. An impenitent hope.

II. THE SOUL STRIPPED OF ITS HOPE AND ITS PRETENSIONS.

1. Here is the dumbness of true conviction. No excuse.

2. The speechlessness of amazement. Amazed that all his efforts are of no avail.

3. The dumbness of awe and terror. He has met his Maker.

4. The speechlessness expresses despair.Learn:

1. The first duty of every one is to determine what is a suitable preparation for heaven.

2. Sincere ignorance will save no man.

3. Now is the time for self-scrutiny.

(E. N. Kirk, D. D.)

1. From the whole of our Saviour's parables and predictions relative to the Jews, we may infer both His prophetic wisdom and singular humanity.

2. That the Jews were under a peculiar economy of Divine providence, and were more directly, immediately, and judicially rewarded with national prosperity, or punished with national calamity and ruin, in proportion to their piety and virtue, or impiety and wickedness, than any other nation.

3. That the spirit of pride, malice, and revenge, with which the Jews were possessed and instigated to their own destruction, is the worst that can possess the human breast, most injurious to society and pernicious to them who are actuated by it.

4. That we ought to congratulate ourselves, and be thankful to the providence of God that we live in an age and nation wherein this malignant spirit, which has been seen to prevail so much, and produce such terrible effects, not only amongst Jews, but Christians also, is happily abated, though not entirely extinguished.

(S. Brown.)

Doctrine — the gospel is a large feast, stored with all kinds of spiritual provision in it. Consider —

1. Wherein the resemblance of the gospel to a feast appears.

2. In what respect it is a large feast.

3. What things we have need of against this feast.

4. What is the bill of fare?

5. What excellent properties there are in the provisions of the great supper.

6. What suitableness from God appears in them to the case of man.

7. Why it is a feast with all things in it.

8. What hindrances do make it to many ineffectual.

(Joseph Hussey.)

Doctrine — that God makes an invitation to sinners in the preaching of the gospel to come in to this feast.

(1)It was a gracious;

(2)a free;

(3)a sovereign;

(4)a clear;

(5)a commanding;

(6)an open;

(7)a large and comprehensive;

(8)a pressing and earnest;

(9)a seasonable;

(10)an effectual and saving invitation.

(Joseph Hussey.)

1. Worldly cares, incumbrances, secular business, or the concernments of this life, in providing earthly things.

2. The riches, or love of wealth, or earthly honour.

3. But it appears that sensual satisfaction, or the inordinate love of pleasures, is that which hath the greatest power over men, and which drowns and swallows up the spirit and soul of mortals: for this sort says, "they cannot come."

(Benjamin Keach.)

History tells of a banquet given by Henry VIII. to the French ambassadors. The best cooks in all the land were engaged. Privateers went through all the country to gather all the costliest viands, and when the day arrived the guests were kept hunting in the park so that their appetites might be keen, and then, at the right moment, to the sound of the trumpeters, they entered the hall, and sat down to the table, agleam with imperial plate and ablush with the costliest wines, with gold candles with a hundred tapers as large as torches. But I have to tell you to-day of a more wonderful entertainment. The Lord Jesus Christ is the banqueter; the angels of God are the cup-bearers; pardon, and peace, and life, and heaven are the viands; palaces hung with gardens of eternal beauty are the banqueting place; the chalices of God are the plates; and I am one of His servants, and I come out with the invitation to all the people — a written invitation to every man, woman, and child in all this audience.

(Dr. Talmage.)

A celebrated preacher of the seventeenth century in a sermon to a crowded audience, described the terrors of the Last Judgment with such eloquence, pathos, and force of action, that some of his audience not only burst into tears, but sent forth piercing cries, as if the Judge Himself had been present, and was about to pass upon them their final sentence. In the height of this commotion the preacher called upon them to dry their tears and cease their cries, as he was about to add something still more awful and astonishing than anything he had yet brought before them. Silence being obtained, he, with an agitated countenance and solemn voice, addressed them thus: "In one quarter of an hour from this time the emotions which you have just now exhibited wilt be stifled; the remembrance of the fearful truths which excited them will vanish; you will return to your carnal occupations, or sinful pleasures, with your usual avidity, and you will treat all you have heard 'as a tale that is told!'"

(Cheerer.)

n: — Another proof of the earnestness of God in His invitation is His wrath against the murderers who had refused it. You are not much offended at one who refuses an invitation you have given in jest, or, for form's sake, half hoping it would not be accepted. God is angry because you have treated in jest and made light of what has been most earnest to Him; because you have crossed Him in the sincerest purpose to bless you; because after He has at the greatest expense, not only of wealth and exertion, but of life, provided what He knows you need, you act towards Him as if He had done nothing that deserves the least consideration. This acceptance or rejection of God's offers that we come and talk over, often as if the whole matter were in our hands, and we might deal with it as we arrange for a journey or an evening's amusement, is to God the most earnest matter. If God is in earnest about anything, it is about this; if the whole -force of His nature concentrates on any one matter it is on this; if anywhere the amplitude and intensity of Divine earnestness, to which the most impassioned human earnestness is as the idle vacant sighing of the summer air, if these are anywhere in action, it is in the tenderness and sincerity with which He invites you to Himself .... To save sinners from destruction is His grand purpose, and success in other parts of His government does not repay Him for failure here. And to make light of such an earnestness as this, an earnestness so wise, so called for, so loving, pure, and long-suffering, so Divine, is terrible indeed. To have been the object of such earnest love, to have had all the Divine attributes and resources set in motion to secure my eternal bliss, and to know myself capable of making light of such earnestness as this, is surely to be in the most forlorn and abject condition that any creature can reach.

(Marcus Dods, D. D.)

I. THE NATURE OF GOSPEL BLESSINGS.

1. They are of God's own providing.

2. They are rich and valuable as Well as Divine.

3. These blessings are suitable.

4. They are abundant.

II. THE INVITATION GIVEN TO PARTAKE OF THESE BLESSINGS.

1. A feast so rich is designed for numerous guests.

2. The gospel is made known to mankind.

3. This invitation is free and gracious.

4. It is earnest and authoritative.

III. THE RECEPTION WHICH THE INVITATION MEETS WITH, AND THE FOLLY, GUILT, AND DANGER OF REJECTING IT.

1. The Jews to whom it was first sent refused to come.

2. Some make light of the gospel from the love of worldly pleasures.

3. That the generality of those who hear it make light of it is evident from their conduct.

4. The folly to prefer the world to God who is the Supreme Good.

5. The guilt of to-day is in proportion to the freeness and suitableness of the blessings offered.

6. The blessings of the gospel are as necessary to your present as to your future happiness.

(R. Fletcher.)

I. THE HISTORY OF THE MARRIAGE.

1. The marriage purposed.

2. The preliminary arrangements.

3. The servants sent out.

4. The message.

5. The advent of the king.

6. The inspection.

II. TURN TO Revelation 19. In ver. 7 it is no longer a purpose, but an accomplishment. The marriage of the Lamb is come. In the parable we saw "all things are ready," and the wedding garment was offered without money. Now in the Revelation we read, "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen," etc. In the parable the servants were told to go and invite men (ver. 9). Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. The King came to see the guests (ver. 11). "His eyes were as a flame of fire."

(Capel Molyneux, B. A.)

I. THE GLORIOUS BANQUET.

1. The giver of it. The great king. He had provided a banquet of beauty and wisdom in creation for the mind of man — of goodness in providence for the physical need of man. These did not supply the whole of man's need. Hence this feast of redeeming love. In giving it He was moved by love, wisdom, grace.

2. The occasion of it.

3. The chief parties in it. The Divine Father. The equally Divine Son, our Saviour. The Bride, the Church — all who, being penitent, truly believe.

4. The hallowed joy that marked it. The Church rejoicing in the love and grace of the heavenly Bridegroom.

5. The sanctified provisions of it — mercy, love, etc., etc.; abundant, suitable, seasonable, etc.

II. THE WIDE INVITATION.

1. Proclaimed by many tongues.

2. Urged on all people.

3. Enforced by many arguments.

4. Accompanied with gifts. A dress for each to wear offered. A new heart, etc.

III. THE PERSONAL INSPECTION.

1. A royal inspection.

2. A general inspection.

3. A discriminating inspection.

(J. C. Gray.)

I. How THIS UNION TAKES PLACE.

1. The first mover is Christ Himself; but by His sweet constraints we begin to love Him.

2. In the presence of witnesses the covenant of marriage must be ratified. Angels and the Church look on when Christ confesses you to be His.

II. THE CONSEQUENCE.

1. Into Christ you have merged your property, right, name, being, and all.

2. They do wrong who weaken the bonds, chill the feelings, or lower the rule of married life.

3. As Christ has done so much for you, you must be faithful to Him.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. INVITATIONS OF GOSPEL REPEATEDLY GIVEN. God calls

(1)in every stage of life;

(2)by many voices.

II. PROVISIONS OF GOSPEL FULLY COMPLETED.

(1)Various;

(2)abundant.

III. PROFFERS OF GOSPEL BASELY REJECTED BY —

(1)The proud;

(2)the worldly.

IV. MESSENGERS OF GOSPEL CRUELLY TREATED.

(1)Unlawful seizure;

(2)cruel treatment;

(3)unnatural murder.

V. REJECTORS OF GOSPEL JUSTLY PUNISHED. They —

(1)Excite God's anger;

(2)provoke His vengeance;

(3)incur His punishment.

VI. PROCLAMATION OF GOSPEL UNIVERSALLY COMMANDED. There are —

(1)No bounds fixed — highways;

(2)no conditions.

VII. SUCCESS OF GOSPEL ULTIMATELY CERTAIN.VIII. PROFESSORS OF GOSPEL WILL BE PERSONALLY EXAMINED.

(J. T. Woodhouse.)

Our Lord Jesus has espoused His Church, and there must be a feast at the wedding. A feast would be a failure if none came to it, and therefore the present need is that the wedding be "furnished with guests."

I. THE FIRST INVITATION WAS A FAILURE. This is seen in Jewish history. Among Gentiles, those to whom the gospel invitation specially comes are, as a rule, unwilling to accept it. Up to this hour, children of godly parents, and hearers of the word, many of them refuse the invitation for reasons of their own. The invitation was refused —(1) Not because it involved suffering, for it was a wedding-feast to which they were bidden;(2) nor because there were no adequate preparations — "The wedding is ready";(3) nor because the invitations were not delivered, or were misunderstood — they "were bidden";(4) but because they were not fit for the high joy;

(a)they were not loyal to their king;

(b)they were not attached to his royal son;

(c)they were not pleased with his noble marriage;

(d)they were wrapt up in self-interest;

(e)they were cruel to well-intentioned messengers;(5) therefore they were punished with fire and sword. But love must reign; mercy must be glorious; Christ must reveal His grace; otherwise He has no joy of His union with mankind. Therefore —

II. THE COMMISSION WAS ENLARGED.

1. Disappointment must arouse activity and enterprise "Go ye."

2. Disappointment suggests change of sphere — "Into the highways."

3. A keen invitation is to be tried -" As many as ye shall find, bid."

4. A keen outlook is to be kept — "As many as ye shall find."

5. Publicity is to be courted — "Went out into the highways."

6. Small numbers, ones and twos, are to be pressed in.

III. THE NEW MISSION WAS FULFILLED.

1. The former servants who had escaped death went out again.

2. Other servants, who had not gone at first, entered zealously into the joyful but needful service.

3. They went in many directions — "Into the highways."

4. They went out at once. Not an hour could be left unused.

5. They pointed all they met to one centre.

6. They welcomed all sorts of characters — "As many as they found."

7. They found them willing to come. He who sent the messengers inclined the guests; none seem to have refused.

IV. THE GREAT DESIGN WAS ACCOMPLISHED.

1. The king's bounty was displayed before the world.

2. His provision was used. Think of grace and pardon unused.

3. The happiness of men was promoted; they feasted to the full.

4. The grateful praise was evoked. All the guests were joyful in their king, as they feasted at his table.

5. The marriage was graced.

6. The slight put upon the king's son by the churls who refused to come was more than removed.

7. The quality of the guests most fully displayed the wisdom, grace, and condescension of the Host.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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