My wife is a fantastic cook. She makes some of the most creative and delicious meals I’ve ever had (which is no small task with a family riddled with food allergies and sensitivities). As appreciative as I am of the meals she prepares, our children are not always so excited about sitting down to eat. Whether it’s their picky palates or occasional stubbornness, they do not always come rushing to the table when the “It’s time to eat!” announcement goes through the house.
The parable in Matthew 22 opens with a similar “It’s time to eat!” announcement. The wedding feast guest list had been finalized and the invitations were sent out, but when it came time for invitation-only event, the guests would not come.
So the king sends out a follow up message: “The food’s ready!” And by all accounts, it was quite the spread. But his invitation is once again met with apathy and disinterest (much like my kids’ response to the similar message in our home each evening). The guests were too busy and distracted with other things—they couldn’t be bothered to enjoy a meal with the king. In fact, some of the guests’ disinterest elevated to anger, rebellion, and murder (that escalated quickly). Eventually, the king extends an invitation to whomever would be willing to attend the feast.
Chances are you wouldn’t be so quick to turn down a free world-class meal. But remember, the story at hand is a parable or fictional story used to teach a deeper truth. In the parable at hand, Jesus is teaching about God’s desire for his people to be with him and to enjoy his presence and provision. That was God’s desire then, and that remains his desire today—fellowship and communion with his people.
But oh, how often his invitation is rejected! Sometimes by outright rebellion, sometimes by apathy and distracted disinterest—nevertheless, both responses miss out on the feast God has prepared. Let us not treat God’s invitation to us like the wedding invitation we stick on the refrigerator but never actually get around to responding to. Let us respond with urgency and great anticipation—the God of the universe has invited us in.