daily biblical sermons

The kingdom of God is taken from the Jews for rejecting it and is given to the Gentiles who accept it with faith
Fr. Steven Scherrer
Homily of Sunday, the 28th Sunday of the Year, October 15, 2023
Isaiah 25:6-10, Psalm 22 (23), Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20, Matthew 22:1-14


Biblical citations are from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted




“And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a King who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.” But they made light of it 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 is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.” And those servants went out into the streets 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; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen’” (Matthew 22:1-14).



Today’s parable, like the previous one about the wicked tenants who did not give their master his fruit, speaks about how the Jews lost the kingdom of God, which was then transferred to another people, namely Jews and Gentiles who believed in Christ.



According to today’s parable a king has a marriage feast for his son and sends out his servants to “call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come” (Matthew 22:3). Again he sends other servants to call them, but some simply went off to their daily work, ignoring the invitation, while the others killed the king’s servants who invited them.



This, it seems, represents Israel as a nation with its leaders who did not for the most part accept the preaching of the apostles; that is, they rejected the invitation to the wedding feast for the king’s son. The wedding feast simply represents the blessings of the messianic age that the Messiah brings us, namely salvation.



The killing of the king’s servants represents the killing of the apostles and other disciples who tried to evangelize the Jews, starting with John the Baptist, Jesus, and his disciples. This was the early persecution of the Church in Israel.



Then we are told that the king was angry and had these murderers killed and their town burnt. This represents the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman General Titus in 70 A.D. at which the Jews were defeated, Jerusalem was burnt, the temple destroyed, the wall torn down, and the Jews dispersed throughout the nations.



Then the king sends his servants to the highways and byways to invite anyone they could find, and so they gathered everybody they could, both bad and good, and “the wedding hall was filled with guests” (Matthew 22:10). This represents the Gentile Church, for Christianity soon became a Gentile religion, since the Jews, who had been prepared for centuries for this messianic kingdom, for the most part rejected it, while the Gentiles accepted it, were baptized, and became Christians.



But things aren’t always what they appear to be. You may find someone seated at the wedding feast, invited from the highways and byways who really isn’t a true Christian believer, but a hypocrite who pretends to be a Christian. This is represented by the man in the wedding hall who was not dressed in a wedding garment, which was an insult to the king and his son. Everyone was supposed to put on their best clothes and if they didn’t have appropriate clothing it seems that the custom was that the person giving the feast would supply the guest with proper clothes for the feast. But this person rejected all of this and simply came in his dirty work clothes, insulting both the king and his son.



This is relevant to us who are members of the Gentile Church. Even now some of us appear to be members of the kingdom and say that we believe, and come to the services, but are not truly believers in our heart. Not everyone has saving faith, and so not everyone is justified and filled with the righteousness of God. And not everyone then lives according to God’s will, following his biblically revealed moral law.



So while this parable originally seems to have been about the Jews being rejected because they themselves rejected Christ, and the Gentiles then being chosen as the new people of God, it is also a warning to us that even though we belong to the Gentile Church and have been called, not all of us have been chosen. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Only those who truly have saving faith and then live a life according to God’s biblically revealed moral law are chosen.



We should appreciate the gift that we have been given of being invited to the wedding feast, which is the grace and the joy of living in the messianic times, the times of the Messiah who has come. We should rejoice in having eternal life through faith in Christ, because of what he did for us on the cross – dying for our sins.



And what does it mean that Christ died for our sins? It means that he suffered for our sins. He suffered what we deserve to suffer in punishment of our sins. He did this for us so that we who put our faith in him would not have to suffer ourselves the penalty for our sins.



And where did he do this? He did it on the cross. He was God and man and was put to death at the instigation of the Jewish leaders for our sins. His death was a sacrifice for our sins, where he suffered our punishment for our sins for us who put our faith in him.



And so what happens to us who put our faith in Christ? We are justified by God. That means that God declares us ungodly sinners righteous and reckons to us his own righteousness so that we shine with the righteousness of God himself.



We should be ever grateful for this gift. For all those of us who have accepted this gift it is like accepting the invitation of a king to attend the wedding feast of his son. It is a time of gladness and joy, for it fills our life with meaning. God’s love fills our hearts with heavenly love and divine righteousness. We shine with the righteousness of God.



But we must be careful that we do not get thrown into the outer darkness like this man who attended the feast in his work clothes instead of dressing properly. We should not be like him who somehow infiltrated the kingdom of God and attended the wedding feast in an unworthy state without genuine faith in Christ for justification and without a life lived according to God’s will, following his biblically revealed moral law.



Let us not be like him, lest we, like him, be thrown into the outer darkness with our hands and feet bound. Let us rather be true members of the kingdom of God and true guests at the Lord’s wedding feast, rejoicing in our salvation through our faith in Christ and subsequently living a life according to God’s will.


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