Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Heavenly Banquet

Sermon at Thursday morning Holy Communion 9.15am

Matthew 22: 1 – 14 (NRSV)

1Once more Jesus spoke to the chief priests and Pharisees in parables, saying: 2‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” 5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 14For many are called, but few are chosen.’


  • Parable about Kingdom of Heaven
    • Series of actions and reactions
  • Characters
    • King = God
    • Son = Jesus
    • First Servants = God’s messengers,
    • Second Servants = murder of prophets
    • Troops = Roman soldiers, destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD
    • Third Servants = Church, all invited
  • All stand side by side at the end of time
    • Good and Evil
      • Man without wedding robe = whole class at last judgment
      • Lacks glorious resurrected body and good works = heavenly garment
  • Justification is by Faith, but not alone
    • Elect are the Jews who have rejected God’s message of salvation
      • But those of us who are chosen cannot expect to be received into the Kingdom of God on that strength alone.
      • We can be present but still lack a heavenly garment
    • So Christian readers cannot hear this parable with any sense of self-satisfaction
    • Are we among the ‘many’ or the ‘few’ who are chosen
    • We might be in the church but still be improperly clothed at the last judgement

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