Jesus’ First Wedding Parable

When teaching on how to get right with God, Jesus told a wedding parable which was actually two parables that both closely matched parables the rabbis often told. The first one is in Matthew 1-10. 

Matthew 22:1-10 Modern English Version (MEV)
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
22 Jesus spoke to them again by parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding, but they would not come.
4 “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited: See, I have prepared my supper. My oxen and fattened calves are killed, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5 “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his business; 6 the rest took his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 When the king heard about it, he was angry. He sent in his army and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the streets, and invite to the wedding banquet as many as you find.’ 10 So those servants went out into the streets and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

Remember that in Jesus’ day weddings were actually week-long feasts. The first invitation would go out to let everyone know that the celebration was coming soon, then preparations would begin. The second notice would say: come now, the feast is ready. In between the two notices it was expected that all the guests would get ready so they would be able to come as soon as the feast was prepared.

In the rabbi version of the story, the wise guests got ready, washed up, put on their best robes, then sat by the palace door, ready to go inside. The foolish guests figured they would be able to tell when the time got close because they would see all the servants getting the feast ready, so they went back to their work.

The second notice came without warning, though, so the wise got to go in and enjoy the feast, while the foolish had to stand outside, hungry and sad. This story made the scribes and Pharisees look good, as the wise ones, and everybody else look bad.

Jesus turned the story upside down. In His version, nobody even cared about the invitation. This was the second notice, the one all the guests should have been prepared and waiting for. The guests didn’t even pretend to try and get ready. They totally dishonored and disrespected their king, increasing their guilt

Jesus’ point was clear. Just as in the story of the wicked tenants, God’s own beloved people, the people He especially invited to join Him, had spurned Him instead. God had given them the whole of His word in the scriptures to prepare themselves for the coming of His Son. 

Instead they showed contempt for God, abused God’s prophets and rejected the Messiah’s invitation to enter into eternal life through repentance and faith. What excuses are you making to refuse God’s invitation? The king was not going to let a single seat be empty.  He intended his son to be honored by a magnificent celebration, thronging with grateful revelers. 

For those who rejected Him judgment would come.

In Luke 20:21 Jesus warned His disciples about the coming judgement of Jerusalem, telling them, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by soldiers, you will know that it will soon be destroyed. If you are living in Judea at that time, run to the mountains. If you are in the city, leave it. And if you are out in the country, don't go back into the city.

The early Christians believed this prophecy as literal. In April of 70 A.D., during Passover week, Titus brought his armies up to Jerusalem and all the Christians fled for the hills.

Five months later, in mid-August, on the exact same day when the King of Babylon burned the Temple in 586 B.C., Titus took Jerusalem, put it to the torch, and burned the Temple.  The whole city was left ruined and desolate.

Jerusalem was totally destroyed just as Jesus had predicted, and not one stone was left upon another. When the Temple was set on fire the Roman soldiers tore apart the stones to get the melted gold. Over one million Jews were killed. 95,000 captives were taken as prisoners to be slaves and entertainment in the arenas. Titus reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory, saying there was "no merit in vanquishing people forsaken by their own God.

All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.