From the pen of Dr. Sam Jones
You have been called, the million-dollar question is will you be chosen? The Bible readings for today are Matthew 22:1-46 and Mark 12:1-44. The events of these two chapters occurred on Tuesday of the final week before Jesus’ Crucifixion. Jesus had made it to the temple and He was engaged in a dialogue with the Jewish leaders that started in the morning and went long into the evening. Jesus addressed such topics as, “Is it lawful to pay taxes;” “What about the resurrection;” “Which is the greatest of commandments;” and “How can David call His descendant Lord?” In addition to addressing these questions, Jesus taught in parables. Let us review the two parables in the assigned readings.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14)
This is the third of three parables Jesus taught when He challenged the religious leaders of the Jews. Now, for over three years, He had been trying to open the eyes of these men, as well as His disciples of the nature of the kingdom. He told them the kingdom of heaven was similar to a wedding feast. Invitations were sent out to special guests, in this case, the Jews, but they spurned each invitation. The text says, “They made light of it,” that is, they were preoccupied with other things and didn’t give this their attention. Thus, the bridegroom sent out an invitation to others, the Gentiles. What thoughts can be deducted from this parable? Allow me to share two thoughts: first, the parable teaches many people will be invited to the feast, but only a few will be chosen. God first sent invitations to all Jews, but they “made light of the call of the gospel.” Today, “the call” or the invitation of the gospel is to every person, Jews and Gentiles. Paul states, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Tit. 2:11). But only those who answer the invitation will be saved (Matt. 7:13-14). Second, just because you answer the invitation doesn’t mean you will be eligible to enter the feast. There will be people arriving at the feast thinking because they accepted the invitation that they are going to get in. But the truth is only those who have complied with the conditions of the invitation will be eligible to enter the door. Jesus affirms, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven (Matt. 7:21).
The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers (Mark 12:1-12)
The planter of the vineyard, in this parable, is God. The unrighteous and wicked vinedressers refer to the Jews. God on numerous occasions sent His servants, the prophets, to plead with the Jews, but they rejected the message of the prophets and even killed some. With deep compassion, the Planter of the vineyard sent His only Son; he was assuming they might be touched by this act, but they were not. This parable shouts loudly several features of God for us to consider. First, God is patient; He gives opportunity after opportunity for people to do the right thing. Second, God blesses even those who don’t deserve it; how many of us would give to people who mistreat us, deny us, mock us, etc. Third, God is fair; He doesn’t require or expect anything of us that we are not capable of doing. Finally, God desires to have a relationship with each of us; He didn’t send an angel to invite us to the feast, but He sent His only Son. In this act God’s matchless love is demonstrated. Let us give thanks to God for “the call” or invitation of the gospel!