Monday, December 09, 2019


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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa. 
To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

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 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.  
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. Rev 22: 20-21.

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Mar 9

Written by: Andries
Monday, March 09, 2015 6:17:06 AM  RssIcon

We are baffled by the behaviour of the characters in a strange parable that Jesus told and is found in Matthew 22: 1 – 14.
An initial invitation to come to a feast in honour of the king’s son to celebrate his wedding, is met with rejection from the king’s inner circle (verse 3).  We know that nobody in elitist circles turns down such a royal summons.
It is even stranger that a second invitation is sent to try to convince the guests with a description of the delicious meals that were prepared, to come to the feast. (verse 4).  But the invited guests remain unconvinced and carry on with business as usual (verse 5).
 
The parable shows how bizarre and unthinkable it is to even imagine that when God invites people to share in the life feast made possible by God’s Son, our Saviour, it can be turned down by so many – many of whom we would not expect it at first! 
 
The story takes a horrible trend when we hear that the king’s servants were not only ignored, but also abused and murdered. Those who are sent as prophets, apostles and missionaries have over the centuries often paid the highest price for inviting people to enjoy and celebrate the Son of God!
In the parable we also see the king retaliate! Furiously he allows his army to run free and punish the city. The murderers themselves are murdered, and the king’s own city is burnt down to smouldering ash.
 
The weirdest of all in our story, is that the dinner has not been cancelled as a result of this civil disobedience and civil war! The most amazing part is that invitations go out again, into the city which is in ashes  But now the invitations go out to commoners standing (stunned by the fires and violence!) on the “main streets” of the city (verse 9).
All the while, as great flames demolished the buildings outside the palace walls, the spectacular dishes in the great hall are kept ready for the eventual guests!
 
Yes, this is not a realistic story.  But why is the narrative so agonizing in its twists and plots? Because it is an allegory of the salvation history. God summons people to the kingdom banquet offered in honour of God’s Messiah, Jesus our Saviour. 
But they inexplicably rejected the glorious invitation and persecuted those called to spread the good news. And this is reality! This is a true story.
 
An unexpected invitation to commoners on the main streets points toward the surprising ways the invitation to God’s kingdom banquet is increasingly extended to and embraced by those once considered outsiders. Gentiles. The uncircumcised. Pagans! So many who suffer in the “burning cities” of living in an ungodly society and suffer the consequences of ungodly morals, ethics and unbelief, become the distinguished guests of God, celebrating the glory of his Son.
 
Back to the parable! While the dinner is thoroughly enjoyed, the king enters the banquet hall and he finds that one of the guests is not dressed properly. “Friend,” he says, “how did you get in here without a wedding robe”? (verse 12)?   And receiving no satisfactory answer, he has the poor guy bound and thrown out -- not just outside the hall, but into “the outer darkness!” (verse 13). This king is no pushover, and if the new guests are beneficiaries of an unexpectedly generous invitation, they must nevertheless be on guard against the same self-righteousness shown by the first invitees.
The doors of the kingdom community are thrown wide open, and the invitation extends to all. But once you come in, there are standards. You can never act like you are not divinely blessed by an extraordinary celebration.
 
The problem with this man, thrown out into darkness, is not only that he is not taking things seriously enough. No, his biggest sin is a failure to party.
 
Living in the kingdom of heaven (verse 2) is an extraordinary banquet. Simply accepting the invitation is not enough.
When the kingdom music is playing, it is time to start singing! Celebrating!
When we find our undeserving selves to be God’s guests, celebrating God’s Son, the least we can do is to show joy, participation, praise, thanksgiving, excitement, faithfulness, love!
 
God’s invitation is to a feast! The person who does not obey and come to celebrate the Son accordingly, in other words festively, declines and spurns the invitation no less than those who are unwilling to appear at all.
  

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