As we've been studying through the book of Matthew, we've noticed a pattern in the line up of histories and parables that are given. These aren't just unrelated stories. There is a point, and it weaves throughout several chapters.
First, in Matthew 19 Jesus talks to a young rich man and reveals perfection for him, and it’s to sell everything he has and dedicate himself to following Jesus. As a rich man, he had many concerns. It’s not that he had a bunch of money in the bank; he had many responsibilities. But Jesus was asking him to give up his own obligations and take on the only concern that really matters: Him. Jesus.
This theme follows through the book of Matthew. In Matthew 19:29, Jesus talks about the reward for those who leave everyone, even earth family relationships if necessary, to follow Him. In Chapter 20, Jesus likens entrance into the kingdom of God to day laborers who agree to work for a certain sum. In this parable, the same payment is given to every laborer, no matter how long they work, because it's not about the amount of work done, it's about being available for the master's business.
In Matthew 20, again Jesus brings home the truth about being a servant under authority. In verses 25-28, when questioned by the chief priests and elders (the local authorities of the day) about what authority He operated under, He counters them with a question: By what authority did John the Baptist come—was it from heaven or from men? Of course we know that John was under God's authority. John was doing God's will, not his own.
When the men refuse to answer Him, Jesus tells them a parable about two sons. Both are struggling with their own personal wills, but one of them overcomes his problem, and the other doesn’t. Regardless of what they say they'll do, the one goes into the vineyard and does His father's will. This son is under his father's authority. He makes himself available. He doubless had other plans that day, which is why he initially refused to go. But eventually he sets his will aside, and does what his father asks. The other son gives lip service only.
Jesus is saying that the chief priests and elders are like the second son who said he was going to follow God but didn't actually do it. The one who started out with the intent to follow, but who never followed through. How many of us see ourselves in the second son? In the first?
Keep in mind Jesus is speaking to the elders in Israel who should know better! In Verse 33, He calls for them to hear another parable about a householder who planted a vineyard. All the workings of the vineyard were entrusted to husbandmen, and the householder goes away, into a far country.
Later, when the householder sends his servants to collect some of the fruit, the workers reject the true servants and even kill the master's own son. These workers weren't serving their master. They may have started out serving him, but by now they're doing their own thing.
What should happen to those wicked servants? Even the elders track with Jesus when they surmise that such a householder would likely destroy those wicked men and let out the vineyard to faithful husbandmen.
Where is Jesus going with this?
In one parable, He tells of a son who won’t work in his dad’s vineyard. In another parable, it’s a whole group of people who go rogue on a traveling householder. What is His point?
In Chapter 22, Jesus brings it home.
In this chapter, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who made a marriage for His Son. He sends servants to call people to the wedding. But the people, the king's servants, make light of it. They each go their own way, one to “HIS” farm and another to “HIS” merchandise. And they mistreat the servants who brought the invitation.
Have you noticed what the king does to the people who refused to come to the wedding supper? It says He “sent forth his armies and destroyed them and burned their cities.”
The king was wroth, which means, like, really really mad!
This is where if we're tracking with the story, we have to stop and ask the question:
“Isn’t that a bit of an overreaction to people who refuse an invitation to a party?!!"
But remember, we’re talking about a Kingdom. Not a republic. That farm the man thought he had to work at? Yeah. It belonged to the King. That merchandise the man had to tend to? Same thing. It was the King's. Even the people themselves belonged to the King. It was His Kingdom. That’s how kingdoms operate.
This wasn’t just people refusing to go to a party. It was the sign of rebellion in the kingdom. And rebellion to the King. The people of that city were doing their own thing, unresponsive to the King’s wishes. The King who owned them. The King who commissioned them in the first place. One to one job, and another to another. But when the King says, "Now let's do something else for a bit," He means, "Now let's do something else for a bit." It's not optional.
When God sends us an invitation to be about His business, and we find ourselves just a bit too busy to take Him up on it . . . and even worse, if we treat those who bring the invitation with contempt, it's not good. It's not a good thing. It makes God mad. Really mad. Just like in the parable.
But the King doesn't stop there. And He certainly doesn't cancel the party. He makes sure His house is filled anyway. And notice that the guest list isn't based on how good the people are who are invited--but only whether they were willing to respond, to leave whatever they were doing to come.
This parable closes with a very interesting fellow who's come the party still doing his own thing. He hasn't dressed himself properly with the provided wedding garment. He's come on his own terms. He's still dressed in his own clothes. He's not about celebrating the marriage of the King's son. Why is he even there? It just shows that we can visit God's house, but it doesn't mean we're gonna be able to abide in it.
We are at the cusp of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And the invitation is going out: Come to the party. Be about Jesus. God is creating communities of people who have left it all for the call. People who've gotten over themselves and their purposes, and now they're about God and God’s purpose.
Terri and I believe we've got something from God, for His body. From the King, to His subjects. We're not just doing our own thing here. There are 15 books, all come down from heaven in just the last few years. It's a huge miracle. And every single one of them addresses a gaping need in the body of Christ.
Look them over. Some of them are being offered for free. Some of them cost money. But none of the price tags reflect anywhere near their true value. But God is watching, and what you do with these messages, and the messenger that bore them to you, is going to come up in your life. In your judgment. Why not respond well now, and order the books? Listen to the audio? Download the kindle?
However you get them, get them. Because the King is on His throne, and He's speaking to His church. Are you so busy with your own jobs from him, with your old flames, that you're not available to pick up God's new flame today? These are messages from God that YOU NEED. He's sending them to meet your need. It may be a need you don't know you have yet, which is why you haven't ordered them yet. But He knows you need it. Take Him up on His invitation to you to read them.
These books will help prepare you for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Jesus is preparing His bride. He's getting her ready. And this is one way He's doing it.
We are God's servants, sent by Him to invite you to partake of this feast with us--the feast of revelation He's given us in this last day. Take and eat.