A Series of Parables
Text: Matthew 22 : 1 - 14
Jesus was most ingenious in creating and telling parables! He could even direct the parables so accurately, that there was no mistaking their application! Three parables were directed to the chief priests and elders.
1. The parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32)
2. The parable of the Wicked Vinedressers (Matthew 21:33-41)
3. The parable of the Marriage Feast (Matthew 22:1-14)
CLEAR APPLICATION BY JESUS
Sometimes, Jesus personally applied the meaning of the parable. This was the case in the parable of the two sons. Let us consider the following text.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you,
that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God
before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness,
and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots
believed him; and when you saw it, you did not
afterward relent and believe him.'”
This was an indictment of the chief priests and the elders. They could not bring themselves to believe in John’s preaching, despite the fact that many “tax collectors and harlots” did. They could have been excused for taking a longer time to decide whether to believe in John, but at the end of the day, they decided not to believe in him.
CLEAR APPLICATION BY AUDIENCE
At other times, Jesus sought response from His audience. Would they be able to apply the meaning of the parable they heard? In the parable of the wicked vinedressers Jesus had the audience apply the meaning of the parable.
“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes,
what will he do to those vinedressers?
They said to Him, ‘He will destroy those wicked men
miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers
who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.'”
If the general public could come up with the correct application, how much better would be the understanding of the chief priests and elders! Sadly, the correct and appropriate application of the word of truth Jesus spoke never seemed to touch the hearts of the chief priests and elders!
Not discouraged in the least, Jesus told another parable. This parable was a much longer one than usual! It was also fraught with deep truths!
THE PARABLE OF THE MARRIAGE FEAST
This parable may fit into the series that Jesus told (Cf. Matthew 13). However, Matthew judiciously placed this parable in this particular context for good reason. This parable while it may have general application, had special significance with reference to the chief priests and elders.
“And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:
‘The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged
a marriage for his son…'”
Once again, Jesus preached on the theme of “The kingdom of heaven”. The imagery this time was that of a marriage.
MORE THAN JUST SENDING OUT INVITATIONS!
A marriage was meant to be celebrated! Few occasions could rival this event – the marriage of the king’s son!
“And sent out his servants to call those who were invited
to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those
who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner;
my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready.
come to the wedding.”‘”
At least three special efforts were made to invite the wedding guests to attend the marriage dinner of the king’s son.
1. The formal invitation
2. Sending out of the servants to specially call the guests
3. Sending out of the servants a second time to specially invite the guests
No king needed to do this! The occasion would have compelled people to make plans to attend the wedding feast. This invitation has come from the king himself. Three times, the king showed special graciousness to his subjects! At the last invitation, even the menu at the wedding was highlighted! Would not the guests be glad to attend the wedding dinner?
AN APT PORTRAYAL OF THE RECALCITRANT LEADERS
How well Jesus understood His enemies. Like the wedding guests in the parable, they were unresponsive. They had no reason to disdain the teachings of Jesus at all, yet they did. They opposed and despised all that Jesus stood for!