God’s Feast of Salvation (Mt. 22:1-14) Proper 23A
+ Jesu Juva +
Isaiah prophesied it! Jesus fulfills it!
Mount Calvary! What a feast God has prepared! What a spread of salvation! Crucified and dead on the cross Jesus is the richest of foods, the finest of wine and the best of meats for sinners all over the world! His death is curtains for death itself!
Mount Calvary! The enormous wedding bash of salvation! It’s a kingdom of God wedding feast. A salvation banquet! Son of God Jesus has come! And with Him high in cholesterol salvation for sinners! Jesus has come to forgive all sin! He has come to put death to death! To crush Satan’s head! To give eternal life to all who would believe in Him! Behold: The salvation of fat-filled forgiveness for sinners in the crucified Christ shindig is what God has always wanted to throw! It’s here! For Jesus is here! Hanging on the tree with all your sin! With all the world’s sin!
Can you imagine anyone refusing to come to the party of free and total forgiveness? Ignoring God’s lavish love for sinners given in Jesus? That people would use the puny cares of this world as an excuse to stay away? Really?
Yes, indeed. Incredibly, many of the first invited guests said: “Thanks, but NO!” Some were indifferent. Others were apathetic. Still others were just too busy. Too occupied by puny cares! One had to work on the farm. Got to tend the fields you know! Got chores to do! Another had to go into the office of his own business. And you know how that goes. Own your own business and there’s no end to the work! The cares of the day were just too great – too important – to take a few moments to relax at the King’s table! “Maybe another time.”
And then there are those who are so irritated by the invitation, that they kill the King’s servants for doing their duty.
Absolutely incredible isn’t it? Saying no to the Son’s Good Friday salvation of the world-wedding banquet. Filling time for worship with all kinds of stuff. Everyone has an excuse. No, everyone has millions of excuses. But they all ring hollow compared with the abundant generosity and richness of the Son’s wedding banquet.
Jesus says: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.” You’d think people would be mobbing the doors of our congregation to receive such a wedding banquet gift. The medicine of immortality. Offered right here at the Sacrament. But (yawn!) it doesn’t happen.
But the King is persistent. Very persistent. He wants you at his Son’s wedding feast. More servants are sent to gather “as many as they can find.” Even – “the good and the bad.” When Israel wouldn’t come to the feast, the invitation went out to the Gentiles. That’s you and me. And if you won’t come, then the invitation will go out to others.
After all, when God throws a party it is the biggest shindig the world has ever seen. And He doesn’t leave anyone off the invitation list. Jesus died for all. He died for all sin. He leaves no sinner outside of His death. He excludes no sin from His dying.
Now, if you want to stubbornly refuse to feast or remain apathetically indifferent to the Lord’s party of free salvation, then go right ahead. But I warn you. You’ll get what you want. You’ll be left out of the feast and thrown into hell where there’s forevermore weeping and eternal grinding of teeth. And the only person you’ll have to blame is yourself. Don’t blame God. Don’t blame the servants who are sent with His invitation. God’s will is for you to be at His Son’s party.
And so incredibly the King even supplies the clothes for the wedding party’s bash. Wedding garments. Provided most graciously. He clothes His guests with His Son’s perfection. His Son’s righteousness. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ,” Scripture says.
The ticket into the feast is Christ. Being robed in Him and the Good Friday forgiveness He won for you.
But then the King spies someone. He dares to attend without wearing the wedding garment. He comes boasting in himself. “I’m the big cheese! Christ? Who needs Him? I’m just fine on my own!”
No wonder the King is disgusted. Outraged. The bouncers are called. And the man is thrown out.
Then comes the end of the parable: “Many are called but few are chosen.” Not an explanation. Just an observation. In other words, all are invited but few end up at the party. That sure isn’t God’s will. It isn’t the King’s fault.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus died for you. Jesus rose from the dead for you. He has clothed you with His perfection and holiness in Baptism. You are forgiven. The banquet is here. You are the invited and honored guests. Happy eating and drinking. The feast is ready. Come to the feast. The good and the bad. Come and be glad. Greatest and least. Come to the feast.
In the Name of Jesus.