Keep Your Promise!
Judges 11:29-40; Psalm 40:5-10; Matthew 22:1-14
The parable of the wedding banquet from today’s reading in Matthew 22 gives reference to the Messianic banquet, which is not only mentioned in the New Testament (Rev. 19) but also in the Rabbinic Literature. At the end of the age, the Jewish tradition held, all the people of God–Israel–would enjoy a Messianic banquet in their transition from this life to the life to come.
In the banquet, God is the king, and Jesus is the son. Israel, being the chosen one, is the bride. Marriage pertains to the covenant, which is the legacy that Jesus left behind. The guests that refused to come are people who have been called by God to follow Him and yet they refuse to listen.
God doesn’t give up and send us more messengers like the numerous prophets after Jesus’ great sacrifice and the apostles, but the people just turn their backs on them and even persecuted them. Because of this, the Lord decides to extend his graciousness to other people who might want to take up His offer rather than continue to extend His offer to those who would not listen.
Likewise many are called to do different missions in life, but many refuse to listen to what God speaks in their hearts and to what is right, but would rather do things as they please in ways that give no regard for Jesus’ teachings. Others seem to listen but have hidden intentions in their hearts.
While it can be easy to follow what God wants us to do, the parable makes it clear that there is only one way to do so, and that is exactly how He wants it. This is shown in through the passage about the guest with no robes who was thrown out of God’s kingdom. There is no gray area with God. right is right, and wrong is wrong. When you pass away, you will be judged accordingly.
In Jesus’ day many people certainly wanted to enter the kingdom, but when Jesus started telling them to come to him and take his yoke upon them and learn of him, they went away. And in the day of judgment many will claim to have done good deeds, but Jesus will turn them away because they will not have dealt properly with the basic issue of salvation–they will not be prepared properly and spiritually to be received by the King at the wedding of the Son.
The bible says “many are called but a few are chosen.”
Let us be like Jephtah who made a promise with the Lord in exchange for His blessings, and yet he kept it, no matter how foolish it was. We should keep our end of the bargain too. We MUST NOT manipulate the Lord by asking for things and not keeping our end of the bargain. God cannot be bribed. Knowing about God’s salvation is not enough. We have to prepare ourselves for our our salvation (by doing what He asks us to do) so that when time comes, we will be best prepared for the banquet in heaven in our next life!