12th March 2019

Inclusion before Exclusion

“Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.’”
Matthew 22:1-2 (NIVUK)

The overall theme of this parable above is about God providing salvation, depicted as a banquet for humanity. Although this parable is not an exact blueprint, the main theme can give interesting illustrations of salvific truths: initially the king sent specific guests an invitation and later a reminder to come to the banquet, but they refused to come. The parable continues, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, “the bad as well as the good,” and as a result the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the wedding banquet was ready, when salvation was available through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, anyone and everyone was invited to the feast. The invitations were indiscriminate, offered to “the bad as well as the good” (Verses 8-10).

Then an unexpected problem arose: one individual thought he could come to the banquet on his own terms. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless” (Verses 11-12). Vincent Word Studies states that the Greek text of verse 12 implies, “that the man was conscious of the omission when he entered, and was intentionally guilty of the neglect.” In other words, the man knew he ought to have come in a wedding garment but had deliberately come to the banquet in the full knowledge that he was dressed inappropriately. Despite this insult the king showed love and acceptance to this person and called him friend. What first century king would act in this manner? The king requested an explanation. For whatever reason the man remained silent—he wanted acceptance on his own terms and in effect excluded himself from the party.

In this parable it is God who makes all the arrangements for salvation, it was not up to the bride or guests to make their own plans according to their whims and desires. Nobody was outside the king’s favour, all were invited. God had already accepted all even though not all were willing to receive his acceptance. All of those excluded had excluded themselves. There was and still is inclusion before exclusion. This invitation to all humanity still exists and invites a response: to turn to God and accept the salvation he offers through Jesus Christ. The Gospel is good news for ALL.

Prayer
Father, we thank you that you have invited all to participate in salvation through your son Jesus Christ.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh

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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
The Source Training & Conference Centre
300 Meadowhall Way
Sheffield
S9 1EA

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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