Who do you invite to your birthday party? This is a big deal when you are a teen.
Do you invite your best friend? Probably. The athletic football guys? Yes. The popular girls? Of course.
But that shy girl with the glasses? She won't come anyway. And that boy with the learning disorder? No one wants him. Then, there's the kid that wears the same clothing day after day. He'll scare all the other guests away!
The teen world is a microcosm of adult life. Humans are very selective and oftentimes superficial when it comes to associating themselves with others. The richest, most famous, best looking, and most advantageous to our career type people are the ones we want to surround ourselves with.
This is why Jesus' parable is so shocking:
1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. (Matthew 22)
Amazing isn't it? The important, fancy people were too busy for the banquet. So their invitation was rescinded. The king then invites the poor, the sick, the simple, those whom you would never expect to be at a royal banquet -- to a royal banquet.
It's a parable though. So there's a spiritual meaning.
God is the king. He invites people to his banquet. He invites them to come and be a part of his family of believers -- a family that will one day join him for a feast in heaven.
But many refuse.
The intelligent say, "This doesn't make sense."
The successful say, "I can't be bothered by this now."
The famous say, "How will this association with Jesus make me look?"
But Jesus doesn't stop with his invitation. He goes out into the streets. He searches for the poor. He reaches out to the sexually abused. He calls to the drunkards and drug addicts. He spreads the words to refugees and oppressed minorities. He asks the mentally handicapped and the physically disabled. He even invites the children to come and join him at his feast!
BOTTOM LINE: Jesus has no problem inviting the people you wouldn't expect to be at a royal feast to his royal feast.
Now you might be asking, "What about me? Am I invited?"
If you are reading this, then the answer is "Yes." Listen to this invitation to Jesus.
"Come. I know this world is a mess. I know your life is a mess. It is because of sin. But I died to save you from that. I rose to assure you of my love. By faith in me, life will turn around. Sadness of failure will turn to the joy of victory in me. The sorrow of guilt will become the peace of forgiveness. The nervousness of life will be replaced with the confidence of life thereafter. Trust me. Believe me. I am your Savior. I am your king. And I want you to be at my banquet."
PRAYER: Dear King Jesus, forgive me. Forgive me when I callously ignore your requests to have me at your banquet. Forgive me when I make assumptions about who you would like in heaven. Forgive me for the sake of Jesus who died for all humans -- including me. Lord, keep me safe from pride. Keep me safe from complacency. Open my eyes to share your invitation with those I meet today. Amen.