October 16 – 17, 2010
“The Great Wedding Banquet”
In the name of the Father and the + Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
When the King puts together a wedding banquet for His Son - He does not do it just willy-nilly. He did not even do it in ways we would expect Kings and Queens of our day to party. Not even comparable to a State Dinner at the White House. When the Kingdom of God is at hand - only the best is prepared, the greatest offered. And the banquet is prepared not by wedding planners, mother-in-laws, or even the bride to be. A great day- not to end the festivities, but to begin them. So the King sent His servants to those who had been invited to the banquet. My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet. But those invited paid no attention. They went off - one to his field and another to his business. The invitation was sent. My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet. But they seized the servants, mistreated them and killed them. So the invitation is sent again. It doesn´t come in your mail box...it comes like it has always come...the King sends His servant and in your hearing the invitation is delivered. Come you who are wearied and burdened, the Lamb has been slain for the forgiveness of all your sins, everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.
But men still refuse His invitation. When the precious gospel is expounded, the world plays its little game, becoming worse than it was before, as everybody is busy with their own affairs -- “one to his field, another to his business.” All kinds of grief are given to his servants that bring the Gospel as the guests scorn the wonderful banquet...and so the invitation to the greatest banquet ever -- is rejected.
They hate the king and want to rule themselves. They embrace hell with affection, and don´t even believe the invitations are real and genuine. They´re afraid of change, afraid to risk anything, afraid of their sins being brought out into the light for all to see. If they refuse the invitation no one will detect their spot, their blemishes will go unnoticed and no one will see the hole in their jeans. That is because the Word of God is a threat to us all. The Gospel offends...it changes things, breaks hearts and changes minds. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent.
Yet despite the rejection...the beds have been made, the oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and the wedding clothes are all ironed and waiting. So more servants are sent. The Gospel is preached...but what happened? God calls them to a position of weakness and vulnerability, of faith in things that they cannot see. And what they do see...a man on a cross, his followers persecuted and martyred, poverty and hunger...those things they don´t like. And so rejecting the invitation once again, they run for the cover of darkness, swinging the sword of a tongue full of hate, and embracing the chains of Satan that give them their fake sense of security. How deeply the King is grieved! “He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” Repent!
The wedding is ready and the King will have his wedding hall full. More servants preach the invitation and through his Holy Spirit the Gospel is extended. “The servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad.” It is a delight for the king to not only wash the feet of his guests, but they are given a bath...clothed with righteousness - wedding clothes. Dear Christians, you have been found and restored, forgiven and cleansed, filled with joy.
The Lamb of God has been slain for the forgiveness of your sins, everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet. The Word of God´s Son removes your heart of stone and gives you a beating heart of flesh. The Gospel comes to you. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, hangs upon the cross to supply the waters that make you clean. It is His blood that fills the basin and coming up from that bath of everlasting life a robe of white awaits you. As you enter now into that sacred wedding banquet, God counts you righteous, dressed in the perfect clothes… Christ covers you. He restores and refreshes. The King loves you...he has given everything for you. And his only Son is yours. The King gave him up only for you. And so upon a cross, the Son of the King hangs. His blood your drink, his body your food. He suffers, he dies, and he comes again in life... in your place. The King sends his servants to declare that you are forgiven, holy, and righteous. You wear the white robe - a mark of the King and a sign of your belonging to him, which you did not earn and could not buy. You are his.
Everything is given to you. Satan will still attack, for the way of the cross is just that...a way, a journey - but God has given you stops along the way to nourish you and to give you rest. It is here that you are forgiven, by preached Word and Wedding banquet food, the body and blood of Christ, your Groom. For this wedding banquet that has been prepared by the King is prepared for you...it is your day! Rejoice in the Lord always, for the time has come and Christ the Lord now says to you... “I will... I will take you to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, death will not ever part us, it has no victory, it has no sting...and I pledge you my faithfulness.”
In + Jesus Name. Amen