The Divine Invitation
Are We Responding to His Invitation
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
When Christ came, he not only came to bring salvation, but he also came to call us to become participants in his kingdom. When we think of the purpose of Christ’s coming, we focus on the death of Christ in which he paid the penalty for our sins so that we might have eternal life. But that is only part of the story. Christ came proclaiming the kingdom of God (also called the kingdom of heaven). This kingdom is the sovereign rule of God over the universe. Participating in his kingdom involves submission to his sovereign reign in our lives so that he takes precedence over all things in our lives. It is to surrender to him increasingly.
Christ describes four individuals who refused to surrender to his kingdom in this parable. In the story, the king represents the father, and his son represents Christ. Thus, sent to invite people into his kingdom refers to the prophets and individuals sent by God to call people (in this case, the nation of Israel) to be participants in his kingdom.
The king sends out his servants to invite people to the wedding feast he has prepared for his son. Such an invitation would have been a great honor. However, surprisingly, those who were invited were unwilling. This was a shocking response, for a royal invitation was not to be refused in real life. Even though they were unwilling, the king's patience is seen in sending out another invitation to them. This time, not only did they refuse, but they killed the servants. This act of treason resulted in the justified wrath of the king as he executed justice, not just for the social indiscretion, but for their treason act of rebellion.
As we read the story, we find four individuals described who were subsequently excluded from the feast. The first are those who “paid no attention.” The idea of the phrase is that they did not care. In response to this grand invitation, they were simply indifferent. They were hostile to the king, they just regarded it as unimportant. The second group, who “went their way, one to his farm, another to his business,” speaks of too busy individuals. When the invitation came, they had other priorities and other interests. They were too involved and concerned about their own affirms to respond to the invitation. The third individual was far more aggressive. They were hostile and in rebellion against the king, mistreating and even killing the servants.
As we read the story, it is easy to condemn the folly of these individuals. But if we look at ourselves closely, we discover that we are often the same way. It is not that we are against Christ. We may even claim to be followers of Christ, but when we are invited to join Christ in his redemptive work, we are too involved and concerned about our own lives and our agenda. Instead of setting Christ as the priority of our life, he is pushed to the sidelines. We are not against Christ, we just regard our spiritual life as a low priority. Instead of going to church and worshiping our king, we get distracted, and caught up in our priorities that we do not have time to serve and worship the king. When asked we verbally affirm our faith, but in the end, we are too busy, too distracted, too involved in other things to spend time with Christ.
But there is a fourth individual, one who does come to the wedding. Because those who came were people from the streets, the king likely provided appropriate dress for them to where. But this individual refused. He represents a fourth individual. This individual seeks another way to heaven apart from the person of Christ. To be appropriately clothed for heaven, we must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ that comes through faith as we accept the substitutionary death of Christ (see Phi. 3:9; Eph 4:24).
The parable challenges us to examine our response to God’s invitation to become part of his kingdom. Are we too busy in our affairs to be devoted to God’s redemptive work? Are we distracted by our agenda? Do we find God’s plan a threat? Do we try to obtain salvation based on our works rather than God’s grace? These are questions we need to ask ourselves, for how we answer these questions has eternal implications. To accept Christ's invitation is to surrender completely to his kingdom, and when we do, we discover the joy of heaven.