“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son….” Matthew 22:2 (Read v.1-14)
The chief priests and Pharisees, along with many of the Jews, rejected Jesus and would not trust in Him for the forgiveness of their sins and a place in God’s eternal kingdom. God’s servants, the apostles and prophets, proclaimed to them the way of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus; but they made light of God’s gracious invitation and even mistreated and killed God’s servants.
With the parable of the king who made a marriage supper for his son, Jesus illustrated to his hearers how they were rejecting God’s gracious invitation to have part in His kingdom and partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb through faith in His own dear Son, Jesus Christ (cf. Rev. 19:7ff.).
As described in Jesus’ parable, the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants were judged of God for their rejection of Christ Jesus. The city was destroyed and burned with fire, and its inhabitants were either killed or carried away captive. (This was done by the Roman armies in 70 A.D.)
The LORD God has also sent His servants out to invite others to have part in His eternal kingdom through faith in Christ. The Gospel has been preached, not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles around the world; and many, by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit through the Word, have heeded God’s gracious invitation. Through faith in Jesus Christ, they have received forgiveness of sins and will partake of the eternal joys of heaven.
They are clothed, not with their own sin-tainted righteousness, but with the perfect righteousness of Christ. It is only for the sake of Christ and His innocent sufferings and death in their stead that they are acceptable to God by faith and have a place in His kingdom (cf. Eph. 1:6ff.).
But, like the man who came without a wedding garment, there are also many who try to earn a place in God’s kingdom by their own sin-tainted works rather than simply receiving the righteousness of Christ which is ours through faith. Such, who attempt to partake of God’s eternal kingdom clothed in the spotted garment of the flesh rather than in the righteousness of Christ, will be cast out into the darkness and eternal torment of hell.
God’s gracious invitation goes out to all, but only the elect of God heed the Gospel call and trust in Christ alone for eternal salvation (cf. 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:3ff.; Acts 13:48). It is only by the grace of God that we who trust in Christ have heeded the Gospel invitation (Eph. 2:8-9).
We also need to beware lest we take that invitation lightly or begin to depend upon our own sin-tainted righteousness rather than trusting in the perfect righteousness of Christ our Savior.
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness my beauty are, my glorious dress; midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head. Bold shall I stand in that great Day, for who aught to my charge shall lay? Fully thro’ these absolved I am from sin and fear, from guilt and shame. Amen. (The Lutheran Hymnal, Hymn #371, Verses 1-2)
[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]