Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!
“So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.
“The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.
None are excluded but those who exclude themselves. [Matthew Henry]
Both the city and the country have their temptations, the merchandise in the one, and the farms in the other; so that, whatever we have of the world in our hands, our care must be to keep it out of our hearts, lest it come between us and Christ. [Matthew Henry]
With the Words of God there are infinite levels of meaning. Not conflicting meaning, but different levels or angles of application. It reminds me of Star Trek. I can remember being fascinated by the scenes with a couple of the characters playing a chess game that was multilevel. Quite a mutation of the single-level, traditional chess game that we know, which is already intricately complicated. When Jesus speaks, it is certainly that kind of communication, though at the moment He is speaking to us there is specific application with no question what He means. Each time you read the same Words, hearing Him speak personally to you, there will appear something you’ve never seen before.
When multi-levels of meaning are in view, we must depend on the panorama of the Bible gained by the years of reading through it and the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells inside, who knows Jesus intimately and has the insatiable desire to reveal Him. That panorama is the backdrop that tests my interpretations, no matter what level the chess piece may land on.
It seems clear that, with Jesus, there really isn’t the distinction of “shallow” or “deep” when it refers to His disclosure of Himself. There is only what He is showing to me now and how that effects my relationship with Him and the world around me. “Shallow” or “deep” would only be used to indicate the depth of penetration and transformation I allow.
This parable is a simple storyboard, which reveals the motivation and method of God’s actions toward humans as history has unfolded. God so loved the world – that He wanted to married it. Now, even as a kid, we knew that is a lot!
Keep this in mind: God has priorities and precedents but they do not hold Him or constrain Him in reaching His objectives.
He wanted guests for the wedding and had a list. He sent the servants out to gather all on the list. When they were thrown away or rejected by the “A list,” he invited anybody and everybody, the good, the bad and the ugly. Thank You, Jesus!
The story demands a question be answered, in our subconscious if not consciously. Which am I? Am I one of the anybodies? Am I one of the A list? Am I the Bride? There’s where the penetration begins. The levels expand and seem to be complicated by multiplied questions and answers. But it is not complicated for God. There is a firm and sure answer. There is an actual winner to the multilevel chess game. How do we get there?
Our attention naturally gravitates to the “unfortunate” soul who becomes the abrupt focus at the end of the story – the one who is brutally expelled. That soul suddenly assumes center-stage and is the example for the lesson…”Many but few.”
The few. We immediately picture the elite, the pros, the top. But here we have another Sermon-on-the-mount type whiplash. The few turn out to be the bottom of the heap, the inept, the amateurs. That double-cross thrown into our cultural circuitry is regular and unrelenting in God’s Book. “You have too many, Gideon.” “Blessed are the poor.” “The powerful lord it over their subjects, but with you…” Are we ever going to get it? “The greatest among you will be the servant of all.” “I came that you might have life.” Real life. Not “marketable” life! Not the life that the world competes for. REAL LIFE. And this is it, the highest value is reached by bowing to the lowest shelf. The REAL joy is granted to those who go to the cross and learn how to surrender in complete faith to the life that has been given to us by the Greatest in the Kingdom.
And, oh yes, don’t forget to wear the clothes He gives you. Your identification is His definitions, perspective and purpose. Your identification is Him. Jesus.