The Wedding Banquet

Monday, Nov. 28                      

Let me illustrate the importance of understanding culture by using the Parable of the Wedding Banquet.  Mt. 22:1-14.  Without any cultural background, it makes a nice story, although some dreadful things took place.  There is a king and his loyal servants, invited guests to a wedding banquet who refused to attend, street people invited to the wedding, and even an imposter.  Matthew records this parable without adding any explanations.  It either was clearly understood by people without explanation or Matthew assumed that no further information was needed because of the wider context—a string of parables with virtually the same message.  I probably don’t fully understand all the cultural nuances, but the gist is fairly clear.  The banquet was the celebration of the marriage of the Lamb (Christ) and His bride (the Church).  The king is God.  His loyal servants are angels, or possibly evangelists.  The indifferent people would be Jews who refused the gospel message even though they supposedly were loyal to the king.  The substitutes from the streets were Gentile believers.  The imposter, pretending to be an invited guest,  was  judged and sent to eternal damnation as indicated by the darkness and gnashing of teeth.  Maybe Judas?  Can you guess how those three audiences would respond to this parable?  The Pharisees?  “Gentiles replacing the Jews?  Jesus is out of his mind.”  The people?  “Jesus doesn’t speak like the other Rabbis  What will he say next?”  The disciples?  “How do we fit into this?  Who is the imposter?”

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