Sermon Text: Come to the Feast, All is Ready

October 11, 2020 Church Blog, Sermons, Sunday Message0

Proper 24A: Come to the Feast all is ready

  1. The images we see in our OT and Gospel lessons converge on the great celebration Feast given on the Last Day when our Lord returns to create the new heaven and the new earth
    1. The church year is beginning to wind down and the readings will increasingly focus on that Consummation of the Ages
      1. Today, Jesus describes it as a royal wedding feast for the King’s Son which revealed Israel’s rejection of their Messiah and His invitation to the kingdom
      1. But it also serves as a warning for all people who reject the Lord’s invitation
    1. Hopefully, you’ll recall that two weeks ago the religious leaders challenged Jesus while He was teaching in the Temple during Holy Week when they asked, “By what authority are you doing these things?”
      1. In His teaching that followed Jesus told three parables
      1. Two weeks ago we looked at the first parable about two sons: the one who did the father’s will when he said he wouldn’t (sinners/tax collectors) the other who didn’t after agreeing to do it (Pharisees and priests)
      1. Last week we heard the second parable about the vineyard owner who killed the evil tenants after they refused to give Him a share of the fruit and killed His Son (about the rejection of Jesus by the Pharisees, priests)
    1. In our parable today the king is God the Father.  The wedding feast is eternal life.  The servants who bring the invitation are God’s prophets, apostles, pastors, and people. 
      1. Those who refused the invitation represents Israel who rejected their Messiah, the invitation to the banquet of eternal life.
      1. But it’s also applicable to all believers who become complacent in their current lives and forget to be watchful for the Kingdom
      1. The travelers on the highways are those outside the Kingdom of God, rejected by the religious elites as unworthy, but they readily accepted our Lord’s invitation and followed.
      1. Today, they are all of those outside of the church who don’t know the good news of the Gospel whom we in the church often overlook as unworthy.
  2. This morning He starts by saying, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, (Mt 22:2)
    1. The relationship of Yahweh to His people Israel is often described as a marriage in the OT, as is the relationship of Christ to the Church in the NT.
      1. In Revelation 21 at the end of time we hear, Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Rev 21:1-3)
      1. But despite the King’s lavish preparation His servants are rebuffed when they invite the guests.
    1. So the King sends others (which no earthly king would do – you don’t refuse a king), saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ (Mt 2:4)
      1. Just as in the parable of the Vineyard this is an allusion to OT Israel and their refusal to hear the prophets – it highlights God’s longsuffering and patience in reaching out to His people
      1. However, like the previous parable about the vineyard owner, the people paid no attention, just went about their own business, abusing some of the servants and killing others
      1. Finally, judgment comes, the king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. (Mt 22:7)
    1. But rather than not have the banquet He invites anyone He can find to fill the wedding hall – the feast is ready!
      1. Because Israel largely rejected their Messiah (refused the invitation to the banquet) the invitation (the Gospel) was sent to the sinners and the Gentiles
      1. God’s grace and mercy aren’t for just one group of people but for all, He invites everyone to salvation, both bad and good
      1. That’s what Israel in general, and especially the religious elites, had forgotten – the Messiah would come through them , the invitation to the Feast would be theirs first, and they were to carry it to the world
  3. Now the church is the place where God continues to extend His invitation to the feast (the Gospel), through her pastors and her people
    1. We are the ones sent out to the highways and byways with the invitation
      1. Again as you have heard me say often from I Peter, you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1Pe 2:9)
      1. The Lord Himself gave the Great Commission to the church and her people when He ascended,  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:19-20)
    1. But the warning to Israel is the warning to us as well, it is not wise to test the patience of the King
      1. Like Israel, we in the church can lose our passion for the feast, life gets in the way: the kids have sports, working two jobs…we don’t heed His call
      1. Our Lord offers you forgiveness, life and salvation through His Word and Sacraments, yet how often do we come joyfully to the feast?
      1. It becomes just one more thing squeezed in between all the other events, something indifferent, an invitation that is often disregarded like those in the parable.
      1. The author of Hebrews says, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Heb 2:3)
    1. Beloved in Christ, now is the time…today is the day…come to the feast, all has indeed been made ready
      1. The calf, or better yet, the lamb has been slain – the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world has made this gathering possible
      1. As He said through Isaiah in our OT lesson, “On this mountain He has swallowed up death.” (Is 25:6-8)
      1. That mountain was Mount Calvary where Jesus suffered and died on the cross for us; by His blood your sins have been forgiven, He now calls you to Himself
      1. Along with His invitation He has given you clothing to wear to the feast – the Robe of His righteousness that we have through faith
    1. Let your hearts and our doors be open to those who have not heard the invitation of the Lord
      1. Take the mercy, grace and forgiveness that you have received here out there as an invitation that they might know that the wedding hall is open to them
      1. Come and receive anew your King’s invitation to eternal life, be refreshed by His grace comforted in the knowledge that He has reserved a place for you at the banquet paid for by the blood of His Son.