Entering the Kingdom of God

Matthew 22:1-14

This week we are presented with another beautiful parable describing our faith and the path to salvation. Taken at face value, this parable can be a little nerve wracking. The story begins with the murder of two different sets of a king’s servants by his intended banquet guests. Immediately after, the king sends his troops to burn their city, saying, “The feast was ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come.” This parable is eerily similar to the one we read last week about the landowner and his tenants, but tells us something even more poignant: we are all invited guests to the banquet of salvation, but we have a choice to make of whether or not we’ll go.

An Invitation to All

When reading this parable I was fascinated by the idea that the king invited as many people as he did, to the point of inviting anyone and everyone in the streets. There is a tendency in our hearts to distance ourselves from our King, God, when we run astray or do something displeasing to Him. We take it upon ourselves to strip ourselves of the invitation to the banquet of salvation based on the idea that we are not worthy to be at the banquet. However, notice here that this idea stems from our own minds, not that of the Lord. We tend to equate God’s reaction and judgement to that in which we receive here on earth: “How could God forgive me of this sin, if the person I sinned against can’t even?” How backwards our minds have been wired here on Earth if we have begun to think in this way. Truly God is divine and His ways greater than ours. We must realize that we are always invited to the banquet of salvation and that we can enter that banquet room right this moment if we so desire. We have been taught that entering the Kingdom of God comes when we die, but why can’t we go to the banquet beforehand? Obviously we can’t fully enter into it until the next life, but the Kingdom of God lives on well in today’s present world. We can look at the Kingdom of God in two ways. First - ever present and already able to be entered into in our lives. Second - something that will be possessed after death via passing the final judgement.

The idea that we can enter into the Kingdom of God now is a call to action. There is no excuse for complacency that we can make thinking that this invitation doesn’t apply to us. Rather - we are called to accept this invitation and live this life on earth as honored guests at the banquet.

The second idea that the Kingdom of God is something to be possessed after the final judgement is equally true. Likewise to the first idea though, this is not an excuse for complacency. Much like the initial invited guests who murdered the servants, we are unaware of when this invitation is to come. We can pray and hope that we do not receive this final invitation for many years to come, but we must stay alert and ready in case that invitation comes before we expect it.

Preparing for the Banquet

As previously stated, although we are always invited, we must prepare to enter the banquet. We see no better motivation for being properly prepared than how the king responds to the guest showing up in non-wedding attire.

‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

We wouldn’t go to a wedding in our work from home attire, likewise we cannot expect to enter into the Kingdom of God while complacent. The king goes on to say, “many are invited, but few are chosen.” If this does not motivate us to prepare by living our life in accord to God’s will then I don’t know what is. We know that we are invited, but by our life we can hope to be chosen. We can find confidence in the idea of being chosen when we attach to the initial idea that we can enter this banquet on earth and start to live in this way. There is no need to wait, we must act now.

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