1Again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other servants, 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.’ 5But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1–14)
In Dr. Luther’s explanation to the Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, he writes, “God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.”
By means of God’s Word and Sacrament, God’s Kingdom comes among us as His blessed Word is received and believed. It is here, where God creates faith via His means (not ours), that God’s people gather and are to be certain of His Kingdom coming. It is also here where God’s people are certain that Christ is truly present.
God’s Kingdom, synonymous with Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven, does not only refer to the time when our Lord Jesus returns in all of His glory. God’s Kingdom also refers to the here and the now, present tense; not only the Word which is to come, but the Word that comes now, as St. Paul says, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
Now is not the time to delay, wait, or sluggishly ponder concerning the Lord’s Word and His Christ. Nor is it the time to make excuses concerning the God’s Kingdom here on earth where Word and Sacrament are freely given for the sake of God’s people.
All too often, people stay away from where God would have them be for the most insignificant of reasons. But there is no significant reason to keep away from God’s Holy Word, even that which condemns (The Law) and that which saves (The Gospel).
Some might not like the preacher or the preaching, but even this is no reason to abandon God’s Kingdom where God’s Word is rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15).
The calling of repentance goes out to the many. All is ready. The meal is prepared. Yet few do come, for they reject God’s Christ and His forgiveness, believing that they need it not.
Sadly, those who reject the preaching of God’s messengers (Called and ordained servants of the Word) also are rejecting Christ and His Word of forgiveness and eternal life (See Luke 10:16). Because the Jews rejected Christ, they received their due punishment and the Gospel was taken away from them.
Beware, lest the Gospel be taken from you! Do not give in to the popular notion that it does not matter from whom you hear the preached Word. Nor follow the examples of the invitees in the text, who for the love of the world and their own life refused the invitation of the King himself, condemning themselves to the punishment to come. Instead, heed the Word of the Lord. Believe His promises. Deny yourselves. Wear what the Lord gives, even Christ’s robe of righteousness, in which you are clothed through faith, for only in that are you acceptable among the guests in the King’s court. Amen.
Filed under: Confession & Absolution-The Office of the Keys, Justification & Sanctification-The Christian Faith & Good Works, Law & Gospel-Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, Salvation-Soteriology | Tagged: Faith, faithfulness, Hypocrisy, Hypocrite, Kingdom, salvation, Unbelief |