Throwing Punches and Painting Pictures Part 2
One of the central questions of Matthew’s gospel is, Who belongs to the true poeple of God?
Or, to put it another way, Who will enter the kingdom of God?
The three parables from 21:28-22:14 teach us three things about entering the kingdom of God:
- 1. It involves responding in faith to John’s message of repentance
- 2. It involves recognizing that Jesus is the one who is bringing God’s kingdom
- 3. And it involves living in a way consistent with His Kingdom.
All three of the parables in this section tell the sad story of how the leadership of Israel rejected Jesus and refused to enter the Kingdom. Instead, the tax collectors and the prostitutes, the new farmers, and other wedding guests are the ones who respond to Jesus as true disciples: in repentance and faith.
Our final story is a sobering and shocking story, not just for the first-century religious leaders. People can be attracted to churches for various reasons: it offers a place to socialize, opportunities to meet people in your stage of life, and organizational structures to help the needy. As a result, people whose hearts have never been transformed by Jesus can find themselves on the inside. In our final “parable punch,” Jesus shows that real heart transformation, evident in repentance, faith, and obedience, is the true “wedding garment” we all need.
In his mercy, he invites us to his celebration.
But we must come through the way he provided and wear the outfit he desires.