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Decisions, decisions, decisions…the other day I RSVP’d for a wedding, and I was invited to choose my meal from these options: gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian and “I’ll eat anything.” The hosts are working hard to show hospitality to all of their guests. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They have to make decisions about what to wear, where to have the ceremony, who gets to speak, and who’s invited. I have to decide what to give them. Registry gift? Or the ever popular gift of cash?
The modern wedding is a stress creator, with people worrying about the right food, the setting, the guest list, the favors, and a long list of things. Apparently, in Jesus’ day, similar stresses apply. Jesus uses the setting of a wedding to say something about the realm of God, but things go terribly wrong for everyone in the parable. The guests make light of the invitation, mistreat the messengers, and the king has them killed. It’s all so over the top that we can see it’s an illustration, meant to teach. This first parable is followed by a second, where one guest hasn’t taken the time to prepare properly for this event, and is excluded from the banquet.
Read the scripture.
Read the Working Preacher commentary.
Matthew - Version - Luke - Luke - Guests
Matthew’s version of this parable is much starker than Luke’s (Luke 14.) The guests have choices about whether to attend, and they don’t take the invitation seriously. In Luke’s version, they all have good reasons for not coming, but not here in Matthew’s version. The host chooses to vent his rage, and answer their indifference with brutality. The parable is set in the first century days when the synagogue and the early church are parting ways, and, even understanding that, it’s painful to make sense of the violence on...
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