For many are invited, but few are chosen.
Jesus shows in this parable (Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Matthew 22:1-14) the sorts of people who will get into heaven.
Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.”
God invited the pharisees, but they weren’t willing to listen. So he invited everyone. But once invited, there are certain responsibilities. In the banquet, the one who didn’t put on the wedding clothes got the boot. Likewise, when we become followers of Jesus, we need to put on the clothes of Christ.
You’ve been invited to Christ’s banquet… What are you going to wear?
He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.
Matthew 21:44 (NIV)
I’d never heard this verse before, but it really stood out today for me. Just before this, Jesus has quoted Psalm 118:22-23 and told the parable of the tenants. It’s obvious in the parable that the land owner is God, and the son is Jesus. Likewise the stone that the builders rejected is Jesus. He has become the cornerstone that is marvellous in our eyes.
The contrast in verse 44 stood out to me. “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces” When you fall at the foot of the cross, when you come to Jesus, he will break you into pieces. He will break down the wall that we have constructed, and he will start to work in our lives through the broken pieces.
“But he on whom it falls will be crushed.” Jesus is warning the chief priests and the Pharisees that the only way to God is through him. Whoever doesn’t come to God through Jesus will be crushed by the cornerstone when Judgement comes.
So what do we do by knowing this? We go to the cross, allow ourselves to be broken and allow Jesus to build our lives into one that will produce fruit for the kingdom of heaven.
On Sunday, my officer preached on a passage from Matthew. It was the passage where Peter asks how many times he should forgive someone who sins against him. While the sermon was on forgiveness, there was one insight that really got me thinking in a way I hadn’t thought about it before.
When the master, having already forgiven the servant around 150,000 years wages of debt, found out about the servant not forgiving another servant three months wages, he was furious and threw the man in jail until he could pay back his debt. Jesus says that this is how people who don’t forgive will be treated by God.
It was just a passing reference, but the way my officer explained this made a light click on in my brain. When we have been forgiven and we don’t then forgive we are like the servant. in the same way, if we are a Christian, but decide not to give up our old ways, we are just like the servant who did not forgive.
It’s tempting to live a life of sin, knowing that Jesus will forgive, but this passage seems to say that if you know about salvation but do nothing about it, you are just as bad as someone who never knew. Often is is 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that is used to say that we should keep our lives blameless until Christ returns. However, that seems to be based upon a misinterpretation. Instead, I believe it should be this passage – which some may say holds more weight due to coming from the words of Jesus – should be our encouragement to live loving and blameless lives.