Explore the Bible Study: Offered to All?

4:40 PM

Imagine receiving a wedding invitation and responding with conditions such as, I'll come if you allow me to dress a certain way; I'll come if I don't have anything else to do; or, I'll come if I like the menu you provide. Or, imagine trying to crash a wedding reception and being called out about it by the father of the bride in front of everyone during the reception. All these scenarios sound far-fetched but are illustrated in LifeWay's Explore the Bible study: Offered to All. 

We all know that, placing conditions on a wedding invitation acceptance is not "kosher." But, isn't this the way people respond to Jesus' invitation for salvation? They say, I'll come based upon certain circumstances or conditions? In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus uses a parable involving an invitation to a wedding banquet to teach us more about Himself and what is required to follow Him.

Study Summary
  1. God will hold all people accountable for their response to His invitation to follow Jesus.
  2. His invitation is offered to all people.
  3. Only those who come to God on His terms, placing their trust in Jesus alone, will escape eternal wrath.
  4. As believers, it is our responsibility to invite people to the wedding!
Background Study Helps

Kingdom of Heaven
He begins by stating that it illustrates the kingdom of heaven. Because most Jews believed that the kingdom of heaven was reserved exclusively for them, and possibly a few Gentile proselytes, the audience in the Temple immediately knew that what Jesus was going to say closely applied to them.

Although they had many perverted ideas about the kingdom of heaven, because the term heaven was so often used as a substitute for the covenant name of God (Yahweh, or Jehovah), most Jews would have understood that it was synonymous with the kingdom of God and represented the realm of God's sovereign rule. There are past, present, and future as well as temporal and eternal aspects of the kingdom, but it is not restricted to any era or period of redemptive history. It is the continuing, ongoing sphere of God's rule by grace.

In a narrower sense, the phrase is also used in Scripture to refer to God's dominion of redemption, His divine program of gracious salvation. As Jesus uses the phrase here, it specifically represents the spiritual community of God's redeemed people, those who are under His lordship in a personal and unique way because of their trust in His Son.
-MacArthur New Testament Commentary - Matthew

Wedding Feast
In the ancient Near East, a wedding feast was inseparable from the wedding itself, which involved a week-long series of meals and festivities and was the highlight of all social life. For a royal wedding such as the one Jesus mentions here, the celebration often lasted for several weeks. Guests were invited to stay at the house of the groom's parents for the entire occasion, and the father would make as elaborate provisions as he could afford. A royal wedding, of course, would be held in the palace, and a king would be able to afford whatever he desired.

A wedding feast that a king prepared for his son would be a feast of all feasts, and Jesus was therefore picturing the most elaborate celebration imaginable. The fact that it was a wedding celebration was incidental to the purpose of the parable, the only mention of the groom being that of identifying him as the king's son. No mention at all is made of the bride or of any other aspect of a wedding.

The point is that because the feast represents the greatest festivity imaginable, given by the greatest monarch imaginable, for the most-honored guests imaginable, a royal wedding feast was chosen as the illustration of the ultimate celebration.

When all the preparations were complete, the king sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast. The fact that they had been invited indicates that the guests were invited earlier and already knew they were expected to attend the wedding. To be a pre-invited guest to the king's wedding was among the highest honors possible, and no doubt those who had received invitations were boasting to their neighbors and friends. It is therefore inconceivable that, when the actual call came to attend, they were unwilling to come.

-MacArthur New Testament Commentary - Matthew

Cross Reference Passages
  • Matthew 22:12 - Another instance where Jesus refers to others as friend: Matthew 26:50 and Matthew 20:13
  • Matthew 22:11-12 - Passages to help expand the understanding of these verses: Zechariah 3:1-6; Isaiah 61:10; Romans 13:14
Teaching Ideas

Video for beginning the discussion


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