The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who………..

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Mt 22:1-14

 In this talk on the Kingdom of Heaven, it is not so much about the kingdom as it is about the King and his guests. Within the story  is a none to subtle chastisement of the religious authorities of the day. Jesus frequently uses the comparison of heaven to a great banquet. Here he has his servants invite guests, yet the guests shrug at the invitation, mistreated the servants and had them killed.Perhaps the leadership was leading their people to ruin rather than to a feast?It can be a commentary on ancient religious leaders(he was talking to the chief priest), but don’t we also bear some responsibility? The story gives no indication as to why these guests did not go.Perhaps they did not know the richness of the feast? Perhaps they did not know the generosity of the king? Perhaps the leaders were doing a poor job as administrators to the king? Most likely though is that they viewed their entry to the feast as their right, and their choosing.They had witnessed the kings splendor and generosity in the past, and maybe took for granted their welcome?                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the second group the servants go throughout the region gathering everyone they could find to join in the feast. Here they do come, but one is kicked out for not wearing a wedding garment.In ancient times the king (or the head of the celebration) had special garments, long white robes,  made for their most esteemed guests. Not to wear the garment was the highest form of disrespect and it was pure contempt. The man was punished accordingly.Perhaps these accepted the invitation only for their gain, and disregarded their host?Perhaps they noted the kings generosity, but underestimated his authority?                                                                                                                                                                     So what is the Kingdom of heaven like? It seems one group of people were invited to this feast, this kingdom first.They would be Gods chosen people, those that Moses lead out of Egypt into the promised land. Jesus’s commentary is that the religious leaders of the day (the chief priests  & elders) were doing a poor job of preparing their people for this kingdom and their misfortunes in a large part were evidence of their misguidance. It was the Israelites that had that special covenant with YHWH,they were the first to be invited to the feast.The invitation though does not guarantee acceptance as evidenced by the second group, they too had the invitation but lacked the requirements. If the first group took for granted their invitation and missed out due to arrogance, the second group suffered out of ignorance. Those who gain entry into the kingdom  do so out of a knowledgeable respect for the king. Though the kingdom may be likened to a great feast and the feast is open to many, but to share in that feast requires preparation to enter it. Entry is not a birth-right, but a privilege available to many : and only those who seek it out , and learn its rules,and prepare for it ,  enjoy  its bounty.
 

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