LESSON 13 - THE LAST INVITATION (MATTHEW 22:1-14)
Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All Scripture references are to
the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard.
INTRODUCTION: This week our study is the parable of the wedding
feast in Matthew 22. It is quite similar to the parable found in
Luke 14. Let's get into it!
I. THE INVITATION
A. Read Matthew 22:1-6. Ever get an invitation to stay free at
a timeshare? Did you accept? It Is Written has an apparently
very successful, and on the surface surprising, fundraising
technique. They send me an invitation to stay at one of the
more expensive hotels in the area over the weekend for free!
They offer to feed me for free, and entertain me with speakers
-- all for free!
They also send me several invitations and reminders to attend
How many times does the king invite the guests to his wedding?
(Three times in total. Verse 3 reveals two times. "Those who
HAD BEEN invited" have servants make a personal request for
them to attend when the banquet is prepared. So it appears
that they previously got an invitation, and the servants show
up to tell them everything is ready. Then v.4 shows a new
group of servants make a third request saying the food is
ready, get over here!)
B. What is the reaction of those who are invited? (They do not
1. Why don't they come? Do those who are described in vv.
3, 5 and 6 have the same reasons for not coming? (It
seems that there are at least three different attitudes.
Verse 3 speaks of those who "refused to come." Verse 5
speaks of those who were not paying attention because of
their work. Verse 6 reveals that "the rest" are so
hostile they abuse and kill the servants carrying the
a. If you were the king, which type of response
would you prefer? Why? (I would prefer those who
refused because they didn't like me or didn't want
to spend time with me over those who thought I was
so unimportant that they might as well go hoe
weeds. The worst are those that are so hostile and
so contemptuous of my power that they kill my
workers. They are not content with refusing my
invitation, they want me to know that they think I
will not (or cannot) do anything to them for
destroying my property.)
C. Remember that we started out with me asking you about
timeshares? If you have refused such an invitation, tell me
why you refused. The It Is Written weekends sound like
something I would enjoy. However, I know they are not in the
business of giving out free weekends, and I have not gone
because of the "cost" of the "free" weekend. (However, they
continue to faithfully ask me to come.)
1. Is our reaction to these invitations the same as the
reaction of some of the invited guests in the parable?
(Yes. Some (v.5) are attending to other matters.)
a. Does my modern parallel do justice to the nature
of the invitation? Would you consider an
invitation to a timeshare to be the equivalent of
being invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding? (It
really is "the event" to attend and an insult to
refuse to come.)
2. How do you explain the reaction of those who killed
and abused the servants? (They were not preoccupied. They
must have hated the king or hated hearing the invitation
which would take them from their work.)
a. Under what circumstances would you hate to hear
an invitation so much that you would want to kill
to stop hearing it? (Seems impossible except in the
context of a guilty conscience. You cannot "reason"
your way out, so violence is your only recourse.)
D. Read v.7. Seem fair enough?
E. I want to stop here a minute before we go on and remind you
this is a parable. Who do these people represent? Let's go
through the list:
1. King? (= God)
2. Wedding banquet? (= Kingdom of heaven)
3. Servants? (= Servants of God)
4. Invitees? (= Those who reject the gospel invitation.)
5. What do the murders and the destruction of the murderers
and the burning of the city represent? (We can see now
that this is an astonishing prophecy. John the Baptist,
Jesus and many of His disciples were killed giving the
invitation. Their message originally was to God's favored
people, the Jewish nation (Acts 13:46). In 70 AD,
Jerusalem was burned.)
a. Friends, Jesus says the King "was enraged." Was
God angry at the rejection and murder of His Son?
How do you square this with the picture of a loving
God? Why would Jesus paint His Father in such a
way? (I do not see any way to sugar-coat this.)
b. Are we murders too? Did Jesus die because of our
sins? (Yes. 1 Corinthians 15:3 "Christ died for our
(1) Would the King be justified in killing us?
(Romans 5:8-11. Christ's death reconciled us
to the Father.)
(a) How do you explain that the same act
both enraged the King and reconciled us
to the King? (It depends upon which
"side" of the act you are on. If you are
killing the Son because you reject Him,
you are on the "rage" side of the act.
If you realize what your sins have done
to the Son, and that your sins merit your
death, and gratefully accept his death in
your place, then you are reconciled to
II. THE NEW INVITATION TO THE NEW INVITEES
A. Let's read on. Matthew 22:8-14.
B. Verse 9 says invite "anyone you find." Is there anyone who
is not eligible to go to heaven? Do you have to be
1. What is significant about the fact that the servants
were looking "in the streets" for invitees? (These were
not necessarily property owners. The invitation now went
out to a group that was not segregated by social status.
They were all "in the street.")
2. How can "good and bad" (v.10) be "gathered?"
C. Verse 11 tells us that the King cast a critical eye over
his guests. He found one that was not acceptable. What made
him unacceptable? (No wedding garment.)
1. If you were the King, what factors might have made a
guest unacceptable to you? (How about the fact that they
came from the "street" and included the "bad?" My bet is
that I would have found most of these guests
2. Let's look at the practical side of this. Do you think
these people from the streets were wearing wedding
garments when they were out shopping or whatever? (Of
a. So where did they get their wedding garment?
(They could only have gotten them from the King. He
must have been giving them out.)
3. When the King confronts the man without a wedding
garment, v. 12 tells us he was "speechless." Why do you
think he was speechless? Was he surprised? (No. He was
without excuse. They were, after all, invited for free
when they did not "deserve" to come and they were given
the proper garments for free.)
a. Put yourself in the place of the man without a
garment. What could possibly motivate him not to
put on the garment? (He must have thought that the
clothes he had were just fine. I can imagine that
he happens to have his best clothes on (certainly
better than the guy who was going to the supermarket)
and he does not need a garment that looks like just
like everyone else. He thinks he looks good just as
(1) What a spiritual error to think we are
fine just as we are!
4. This wedding garment is obviously incredibly
important. What is it?
D. Explain to me how "bad" street people are acceptable if
they have on the free wedding garment? (The Greek word for
"bad" is "poneros" and it means bad! Thayer says, "in an
ethical sense: evil wicked, bad. (The same word is translated
"evil" in Matthew 13:38 in the parable of the wheat and tares.
"The weeds are the sons of the evil one.")
1. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the weeds
are "pulled up and burned." (Matthew 13:40)
2. How do you explain this apparent contradiction between
these two kingdom parables? (The difference is the
3. What does this say for the "perfection people" --
those who say we have to be perfect (not have any
cherished sin) to go to heaven? Can that position survive
4. If the bad can get in (and the "perfection people" are
wrong) how do you explain v. 14: "Many are invited, but
few are chosen?" The whole place was invited, and all
were chosen, except for this one bloke! What is the
meaning of this? (First, many more than those who were
there were invited. However, the fate of the person turns
on whether they have a wedding garment. Those "chosen"
ones are few.)
5. Turn with me to Revelation 19:6-9. Whoa! This is the
fulfillment of the prophetic part of this parable, right?
What about the description of the wedding garment? The
NIV says "Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the
saints." (Same NKJV and several others) The KJV says
"fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (Thayer,
Vines and other authorities suggest the underlying greek
word (dikaioomata) can refer to "deeds" or "what has been
deemed right ... [by] force of law." (Thayer) Romans 4
and 5:16-18 plainly tell us that righteousness comes by
faith and "covers" our sins. (Rom. 4:7)
6. Praise God for His invitation and His wedding garment.
Make sure you accept both!
III. NEXT WEEK: New Quarter! Get new quarterlies. "Creator and
Healer." I wish we were studying a book and not going into a
"proof text" study.