Jesus has just cleansed the temple and proceeded to heal the blind and lame who came to Him. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, ”Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and couldn’t wait to confront Him the next morning, interrupt His teaching and demand to know by what authority He was doing these things! They seemed to be unaware that Jesus had cursed the fig tree on His way from Bethany to the temple, further illustrating what He would now teach about the blindness and hardness of heart of these religious leaders. Jesus tells three parables, engaging His listeners with a question, ”What do you think?” Read the parable of the Two Sons in Matthew 21:28-32. The first son did not initially agree to work in his father’s vineyard but later repented and went to work, showing the fruit of repentance which is doing the father’s will. The second son agreed to work, but he did not follow through with his commitment. This second son, like the religious leaders and the leafy fig tree, were alike in that they were deceptive in the appearance of fruitfulness.
The second parable was even more pointed in that Jesus asked His disapproving listeners what should happen to the wicked tenants of their landowner’s vineyard, who ended up killing the heir to steal his inheritance. They condemn themselves when they harshly reply that the wicked tenants should be destroyed and the vineyard given to others willing to bear fruit. Matthew 21:45 states that these men understood Jesus was speaking of them but instead of being willing to repent they reject Jesus and seek to arrest Him.
The last parable in this scene is of vital importance to everyone… not just Jewish religious leaders. In Matthew 22:1-14, we find a King (represented by God) preparing a marriage for His son. ( Jesus)
In researching the historical background of this setting I read an interesting insight… to be invited to the wedding of the King’s son was the greatest honor a citizen could have expected to receive. ”Save the date” , for sure! In a poor agrarian society the regular diet would have consisted of mostly grains. Meat was saved for special occasions. That the first recipients would have ignored this invitation would have raised a few eyebrows. Who in their right mind would refuse the wedding feast of a King? ( free meat!!!) Now came the shocking events to drop everyone’s jaw… the beatings and murder of the King’s servants who were bringing the second invitation alerting everyone that the feast was now prepared, the meat killed and all things were ready. Come!!! Added to this was the response of the King. Not only did he retaliate with furious retribution, but he extended his invitation to everyone else- all social strata both good and bad. Along with this invitation is the expectation that all would need to come to the feast dressed in the wedding garment provided by the King. Wearing this garment and agreeing to submit your will in wearing what you would like instead, shows the proper honor and respect for the King. Sadly, one guest arrived without preparing himself. He came in his own clothes. He was speechless when confronted by the King and was removed from the feast by the King’s servants. Just like this parable, the LORD has issued an invitation…”whosoever will may come”. This is without cost to us… but a great price was paid, the life and very blood of His dear Son . Jesus said, ” I am the way, the truth and the life, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME.” John 14:6
Dear beloved one, have you accepted God’s generous invitation…”Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 18:1 To ignore this gracious invitation invites God’s righteous judgement instead…Whoever is not found written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire ( Revelation 20:15)