Proper 23 Series 'A'
Clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, We Partake of His Wedding Feast
By His cross and resurrection, the Lord has swallowed up death forever, and by His Gospel He “will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth” (Isaiah 25:8). Therefore, “let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:9). On the mountain of the Lord of hosts — in His Church on earth, as in the kingdom of heaven — He has made “for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine” (Isaiah 25:6). It is the royal “wedding feast” of the Son of God, “and everything is ready” (Matthew 22:1, 4). Thus, His servants are sent into the highways and byways to invite and gather as many as they find, “both good and bad,” to fill the wedding hall with guests (Matthew 22:8–10). In Holy Baptism, He clothes them all in the “wedding garment” of His own perfect righteousness (Matthew 22:11). Therefore, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,” and “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4–6).
Collect for Proper 23 - Almighty God, You invite us to trust in You for our salvation. Deal with us not in the severity of Your judgment but by the greatness of Your mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” (Matthew 22:2)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege
A foundational institution of God is marriage. Within marriage the institution of the Church is also subsumed. Luther identified Adam as the first pastor, to whom was given the word of law and gospel to share, and Eve was the first congregation given to hear that Word of God. Note also that the first bride was built from the side of Adam, and now the Church through the water and blood of the pierced side of the New Adam is built. In his gospel, John records the same Greek word for Christ’s pierced side as that used in the LXX for the side of Adam. In his first epistle John then references this by writing, This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood [5:6]. Christ came to each of us by the water and the blood in our Baptism, creating His bride, the Church.
In Sunday’s Gospel Jesus tells a parable about the marriage feast for the king’s son. Interestingly in His previous parable Jesus speaks of the vineyard owner’s son being cast out of the vineyard and killed. Indeed, this is the same son! By the death of God’s Son, salvation is procured for His bride, the Church. But how can this bride rejoice when her husband has died? She rejoices because to secure her eternal salvation He rises from the dead. Now the feast of salvation is prepared, and those attending this wedding feast can be recognized as individual members of the Church.
Why a feast? God has always linked literal food both to communion with Him and to godly celebration. In the Garden of Eden there was the Tree of Life, from which the food of life and certainly godly rejoicing were linked. Yes, it was literal food, but also sacramental food in that it conveyed something beyond earthly nutrition. Uniquely the Old Testament peace offering sacrifice was always eaten in a celebrative communion feast. In connection with the peace offerings offered at the Tabernacle, God would direct, …you and your households shall eat and rejoice (Dt 12:7). Thus when a Jewish home had a celebration they would (whenever possible) “invite God” by dining on a peace offering. Appropriately the meat of a Jewish wedding feast, especially for those in proximity to the Jewish Temple, would have been from a peace offering.
The wedding feast has already begun. Though we find in the visible church hypocrites who fail to trust in Christ’s robe of righteousness, nonetheless we who have been made clean by the water and blood of Christ are privileged to join in Christ’s wedding feast every time we gather to eat of His body and blood. Here we eat literal food (bread and wine), but consistent with God’s working through the centuries we partake of sacramental food, the food of forgiveness and immortality! We eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, that tree being the cross and that fruit being Christ himself. We eat of the ultimate peace offering, celebrating peace with God via communion in the flesh and blood of Jesus. Though we eat the Wedding Feast with an attitude of repentance, we also appropriately eat with joyful celebration. No wonder we call it “celebrating” the Lord’s Supper, and the man who leads it is called the “celebrant”.
Finally we who are members of Christ’s body, His bride, will get to celebrate the marriage feast when there will be no more sin and no more monstrous results of sin. In the final book of Holy Writ we not only encounter the reestablished right to eat of the Tree of Life, but we encounter the eternal marriage feast: Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. She was given clothing of fine linen, bright and pure…Then the angel told me to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” [19:7-9].Yes, eat in this life of the marriage supper of the Lamb, the marriage feast of the New Adam; then eat and celebrate the wedding feast most wondrously into eternity.
Καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν εἶπεν [a]ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λέγων•
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,
Ὡμοιώθη ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ βασιλεῖ, ὅστις ἐποίησεν γάμους τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ.
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,
Vv.1-2-Jesus again spoke parables to them...chief Priests, Scribes, Pharisees...still addressing the question "by whose authority?" The Father again is the subject.
-The kingdom is compared to a man king who prepared a wedding. God is an action...always acting to save..the reign of God, not political action. The Kingdom is wherever Jesus is present.
καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους εἰς τοὺς γάμους, καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν.
and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.
Vs. 3 - Sent his slaves to the invitees and they were unwilling to come...same lament as Jesus over the city of Jerusalem a chapter later. This would be a once in a lifetime event. Surprising that they would not come. The invitation would have come to the head of the household so the entire family would have been denied.
Δούλους “bond-servants” see also verses 4, 6, 8, 10
πάλιν ἀπέστειλεν ἄλλους δούλους λέγων• Εἴπατε τοῖς κεκλημένοις• Ἰδοὺ τὸ ἄριστόν μου [b]ἡτοίμακα, οἱ ταῦροί μου καὶ τὰ σιτιστὰ τεθυμένα, καὶ πάντα ἕτοιμα• δεῦτε εἰς τοὺς γάμους.
Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’
V.4 - Tell the invited all is ready, I have prepared my suffer. The oxen and calves have been slaughtered. The slaves preach the menu…the feast is upon the sacrifice. τεθυμένα
-The Father's first word "you may eat." His last word "all is ready."
οἱ δὲ ἀμελήσαντες ἀπῆλθον, [c]ὃς μὲν εἰς τὸν ἴδιον ἀγρόν, [d]ὃς δὲ [e]ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμπορίαν αὐτοῦ•
But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,
V.5- But not caring they departed. One to a field, another to his shop. One slept in, another had soccer practice.
οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ κρατήσαντες τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ ὕβρισαν καὶ ἀπέκτειναν.
while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
V.6- Now the servants seized the slaves and insulted treated them disgracefully and killed the rest. Another absurd response. No fence sitting with Jesus - either you love Him or hate Him. You will go to the feast or kill the servants.
[f]ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς ὠργίσθη, καὶ πέμψας τὰ στρατεύματα αὐτοῦ ἀπώλεσεν τοὺς φονεῖς ἐκείνους καὶ τὴν πόλιν αὐτῶν ἐνέπρησεν.
The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
V.7- But The King was enraged, suffered wrath, and sent his servants to kill and burn their city. The eschatological is now.
τότε λέγει τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ• Ὁ μὲν γάμος ἕτοιμός ἐστιν, οἱ δὲ κεκλημένοι οὐκ ἦσαν ἄξιοι•
Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy
V.8- Then he said to his slaves the feast is ready. The rejection made them unworthy.
πορεύεσθε οὖν ἐπὶ τὰς διεξόδους τῶν ὁδῶν, καὶ ὅσους [g]ἐὰν εὕρητε καλέσατε εἰς τοὺς γάμους.
Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’
V.9- Be going to the through roads, off ramps, and invite call whomever you find to the feast. This was the prostitutes and thieves who were invited.
καὶ ἐξελθόντες οἱ δοῦλοι ἐκεῖνοι εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς συνήγαγον πάντας [h]οὓς εὗρον, πονηρούς τε καὶ ἀγαθούς• καὶ ἐπλήσθη ὁ [i]γάμος ἀνακειμένων.
And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
V.10- The slaves went to roads they synagogue all they could find to good and the evil…with recliners.
εἰσελθὼν δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς θεάσασθαι τοὺς ἀνακειμένους εἶδεν ἐκεῖ ἄνθρωπον οὐκ ἐνδεδυμένον ἔνδυμα γάμου•
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment.
V.11- Found a man not clothed with the wedding garment. All were given a garment. (Baptism) He had thrown it off.
καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ• Ἑταῖρε, πῶς εἰσῆλθες ὧδε μὴ ἔχων ἔνδυμα γάμου; ὁ δὲ ἐφιμώθη.
And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
V.12- Said to him Ἑταῖρε "comrade" "friend" (same word spoken to Judas) how have you come not wearing a garment? He was muzzled ἐφιμώθη. This is straight up law... The “where are you?” spoken to Adam in the garden. He has thrown God off. Christ is a rejectable God.
τότε [j]ὁ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τοῖς διακόνοις• Δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας [k]ἐκβάλετε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον• ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.
Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοὶ ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί.
For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Vv.13-14- Then the king said to the deacons thrown him into the darkness the outer kind. Where there is anguish, the gnashing of teeth. Many called few elected.
English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software