Jesus’ parable of a king inviting people to a wedding feast teaches us the importance of preparing our lives for the Second Coming.
Bibles, paper, pencils, cameras
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Can you remember a time from your childhood when you were getting dressed to go somewhere (to church, to a wedding, or to get your picture taken at school), and one of your parents noticed you weren’t quite ready? Maybe you hadn’t combed your hair or were wearing things that didn’t match. What did they say to you and what was your response?
- Make three columns on a piece of paper. In the first column, draw a quick sketch of an 8-year-old child who is ready for church. In the second column, write “Ready on the Outside” and list things that would help him or her be ready (clothes clean and ironed, shoes polished, teeth brushed, Bible in hand, etc.). In the third column, write “Ready on the Inside” and note what would help the child to prepare his or her heart for worship.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- As we prepare for the Second Coming, are we preparing our bodies and behaviors or is the transformation occurring in our hearts and minds? Explain your answer.
- Thought Questions
Matthew 22 focuses on Jesus’ parable of a wedding banquet. First, let’s look at events leading up to this parable. Briefly scan over each section of Matthew 21 and ask, “What is the common theme in this chapter?”
- The triumphal entry
- The withered fig tree
- Jesus’ authority questioned
- The parable of two sons
- The parable of the tenants
Let’s look more carefully at the parable of the wedding banquet. Read Matthew 22:1-4. What does this parable mean? Look at the different characters in the story and try to determine who they represent.
- The king
- The king’s son
- Invited guests
- Guests who refused to attend
Now read Matthew 22:5-10. The king sent more servants to plead with the people to come to the feast. As you read these verses, ask, “What does this mean? How does this relate to the Jewish nation through the centuries up to the time of Christ? How does this relate to us today?”
- “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business…”
- “The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them…”
- “The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed these murderers…”
- “Go to the street corners and invite anyone you can find…”
- “So the servants…gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests…”
The parable concludes in Matthew 22:11-14 with a strange and interesting twist. What do you think Jesus wanted people to learn from the man who was not wearing wedding clothes?
- The king looked over the guests, meaning there will be an investigative judgment before Christ’s Second Coming.
- One man was not wearing a wedding garment; God provides a garment for this event.
- “‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless.” We have no excuse.
- The king had this man thrown outside; this teaches us that there will be consequences at the judgment.
- “Many are invited, but few are chosen.” God’s invitation is open to all, but not everyone will be ready.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to the larger group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: A woman visits your class and hears the phrase, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” She then says, “I believe some people are just naturally more inclined to be spiritual. I am not. I just don’t think I am chosen by God.” How would you respond to her statements?
- Option 2: Matthew 22:11 is the turning point in Jesus’ story. Using members of your group, create a visual picture of this scene, a still-life Bible “snapshot” that catches the emotion of the moment. Use whatever props you can find and take pictures of what you’ve created.
- Option 3: You’ve befriended the attendant at your local gas station. One day the attendant says, “I know the end of the world is coming, but I’m not ready. I don’t even know how to be ready! What should I do?” Craft a carefully-written response to this cry for help; don’t make it too short or overly simplistic. Use the parable from today’s lesson to explain how to be ready.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Take a few moments to quietly reflect on this question: “Am I truly ready for Christ’s coming, or am I simply deceived like the man in this parable? Is God convicting me of any specific thing I need to do to be ready?”
- Instead of praying together as a group, pray quietly alone. Spend time praying for God’s sweet spirit to soften your heart so that you may come closer to your Savior.