Sketched VIII Day 15 Mephibosheth: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Who were invited first and why were they not worthy? (verse 8)

2) Why were the servants instructed to go to the exit roads of the city to gather people? (verse 9)

3) What does the wedding banquet depict? (verse 10)

Matthew 22:8-10

“Then he told his servants, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go then to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ 10 So those servants went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests.

Original Intent

1) Who were invited first and why were they not worthy? (verse 8)
To grasp the full meaning of verses 8-10 let’s take a deeper look into the culture of the time. In keeping with normal Jewish custom, when an event such as a great festival of some kind was arranged, such as a wedding feast, invitations were sent to the guests without giving a specific arrival time. When the feast was ready, servants were then sent out with a final summons inviting guests to come. (William Barclay) In this parable it was a King who was throwing a wedding feast for his son. The meal was prepared, the initial invitation had been sent, and now, everything was ready. Finally, the servants went out with summons to come, but they were not received well by the invited friends and guests of the King. The invitation to come to the wedding was ignored or disregarded and the once-honored-guests returned to their previous activity whether it was business, work, or home. To compound matters, some of the invited guests mistreated the king’s servants, even killing some. (Matthew 22:5-7) Obviously, this enraged the king! This was a “slap in the face” embarrassment, especially to a figure of great prominence in the community like the king and his family. The king retaliated by sending his troops to kill the murderers of his servants and burn down their city. (Matthew 22:6-7) Because of their refusal, and arrogant disregard to be honored by the King’s kind invitation, they were found unworthy to be wedding guests.

2) Why were the servants instructed to go to the exit roads of the city to gather people? (verse 9)
Theologian, RT France says, “The invited guests who, when the time came and refused to come to the wedding feast. This is descriptive of the Jews. Ages ago they had been invited by God to be His chosen people; yet when God’s son came into the world they contemptuously refused.” Therefore, in keeping with the local culture at the time, the king needed to find guests to attend the prepared wedding feast. So, he opened wide the invitation to all and sent his servants out to bring in everyone they found, “both good and evil.” (verse 8) While they first invitees were Jews, the Gentiles, often referred to as “sinners”, would never have expected such a wonderful invitation. Those who ignored the invitation and returned to “business as usual” had been called and invited, but rejected the gift. Now, in the telling of this parable, Jesus was making it clear that all people, regardless of their location, position, race, gender, or heritage were invited to partake in the sacred and holy relationship of dining with the King of Kings, God Himself. This was unfathomable to Matthew’s original audience. In fact, it was disgusting to them. To dine with Gentile sinners, much more so, share “their” rightful (supposedly in their minds) inheritance of relationship with Yahweh (God) was putrid and repulsive in the most offensive way. But not to Christ. He lavishly extended the invitation to all.

3) What does the wedding banquet depict? (verse 10)
The wedding banquet was one of the most joyous occasions in Jewish life and could last up to a week.  In His parable, Jesus is comparing what was commonly experienced by His audience, a wedding banquet, to the delightfully rich and lavish gift of eternal life in Heaven where a restored relationship with God is enjoyed forever. (Matthew 22:2) In Jesus’ story, many had been invited, but many had also refused. Even the king’s servants who brought the joyous message were mistreated and even killed. (Matthew 22:6) In the story, the King is God the Father, and the honored son at the banquet is Jesus Christ, who “came to His own, but His own did not receive Him”. (John 1:11) If only the first recipients of the invitation had repented and joined the feast! If Jews had accepted the way of Christ, recognized Him as the Promised Messiah, had walked in love, humility, and sacrifice in following Him, they would have found, freely given to them, the fullness of life they had been striving so hard to earn. Israel held in their hands the invitation to the kingdom of God, but when the time came for the kingdom to appear (Matthew 3:1), they refused to believe. Many prophets, including John the Baptist, were murdered for proclaiming the King’s invitation. (Matthew 14:10) God’s righteous judgement will come upon those who reject His offer of salvation because they have already earned it through their sinful nature. No one can earn favor with God by being obedient and working hard to be “good enough”. Today, all are presented with the invitation to accept salvation through Jesus, will we reject or receive Him?

Everyday Application

1) Who were invited first and why were they not worthy? (verse 8)
It’s important to remember that Matthew wrote his gospel record to a Jewish audience. He was writing down his experiences with Jesus so Jews would come to know Him as the true Promised Messiah. The guests who were first invited to the feast were Jews as God’s chosen people. They had been freed from slavery in Egypt, they had entered into covenant relationship with God at Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments and other laws. They had been given the Promised Land. They had been shepherded by King David. Though they were full of sinful rebellion, God sent them prophet after prophet to call them back to repentance and remind them that one day, the Promised Messiah would come in the flesh to them. These prophets were like the messengers for the first invitation in Jesus’ parable. When Jesus did come, when the Bridegroom came in the flesh to His beloved people, however, the Jews largely rejected Him. They persecuted Him, even to the point of crucifying Him. Jesus told this parable, and Matthew repeated it, as a strong warning call to the Jews. They had received the first invitation, they should not reject it and go on with their lives. They would miss out on the Messiah! The parable goes on to invite anyone and everyone, total strangers, both good and bad. This refers to the gospel being taken to the Gentiles, or non-Jews. As Paul and Barnabas preached to the Jews in Acts 13:46, “…Since you (Jews) reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles.” Today, we are to take the gospel to all we meet. We are the bearers of the second invitation to the wedding feast! This parable can also serve as a reminder that the things which make men deaf and distracted to the invitation of Christ are not always necessarily bad things in themselves. In Jesus’ story, one potential guest went to his home, the other went to his business. (verses 4-5) They did not go off on wild, immoral adventures. They went about excellent tasks of their daily living. Sadly, it is very easy for us to be so busy with the things of the present, we forget the things of eternity. To be so preoccupied, we close our ears to hear the “still small voice” of Christ and His invitation of salvation. (1 Kings 19:11-13)

2) Why were the servants instructed to go to the exit roads of the city to gather people? (verse 9)
God’s invitation is an invitation of grace. Those who were gathered in from the “exit roads of the city” had no claim on the king at all. These folks could never, by any stretch of the imagination, have expected an invitation to the wedding feast, let alone deserve it. It came to them from nothing other than the wide armed, open hearted generous hospitality of the king. Kind grace offered the invitation; grace gathered them in with a strong, welcoming embrace. So it is with the gospel extended to each of us! A relationship with the God of the Universe cannot be deserved and we should not expect His holiness to look upon us, but He does! In the parable, even the wedding garments of those invited, and ultimately chosen, also carries significance for us who believe in Jesus. In Revelation 7:9, those who have trusted Jesus for salvation are robed in white. Having been washed, and made pure, in the sacrificial blood of Jesus, the holy Lamb of God, every believer now wears a white robe of Christ’s righteousness. (Revelation 7:14) We trust in God’s righteousness NOT our own. (Philippians 3:9) In Jesus’ story, the king wanted his wedding hall full of guests wearing white wedding clothes, but there was one who wasn’t dressed for the occasion. This wasn’t poor taste in fashion, rather this man represented all who chose to attempt to earn God’s favor by their own works instead of relying on God’s power, generosity, and righteousness. This man was cast into the distant darkness, eternally separated from God where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth and eternal fire. (Matthew 22:13, Matthew 13:41-42) The sovereign, generous love of God does not cancel our responsibility to respond to God’s grand invitation to be rescued from an eternity apart from Him! God has given us grace as His followers, so we are to extend grace to all, especially regarding preaching and teaching this glorious gospel with everyone! In Jesus’ parable, those waiting for the wedding feast needed to first hear and receive the invitation. We are carriers of this invitation!

3) What does the wedding banquet depict? (verse 10)
Many were invited to the wedding feast, but few were chosen because few accepted the gracious invitation. The man without proper wedding attire should cause each of us to carefully consider whether our relationship with Jesus is genuine or made up of our own façade of self-reliance. The man felt he should be present at the feast. He assumed he had a right to be there, but in the end, he was cast out because his “robe of righteousness” wasn’t genuine, it was fabricated of his own abilities. This wearer of faux righteousness is intended to firmly remind us that only through faith in Jesus can anyone be saved. (Romans 10:9-11) Not by our own works. (Ephesians 2:9) Those who have a rightful place at the wedding feast have come to fully embrace the reality that they have no righteousness on their own; they are each wretched sinners who have accepted Christ’s righteous work on their behalf as payment for their sins. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, salvation is open to all regardless of race, nationality, gender, or social standing, but all must realize they are each sinners before a holy God with no hope of attaining His perfect standard of righteousness. If we dare pretend we can earn favor with God by our own good works, we will only earn our own eternal damnation to whom Christ will say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you evil lawbreakers!” (Matthew 7:23) Where are you? Have you heard of the free gift of salvation, that wonderful good news of Jesus Christ? This is the invitation! Are you ready to admit you are a sinner and you can do nothing on your own to earn holiness? Do you see yourself in need of repentance and forgiveness? Will you be committed to doing the will of the Lord, and following Him whole-heartedly? Will you be ready in season and out of season to share the good news of salvation wherever you are within the city walls or at the very furthest exit road from the city? Friends, Jesus’ story poignantly reminds us Heaven and Hell are very REAL. The return of Jesus is imminent! Today, tomorrow, soon! Are you ready?

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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