Joke of the week
About this time of year many magazines list all the notable people who died that year. WORLD Magazine does this under the heading, “Man knows not his time.” These two jokes take up that theme.
At the doctor’s office, Tom was getting a check up. “I have good news and bad news,” says the doctor. “The good news is you have 24 hours left to live.” Tom replies, “That’s the good news?!” Then the doctor says, “The bad news is I should have told you that yesterday.”
A man hasn’t been feeling well, so he goes to his doctor for a complete checkup. Afterward, the doctor comes out with the results. “I’m afraid I have some very bad news,” the doctor says. “You’re dying, and you don’t have much time left.” “Oh, that’s terrible!” says the man. “How long have I got?” “Ten,” the doctor says sadly. “Ten?” the man asks. “Ten what? Months? Weeks? What?!” “Nine…”
Advent and Winter
John Milton, the English poet, accepted the common view that Jesus Christ was born December 25, in winter. A stanza from his poem, On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, relates the birth of our Lord to the winter season. Whether or not Jesus was actually born in the winter, Milton’s thoughts are worth pondering.
It was the Winter wilde,
While the Heav’n-born-childe,
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in aw to him
Had doff’t her gawdy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her [ i.e., Nature ]
To wanton with the Sun her lusty Paramour.
Nature itself, says Milton, humbles herself in honor of the Son of God who humbled himself in taking on human nature for us. Nature also humbled herself when the God-Man died for our sins, as Isaac Watts wrote in his hymn, Alas, and did my Savior bleed?
Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
when God, the mighty maker, died
for his own creature’s sin.
Let’s allow the dark and gloom of winter be a reminder of Christ’s descent from the glories of heaven to a stable.
Now there are 10
That is, only ten shopping days till Christmas. Only ten days to buy Saluda Press books at the lowest prices I have ever offered. With the $6.00 rebate check I will send with every book, The Crescent and the Cross: The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad costs only $10.95; James: A Study Guide: Practical Wisdom for Challenging Times costs only $8.95; The Letters of Peter: A Study Guide costs only $9.95. All prices include tax and shipping. If you want these books to arrive before Christmas, order now: I send them by media mail, which is a little slower than first class mail.
Parables of the Kingdom: The Wedding Feast: Matt. 22:1-14
- Who does the king represent?
- Who does the son represent?
- What does the wedding feast represent?
- Who do the original wedding invitees represent?
- Who do the servants represent?
- Who do the new wedding guests represent?
- What does the fate of the wicked invitees represent?
- What do we learn from the fact that the wedding guests included both the good and the bad?
- What does the wedding garment represent?
Exposition of the Parable
The king represents God the Father; his son represents Jesus Christ (Jesus referred to himself as the bridegroom in Matt. 9:15.) Based on what follows, the wedding feast must represent the kingdom of heaven. The original wedding guests represent the Jews, who for centuries refused to honor their God by their sin and unbelief, especially the Jews of Jesus’ generation who rejected him as Lord and Savior. The servants represent the prophets, who suffered greatly at the hands of their own people as they sought to bring the Jewish nation back to God.
The new wedding guests represent the Gentiles who were brought into the visible church after the Jews rejected Christ. They include those with true faith, represented by a wedding garment, as well as those without a living faith, represented by the man without a wedding garment. The destruction of the wicked people who disdained to come to the feast and murdered the servants represents the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple and its system by the Romans in 70 AD. These identifications are derived from the Parable of the Tenants, which up to this point teaches the same lesson. The correspondence between the two parables is plain.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast is one of the few parables that have more than one main point. The Parable of the Wedding Feast has a second point to make which is not part of the otherwise similar Parable of the Tenants. The Parable of the Wedding Feast states that there were both good and bad people present at the feast, that is, in the kingdom of heaven. That in itself is not a new revelation; the Parable of the Weeds and the Parable of the Net tell us that. What is new here is that the difference between the good and the bad is whether or not the guest has a wedding garment. The wedding garment represents the righteousness of Christ; that is the only difference between the saved and the lost.
Whether a guest had or had not a wedding garment was of monumental import. According to the commentators, the host—in this case, the king—provided the wedding garment. A guest who did not wear the furnished garment was in effect insulting his host. Our wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ, offered to all and received by faith alone.
The guest in the parable who lacked a wedding garment was not simply escorted to the door; he was bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness. That is clearly a picture of his eternal punishment in hell. So it is with those in the Church who have not the righteousness of Christ. At the judgment they too will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus taught this plainly, not in a parable, on the occasion when he healed the servant of a Roman (Gentile) army officer. Matthew recounts the event:
When Jesus heard this [the officer’s confession of faith], he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:10-12
The second point of the parable, then, is that true, living faith is required of Gentiles as well as Jews; only by faith can one accept the righteousness of Christ. Gentiles within the visible kingdom of heaven who lack saving faith will be cast out just as unbelieving Jews were.
The takeaway for us is two-fold, related to the two main points of the parable. First, we Gentiles need to thank God for opening the kingdom to us. Second, we need to examine our lives to see if we have true faith in Christ as our Savior and Lord.