Matthew 22:1-14 (also Luke 14)
1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,
[Weddings were a little different in this age. The first step was a wedding contract negotiated between the groom and the bride's family. Once the contract was settled, the engagement would typically last a year. At the end of the year the groom would go to the bride's house, and a large procession would follow them back to the groom's house. At that point a celebration feast would begin and depending on the wealth of the groom it could last for up to a week. In this case the groom is the son of the king, so this event would be highly anticipated. But Jesus was teaching of heaven.]
3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
[The guests were invited long in advance, but on the wedding day the servants would leave early to remind the guest to dress for the wedding and come to the procession of the wedding party, but the invited were involved in other things so they were unwilling to drop everything and get ready for the wedding. Even though Messiah had been foretold since Genesis chapter 3 the first invitees, Israel, were not prepared for his coming.]
4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."'
[The king sends word again by his servants to those invited, time is short dinner is ready come quickly. First the prophets of the Old Testament, then John the Baptist appear to announce messiah's coming, but still few of Israel responded.]
5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.
[The first servants were ignored, these were given excuses by some, abused by others and some were even killed.
Nehemiah 9:26 (New King James Version)
26 " Nevertheless they were disobedient
And rebelled against You,
Cast Your law behind their backs
And killed Your prophets, who testified against them
To turn them to Yourself;
And they worked great provocations.
Luke 11:47 (New King James Version)
47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
Acts 7:52 (New King James Version)
52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,
And in Matthew 14 Herod kills John the Baptist]
7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
[Punishment for assaulting and killing the king's servants was death. To rebel against the kings servants is to rebel against the king himself.
2 Corinthians 5:11 (New King James Version)
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
Hebrews 10:31 (New King James Version)
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
When Jesus returns he will fight a great battle and destroy the enemies of God.]
8 Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
[Even after punishing the rebels, the kings returns to his purpose, celebrating his son's wedding. Since the invited guests refused, the king ordered an open invitation to any who would come. This time it wasn't about being on the guest list, they invited the bad and the good.
Matthew 9:11 (New King James Version)
11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus' invitation was not just for the righteous.]
11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
[This banquet had a dress code. When the king came to the banquet table, he saw one guest without a wedding garment a great dishonor. The dishonored guest was bound and thrown out. "weeping and gnashing of teeth" was a sign of the anguish experienced by the one punished. The word for called is kletos (klay-tos') and refers to being invited. So there was more to being ready for the feast than just being invited, you had to be appropriately attired. So that is the proper attire for the Kingdom of Heaven?
Revelation 4:4 (New King James Version)
4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns[a] of gold on their heads.
Revelation 7:9 (New King James Version)
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, …..
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"
14 And I said to him, "Sir,[b] you know."
So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Only those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb have the white robes worthy of heaven.
Revelation 19: 6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the[d] Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
9 Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God."]