Today’s readings.. (2 Samuel 6), (Jeremiah 11), (Matthew 22)

One of the most worrying sayings of Jesus is that quoted above, but in looking back on the events of history it makes  sense.  We read in Jeremiah that the call to serve God in the way he desires went unheeded.  Jeremiah is told, as we read today, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them … so you shall be my people and I will be your God.” [11 v.6,4]
All those who are convinced there is one real God who created all things and the Bible is his revelation to human beings must respond to appeals like Jeremiah’s. Our Matthew reading (ch.22) starts with a parable; “The kingdom of heaven (a heavenly kingdom on earth) may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son” [v.2]. The “wedding feast is ready but those invited are not worthy “ [v.8] because they treated the king’s servants shamefully (v.6) as happened to Jeremiah. This surely refers to the Jewish nation.
The servants are then told to “invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.  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.9,10]. When the king comes “to look at the guests, he saw a man who had no wedding garment” [v.12]  The man is cast “into outer darkness.” [v.13] The next verse (14) states, ”For many are called but few are chosen.”
What does the “wedding garment” symbolise? The custom in the east, we understand, is that the host provides the attire at the wedding feast.  But some think they can dress as they please!  It reminds us of the prophet Zephaniah, “ … the day of the LORD is near; the LORD has … consecrated his guests.  And on the day of the LORD’s sacrifice – ‘I will punish…all who array themselves in foreign attire.” [1 v.7,8]
Most Israelites thought they could serve God on their terms, Saul is an example. Many did not want to be different  to the nations around. Few desired the wedding garment God provided, so they ended up rejecting their Messiah.  Has not most of Christianity done the same, bending his message to suit their ideas?  Someone asked Jesus, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” [Luke 13 v.23] and he responded by saying, “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many I tell you will seek to enter but will not be able.” [v.24] But whose fault is that? Then the Master shuts the door [v.25] and it is too late. Let us read God’s word diligently and put it into practice and then, through his mercy and grace, we will be among the chosen.

* Click verse text to see cross references.
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