I went to bed way too late and woke up way too early, but I was able to meet some running buddies this morning in Wooster for an 8 mile run. Then I joined my wife for her daily 5k when I got home.
It was a bit of a double-header for me.
My first run was for a total of 8.1 miles at an 8 minute per mile pace for a total time of 1 hour, 5 minutes, and 26 seconds. It was a fantastic, zig-zagging run through the early morning streets of Wooster. The second run was for 3.1 miles at a 10:30 per mile pace for a total time of 32 minutes and 44 seconds. We rocked a nice run around our housing allotment.
I am really proud of Jodi! She is doing an amazing job wth her 5k Every Day in the Month of May. She is getting a lot stronger as a runner and I really enjoy getting the chance to run with her. She’s definitely my favorite running partner!
As for the daily Bible reading, I have been chewing on the opening passage from Matthew 22 all day long.
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”‘ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and 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. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:1-14
This passage has been spinning around and around in my mind today and I have been trying to make sense of it.
There are many passages of scripture that I do not understand. I am usually content to simply know that God is good in all of His ways and that He would give me understanding if and when I need it. Then there are other times, like this time, when I feel like I need to press in and meditate on the passage, really working hard to understand it.
I’m not sure how far I got, but this is where I have landed:
I believe this parable is reinforcing the fact Jesus has invited MANY into the Kingdom of God.
… the Son of Man came … to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28
Still, according to the parable, many reject his invitation to eternal life through his saving work on the cross.
Super sad day.
Their lame excuses may seem legit, but not in comparison to the surpassing value of knowing Christ!
Have you ever offered someone something amazing, something out of this world, but they had no interest? Not fun. In this case, it cost Jesus his very life to be able to freely welcome us into the Kingdom of God, but so many of us cling to our lame excuses for why we are not interested. In the process, we snub God.
Super bad idea.
In fact, some people in the parable were so bothered and offended by the invitation that they killed the messengers.
The king then deems that the people who were originally invited were not worthy, and tells his messengers to go into all the world and invite EVERYONE. Clearly this is a parallel for God revealing Himself to the Jews first, then being killed by the Jews, and post-resurrection telling the disciples to go into all the world preaching the Gospel.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. – Mark 16:15-16
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Of course, the messengers go out proclaiming this message and the wedding feast is filled with guests from all walks of life.
So far I think this parable is pretty straightforward. It is really the last part that has had me spinning my wheels throughout the day:
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:11-14
How are we to understand this ending? Is this really about having the right clothes?
I’ll tell you what I think the parable is speaking to. I believe the guest in question displayed a significant lack of interest and care. I think he was simply indifferent.
Now the parable is starting to hit close to home!
I have put my faith in Christ alone. He is my life. I am planning to wear a robe of righteousness to the feast! But if those are just words, and I don’t really care, then I am fooling myself.
Am I indifferent towards Christ and his work on the Cross, which sealed my salvation and eternity with God?
Do I really care?
When is the last time that I was so awestruck over the fact that Christ would die for a sinner like me? When was the last time that I poured my heart out to him in gratitude? Or that I showed any emotion at all towards him?
Do I really care?
Or, at my core, am I really indifferent and passive, no different from the first group who refused the invitation?
This has been my challenge today as I process Matthew 22-24. Do I really care?