One of the most joyous social customs that I enjoy attending are weddings. Every wedding that I have been to has been a happy and joy-filled occasion. I count it an honor to receive a wedding invitation in the mail asking me to attend such an important event. To receive a wedding invitation is an expression from somebody who counts you as important enough in their life to have you attend such a momentous occasion. An invitation to a wedding should be taken seriously and has been an important custom that goes all the way back to Jesus’ day.
In Matthew 22, Jesus is giving a parable (i.e., an earthly story with a heavenly meaning) to a group of Jewish leaders in the temple who were rejecting His teaching. The parable speaks of a king which prepared a marriage for his son and sent out his servants to invite those who were on the invitation list to the wedding. This group of people who were invited made light of the invitation and would not come to the wedding. They went so far as to kill the servants who invited them. The king heard of this and became very angry and decided to send out his armies and destroy those who slew his servants. Then he brought his servants together again and told them that “they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage” (v. 8b-9). Jesus was using this picture to illustrate the rejection that He had received from the Jewish leaders. The “king” in the picture is the heavenly Father and Jesus is the “bridegroom son.” The “invited guests” are the Jewish people who rejected the Messiah. So, the invitation was extended to all, including the Gentiles.
We who are saved are God’s servants and have been given the responsibility to extend the invitation of salvation to all people. There is a marriage that is coming between Jesus Christ (the bridegroom) and the Church (the bride). We are to go to “as many as ye shall find” and offer them this wonderful invitation. The servants in the parable “went out into the highways, and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good” (v. 10). This Gospel invitation is open to “whosoever will,” which includes all types of people- rich and poor, moral and immoral, religious and nonreligious, Jew and Gentile. Christ has commanded us to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). God makes it clear that He “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Our responsibility is to go into the “highways” of our life and invite as many as we can to Christ. Your “highway” may be your job, family, neighborhood, friends, etc. Your “invitation” is salvation in Jesus Christ. Your “commission” is to go. The invitation is for all.