A Royal Invitation

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On Friday, 2nd March 2018, a statement was issued by Kensington Palace: “Prince Harry and Ms. Markle would like their wedding day to be shaped to allow members of the public to share in the joy and the fun of the day”.  Hundreds of members of the public will be invited to join the celebrations.  They will be able to enter the grounds of Windsor Castle and watch the arrival of the bride and groom for their wedding on 19th May.

We can imagine how thrilled people will be to receive an invitation.  Very quickly, they will send in their reply and they will begin to make arrangements to attend.  Plans they had already made for that day will be changed to allow them to be there. Who would want to miss the opportunity of being part of a royal wedding?

Did you know that the Lord Jesus told a story one day about a royal wedding? 

“A certain king made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, ‘Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage’.  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.” (Matthew 22:2-6)

What a strange story!  Such a kind invitation!  Such a hostile reaction! What can it mean?  Who were these people who said: ‘No!’?

Well, the story is a parable.  It was intended by the Lord Jesus to convey in picture form an important spiritual message.  As He commenced the story, He said that it was a picture of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The king in the story is God and the son is the Lord Jesus.  The whole message of the Bible is that God is inviting us to come to Him.  To enter – and enjoy - a relationship with Him.

Some people have the idea that to be a Christian is to be miserable.  In fact, nothing could be further from the truth!  The Christian – and only the Christian - has the joy of knowing that God is his father, that Christ is his Saviour, that his sins have been forgiven and that, at the end of life, Heaven will be his home.  The illustration of Christianity is not that of a funeral, but rather that of a wedding!

In the story, those who were invited were characterised initially by apathy and then by antagonism.  At first, they refused the invitation.  Then, some ‘made light of it’.  Others silenced the servants of the king by killing them.

These reactions can be seen even today.  Throughout the world, the message of the Gospel is preached:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  In some places, Gospel preachers are put to death.  That is how some people still respond.  But what about you?  Are you guilty of ignoring the invitation?

The Lord Jesus went on to explain the response of the king: “He was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (verse 7). 

To allow salvation to be offered to you, a sinner, God had to send His Son and the Lord Jesus had to die on the Cross.  How must God feel when His offer is refused and when His Son is rejected? 

Yet, as the story proceeds, there were those who attended: “The wedding was furnished with guests” (verse 10). Thus, in the parable, an invitation to a royal wedding – with different responses and different consequences.

Comparatively few are being invited to the wedding in Windsor in May, but there is this other, even better, invitation to this other, even better, royal wedding.  An invitation from God. An invitation for you.  To accept is the greatest opportunity.  To decline, the greatest tragedy.

“All things are ready: come” (verse 4). 

 

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