Lectionary Year A
October 13, 2002
Matthew 22:1-14

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

(JFC) The text says it's a parable and, of course, it tells the truth. It is a parable. It is written in parabolic terms, telling a story with a point. It tells about several people and a few groups of people and what they do and/or don't do. It uses some value-judgmental adjectives and adverbs to let the hearers/readers know just how the teller evaluates some of the characters and their acts. It goes into almost excessive detail, re: the various aspects of the host's efforts in preparing the party. It minces no words in describing the misbehavior of the bad guys, as well. Then, when the antagonist appears, we get some confusing terms describing/addressing him. It tells a good story and that quite well, too.

B. Personal Interaction

(JFC) When we wonder why those invited refuse to attend we must ask, does it matter? Is the king's anger expressed too harshly, especially if he represents God in this story? And, does he represent God? Also, is there any significance to the three different words naming the employees the king uses to do his bidding dou/loi, stra,teumata, and diavkonoi? And, if he does represent God, why does he not go and find an appropriate costume for the one improperly dressed or not notice his unorthodox attire or at least not mention it? And, especially having called him "Friend", how can he exclude him so vehemently? Further, what about the interpretative-like conclusive action of casting out the ill-clad guest? Is that pronouncement as out of character of grace for which we look in Jesus' parables? And/or is it more interpretative than Jesus usually leaves His hearers/readers to interpret for themselves rather than interpret the parables for them/us? And, then, too, does the concluding verse really fit this parable? Furthermore, do we have two or more parables in this pericope or what?

C. Organization

(JFC) Those refusing to attend are mentioned in verses 3c, 5 and 8c. The three different servants of the king are mentioned in verses 3f, 7 and 13. The king's anger is in the 7th verse. The inappropriately dressed guest is described in 11b. He is called "Friend" in the next (12th) verse. The excessive mistreatment of the one unsuitably dressed is in verse 13. That is also where (verse 13) the all-too-conclusively, if not all-too-interpretatively, uncharacteristic verdict occurs, too. The final verse is number 14. Then, surely, the two parables separate between verses 10 and 11.

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