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

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) The theological apex of this pericope seems to be the king who hosts a wedding banquet for his son. His various actions of preparations, invitations, announcing the time, encouraging the guests to come, the reaction to those refusing to attend and his dealing with the one who did attend improperly dressed make him appear quite powerful. The other major concerns in this parable include the hall full of guests, finally, the speechless one in improper apparel, that he was banished and the final by-word, "Many are called, but few are chosen." These observations leave as minor concerns in this story the details of the preparations, the places/activities to which those refusing to attend did resume, etc. And, do the concluding sentiments I find out of character for a loving God who saves and finds ways for street-people to enter parties, even parties given by royalty, get added by Matthew, even and especially if Jesus never said them, appear because the author of this Gospel wants to keep his audience of Jewish legalists conversing with the Old Testament and the New as well? Or what other explanations are there?

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 1 And having said this, Jesus again said in another parable He said, 2 "The Kingdom of Heaven might be compared with a king, who made a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he sent his servants to call those having been invited to the wedding feast, but not did they want to appear. 4 Again he sent other servants saying, 'Say to those having been invited, 'Behold the feast of mine I have made ready, my bulls/oxen and the fattened calves and all is ready; come to the wedding feast/banquet hall.' 5 But the ones disregarding the invitation went away, one to his own farm, and one to his business; 6 but the rest held back/fast his servants, treated them disgracefully/mistreated and put them to death. 7 So, the king was angry and so sent his troops/soldiers and destroyed/killed those murderers and their city he set on fire/burned down. 8 Then he said to his servants; 'This great wedding feast is readied, but the ones having been invited are not worthy/deserving; 9 go then/therefore out upon the main roads of the out-roads and as many as you might find call/invite to the wedding feast. 10 And having gone out those servants into the streets of the roads they gathered/assembled all they found, the bad/evil and also the good/just/righteous; and the hall was filled with dinner guests. 11 But the king, having come to see said to this certain man, "You are not dressed in a garment proper for a wedding feast,' 12 and he said to him; 'Friend, how did you come in here not having a garment proper for a wedding feast?' But he was silenced/made speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants; 'Bind/tie his feet and hands and send him away/expel him into the outer/outmost darkness; where there will be the bitter crying/wailing and gnashing/grinding of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen."

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) What if we call this pericope's Hermeneutical Bridge an "Argumentative Bridge to Hermeneutics"? Having spent this entire week arguing with Matthew about the exaggerated reactions by the king to the various misbehaviors recorded and his overly emphatic judgmentalism, what more can we do but argue with the author, re: his Old Testament values and how to deal with them? So, we say, "Matthew, 'Friend', God, represented in Jesus' parable about the wedding feast and guest(s) would never be portrayed as such an ogre by Jesus. Get a grip, 'Friend'. It is time to get on with the Kingdom of Heaven more than stay stuck in the Old Testament Kingdom-ness(es). This is in the NEW Testament. Jesus reveals a God of Grace, Forgiveness and Salvation."

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