v.1 “And Jesus answered and spake again in parables unto them”—Again, this parable of a certain king cannot be fully explained in human terms because (1) it is impossible that the servants will be killed, (2) the king cannot be so democratic as to gather in people from the highways for his son’s wedding feast, and (3) the king will not send his armies to destroy murderers.
This parable follows immediately upon the preceding one. The previous parable shows how the Gentiles are accepted (yet not every Gentile is saved) after God has rejected the Jews. The parable here discloses how the Jews are rejected because they first reject the Lord.
v.2 “The kingdom of heaven”—It does not say the church but the kingdom of heaven, for it is the domain of the kingdom of heaven that is here presented. In the church, the whole body of believers are saved; whereas in the outward sphere of the kingdom of heaven there are still those unsaved in it. (Please note that the parable in Luke 14.15-24 focuses on the gospel. It is not the same parable as the one given here.)
“Marriage” speaks of a covenant relationship. “Feast” denotes God’s prior prepared abundance.
There is no mentioning of the bride because this parable does not deal with the purpose of God.
v.3 “His servants”—The disciples of John the Baptist and of the Lord.
“Call them that were bidden”—This points to the children of Israel. God sends His servants to invite the children of Israel to come and enjoy His abundance. Such is the mission of the disciples of John and of the Twelve and the Seventy sent out by the Lord.
“They would not come”—They do not believe the testimony given by these disciples.
v.4 “Other servants”—The apostles and the disciples on the day of Pentecost and afterwards. The apostles and the disciples testified to the Jews for the second time on the day of Pentecost. They bore witness in Jerusalem but failed to go even to neighboring Samaria. So God allowed persecution to come upon them that they might be scattered to the nations. Paul began his ministry in the same manner. He first went to the Jews in the Dispersion, and after they rejected the Lord he declared that he would go to the Gentiles.
Verse 3 gives the invitation; verse 4 tells that oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are now ready—that is to say, the Lord Jesus has already died and is resurrected.
vv.5-6 “But they made light of it”—This depicts exactly the situation on the day of Pentecost. Even though 3,000 and later 5,000 in Jerusalem were saved, yet they were but a little flock compared to the great multitudes gathered in that city. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, on the day when Christ was crucified there were gathered together three million people in Jerusalem.
“Farm” speaks of agriculture; “merchandise” signifies commerce. “The rest” are those who are neither engaged in agriculture or commerce—people such as the priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and so forth.
“Treated them shamefully, and killed them”—They killed Stephen and James, and they imprisoned the other apostles. These verses are thus completely fulfilled.
v.7 “But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers”—This was literally fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed Jerusalem and blood flowed in the streets.
v.8 “They that were bidden were not worthy”—Those that were bidden were obviously the Jews, but simply because they have rejected the invitation does not mean that the abundance of God is going to be wasted. He will give it to others.
v.9 Those who are called have been bidden before, but we Gentiles are saved as though by accident: “As many as ye shall find”—and this is grace. All who believe have eternal life.
v.10 “Both bad and good”—God’s calling today ignores the question of a good or bad historical background. The abundance of the gospel has no respect of former good or bad, because the ultimate purpose of the gospel is to glorify God’s Son.
v.11 “To behold the guests”—This happens at the judgment seat of Christ.
“Wedding-garment”—In Oriental countries, the wedding garments are not prepared by the guests but provided by the host. The wedding garment is Christ, our robe of righteousness. We need to be clothed with Christ (cf. Rom. 13.14, Gal. 3.27). God has covered us with “the robe of righteousness” (Is. 61.10). God has provided the wedding garment for us, but the man in the parable thinks his own garment good enough (self-righteousness). He refuses to take off his own garment and change to another one. He will not trust in Christ as his righteousness.
v.12 “And he saith unto him”—The Lord does not ask why we beat people, told lies, or violated the law several days before. He merely asks us why we did not put on the wedding garment. No question on past history, He only asks if there is Christ our righteousness present upon us.
“And he was speechless”—This proves that the man knowingly does it, because he could not offer any reply. It really does not matter if one is poor, because the king has already made provision. If anyone considers himself unworthy, the king has the wedding garment ready for him. What there needs to be a concern for is any unwillingness to take off the old and put on the new.
v.13 Whoever does not trust in Christ as righteousness will be cast into outer darkness. [loss of rewards for the fleshly Christian at Judgment Seat; incidentally, the unsaved await GWT and Hell]
v.14 Many are included in the domain of the kingdom of heaven [saved and unsaved], but few are the chosen [to reign in the millennial kingdom].