The bible is replete with examples of weddings and references to weddings or marriage. And when there are no actual weddings under discussion they seem to be a favorite form of reference, particularly when used by Jesus, to describe the relationship between God and his people. This week we are going back in Matthew, prior to the Olivet Discourse we discussed last week to a parable told by Jesus regarding a royal wedding. This is another in my series of highly unpopular and disquieting parables (at least for me).
This particular parable in Matthew 22:1-14 and is sort of the darker, more sinister and brooding twin of the parable in Luke 14:15-24. It seems to me, like all good preachers, Jesus had a set of preacher stories that he told when he talked and modified them each time to fit his audience and/or make a particular point. In the text from Matthew, the story is pointed indeed.
People, including me, often say they would love to have been with Jesus and learned from Him while He was on Earth, to walk and talk with Him and to ask questions. I’m not sure any of the people who asked Jesus questions ever got an answer they could feel good about. Not even the disciples and especially not the lawyer who is questioning Jesus in today’s text.
Our text, Luke 10:25-37, features the last parable in our three session series on parables of forgiveness and love; the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
There really is no immediate context for the parable. It sits, a seeming non-sequitur, sandwiched between Jesus’ sending out the 72 and the scene at Martha and Mary’s house where Martha complains about working while Mary sits. Its only setting is “On one occasion” suggesting it is not related to any event in the text around it.
Have you been in a position where you just couldn’t catch a break? You were damned if you did and damned if you didn’t? Jesus spent His whole life like that. The religious establishment had condemned John the Baptist and said he was crazy for the lifestyle he lived (locusts, honey, camelhair, etc.). Then Jesus came and did not eschew comforts and hung out with people they didn’t like and they railed against Him as a libertine.
In Luke 7:33, just before our focal passage, Jesus says,
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
So, having been called a drunkard, glutton and friend of tax collectors (that was really the worst) by the religious establishment, He accepts an invitation to dine from one of those worthies. One might logically expect that, having now agreed to dine with the “right” crowd, he would be invited with open arms.