The Marriage Supper

Matt. 22:1-14 - And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4  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. 5  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14  For many are called, but few are chosen.


This parable is the third of three parables which Christ gave to the Pharisees, showing that He was leaving them, because of their utter and complete disbelief, and giving his power, authority, and gospel message to the Gentiles.  This is a gradual transition, as the Gentile church was originally made up of only Jews.  As time passes, and the Jewish Christians fulfilled the Great Commission (going first to Jerusalem, then to all Judea, then to the uttermost parts of the world) the local churches gradually filled more and more with Gentile believers.  After a while, there are very few Jewish believers, but there are a multitude of Gentile believers.  This fulfills Romans 9:22-24.  This passage explains that God has turned from 2% of the world population (Jews) and turned to 98% of the world population (Gentiles).

There is a parallel between the three parables of Matthew 21:23 - 22:14 and the three parables of Luke 15:1-32.  Both of these sets of three parables teach the same truth.  The Israelite religious leaders do not have the truth of God, nor do they have any joy when others receive the truth.  The religious leaders of the Jews will travel many miles to make a single proselyte, making that person a two fold child of hell, yet they are extremely unhappy (even to the point of killing their own Messiah) when a person comes to the truth.  In the case of the elder brother, he would have been happier if his prodigal brother had remained in a foreign country, feeding swine and eating forbidden food.  The elder brother is typical of the Jewish religious leaders, who would have been much happier if they had been allowed to continue in their own traditions, and their prodigal brothers left in unbelief.  The Jews are very sure they have the truth, yet they have followed the traditions of the elders, studying their books, instead of studying the Word of God which would have led them into all truth.  The Israelite religious leaders never understand one simple truth - God is love, which causes believers to love others - even when they disagree.


I.    It is very likely that this parable is the same parable as that given in Luke 14:15-24.  ..\..\LUKE\14v16-24.doc  I am going to treat them as being different because there are certain differences in them.

A.  Mainly the parable before us involves a man at the wedding supper without the proper garment.

B.   The parable in Matthew describes the supper as being related to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God, but the parable in Luke does not.

C.   The parable in Matthew 22:1-14 is given in reply to the Jews who have consistently refused His kingdom.

1.      Matt. 21:1-17 - The triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem is described along with His cleansing the temple of money changers.  Verse 15 describes the common people praising God, and the religious people being sore displeased at their praising Him and His cleansing the temple.

2.      Matt. 21:18-22 - Christ cursed the barren fig tree, and gave the promise of asking and receiving to His disciples.

3.      Matt. 21:23-27 - Christ answers the chief priests and elders of the people who question His right or authority to teach scripture.  Christ replies by asking them about the authority of John the Baptist, (whom they refused as sent from God) which they cannot answer.

4.      Matt. 21:28-32 - Christ gives them the parable of the two sons, which is a description of the Jews who have refused to serve God His way.

5.      Matt. 21:33-46 - Jesus gives the parable of the wicked husbandmen, which describes the Jewish people who mainly disregard God's Son - Jesus Christ, and kill Him.  Christ declares the vineyard will be let out to other, more faithful husbandmen - the Gentiles.

D.    The parable in Luke describes more about how to conduct yourself at a supper, whether it is a marriage supper or a dinner.  The greatest supper is, of course, the marriage supper of the Lamb of God, to which all would like an invitation.  This parable is teaching Jews how to be as God wants them to be, while the parable in Matthew teaches the Jews why God had rejected them.

1.      Luke 14:1-6 - Jesus was taking a meal in the house of one of the Chief Pharisees on the Sabbath day, and He healed a man with dropsy, confusing them all.

2.      Luke 14:7-11 - Jesus gives a lesson on not promoting yourself, but being humble, accepting the lower seat, and allowing others to exalt you, them giving you the higher seat.

3.      Luke 14:12-14 - Christ explains that there is no reward for inviting guests to your home that will recompense by inviting you to their home.  The reward comes in having guests in your home that cannot recompense you the favor.  The reward comes at the resurrection.

4.      Luke 14:15-24 - Now is the parable in our study, as Christ illustrates the puny excuses given by people who would rather look after material possessions than spiritual possessions.  These people have rejected their invitation to spiritually partake with Christ and their invitation has been taken back, and given to others.


II.    We are not to suppose that some unauthorized person has mysteriously found his way into the marriage supper of the lamb.

A.    The parable before us is only one of a number of parables Christ used to illustrate that no unauthorized person will obtain entrance to the marriage supper of the lamb - see the word “again” and “parables in verse Luke 22:1. 

1.      The absence of the wedding garment shows that this person hasn’t fulfilled the qualifications required for attendance.

2.      Christ is making the point that personal merits do not qualify for the marriage supper.

B.    It is also important to realize that this parable is speaking about guests to the marriage supper, not about the bride herself.

1.      There is no necessity to invite the bride to her own wedding.

2.      She will be there!

3.      It is also inconceivable that the bride would have something else to do, instead of attending her own marriage supper.

4.      Rev. 19:5-8 is the record of the wedding of Jesus Christ and his bride.

a.      Verse 6 and 7 describe a great multitude of saved people in heaven crying, “Let us be glad and rejoice…”

b.      The word “us” is used in contrast to the wording in verse 9, “…His wife hath made herself ready.”

c.      A comparison of these words reveal that those who are rejoicing are not the bride, but guests at the wedding.


III.  A brief description of what outer darkness is.

A.    Outer darkness is symbolic of the judgment of God against those that say they are a part of the kingdom of God, whether they are lost or whether they are saved.

1.      The words “outer darkness” appears three times in the entire Bible, and they are always associated with the kingdom of God.

a.      Matt. 8:12 - But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

b.      Matt. 22:13 - Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

c.      Matt. 25:30 - And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  This parable is about the kingdom of heaven.

2.      There have always been those who say they are a part of God’s kingdom, but work against Him.

B.    Contrast outer darkness and hell.

1.      The Greek words for hell are:

a.      Gehenna - After the valley of Hinnon, gehenna - the place of continual burning.

b.      Hades - the abode of the dead, both paradise and Gehenna. Hades is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term "Sheol," which refers in general to the place of the dead.

c.      Sheol - The abode of the dead in Hebrew thought.

d.      Tartarus - (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment:--cast down to hell.

2.      The meaning of outer darkness.

a.      Greek word “exoteros” translated into the English word “outer” meaning exterior, out or strange.

b.      Greek word “skotos” translated into the English word “darkness” meaning shadiness, obscurity or darkness; shade or shadow, darkness of error or an adumbration (divine manifestation).

3.      Outer darkness doesn’t seem to be hell because different Greek words are used to describe this place of torment.

a.      On the other hand, if outer darkness is hell, it must be a special place in hell reserved for those who say they have received the keys of the kingdom, yet have disregarded those keys for their own, and have lead many people astray.

b.      Jude 12,13 - These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13  Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

c.      It is of no really concern to us whether these people are saved or lost.  We can’t see into their hearts.  All we can see is their outward actions.  The only person we can know is saved or not is ourselves.

C.    The word “friend” in verse 12.  (The Greek word for “friend” is “hetairos” and means comrade, or clansman.)

1.      Jesus used the word “hetairos” in Matt. 20:13, the parable of the laborers and the hours, where Christ explained to this friend that the penny he received was what he had agreed to.  It appears this “friend” is saved because he is a servant of Christ.

2.      Jesus used the word “hetairos” in Matt. 26:50 when he called Judas Iscariot “friend” at the betrayal.  It is apparent Judas Iscariot was lost because when he died he went into his own place, which is a special place in hell reserved for those who say they are in the kingdom of God, leading others astray.

3.      These two scriptures show that Jesus is not saying that this type of “friend” is saved or lost.

4.      There is another Greek word that describes the friendship of a saved person.

a.      “philos” which means an associate, or neighbor.

b.      James 2:23 - And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

c.      It is apparent that Abraham was saved, not only by his actions, but because he was called the friend of God.

D.    Outer darkness seems to be two things.

1.      A special place of torment in the millennium of Christ for those saved people who are in God’s kingdom, yet have followed the precepts of the world, thereby leading many people astray.

2.      A special place of torment in hell for those lost people who said they were in God’s kingdom, yet have followed the precepts of the world, thereby leading many people astray.

E.     Tears (and the memory of this world) are not wiped away until we live in the new heaven and the new earth.

1.      Rev. 21:1-4 - This is when God wipes away all our tears.

2.      In order to have tears, we will have sorrow.

3.      There is great sorrow for saved people during this lifetime while we live in these sinful bodies.

4.      There will be great sorrow for saved people at the judgment seat of Christ when we are out of these sinful bodies and can see clearly our sinfulness.

5.      I Cor. 3:10-15 - We will be greatly relieved to see the wood, hay and stubble gone from our lives, but we will be filled with sorrow to see how little is left.

6.      When Christ gives our rewards, we will be filled with sorrow at how few we receive, yet we will be so very thankful that He by His grace gives us some that we will cast them at his feet, declaring that He alone is worthy.