S (Scripture) – Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
O (Observation) – Lord Jesus, You were speaking to these religious leaders and trying to get them to understand what was happening to their inheritance due to the stubbornness of their hearts. These Jewish Rabbis and leaders had been invited to partake in Your kingdom, yet were unwilling to come. Despite their rejection, You continued to provide opportunities for them to repent and follow after You. Still, they paid no attention, and instead, decided to walk away from You in pursuit of their own desires. Not only did they walk away from You and Your truth, but they mistreated and killed Your prophets, and eventually, You. Setting the city of Jerusalem on fire was prophetic of what would eventually happen to it in A.D. 70 during the years of the early church. You then instructed Your slaves to go out and invite as many people as possible to the wedding feast, both good and evil. It was not up to those inviting the others to decide who was worthy. It was simply their job to invite everyone, and let them know that the feast was ready. Ultimately, only those abiding in a relationship with You are welcome at Your table. When the man without the proper clothing was found inside the banquet, he was commanded to leave, and he had nothing to say. Jesus, YOU are the proper clothing. Wedding clothes for this banquet cannot be bought or earned, but must be accepted as a free gift from You. Many are called (invited), but few are chosen.
A (Application) – As Your servants, it is our duty to proclaim Your truth, Your promises, and Your invitation to everyone, regardless of whether we perceive that person to be good or evil. It is not up to us to judge the heart of another. Ultimately, everyone has to face You at some point in eternity. Whether or not they will, in fact, be able to partake in Your wedding feast depends solely on whether or not You know them. Just because You know what someone is going to do before he or she does it, does not make it any less of a choice for that person. Each person is given the opportunity to respond to Your invitation, and those that accept it are chosen. You have always known from before the foundation of the world exactly who would and who would not trust in You – You are God, and You are sovereign. We are merely men and women going about Your business here on earth, and it is not for us to know whether or not someone will accept Your invitation. It is up to us to obey Your command and be used by You to do the inviting.
P (Prayer) – Thank You, Most Holy Jesus, for passionately pursuing Your people. Thank You for Your heart for the lost. Give us Your eyes to see and Your ears to hear – all around us are brokenhearted people desperately in need of Your presence, but have no idea how to approach You. May we be Your hands and feet to a lost and hurting world, and may the sweet words of Your invitation be met with ears that are glad and hearts that are hungry for truth.