Marriages in Biblical Tradition typically represent a symbolic expression of the covenantal union between God and his people. A wedding banquet during this time period in history was a joyous occasion that had a great importance in the lives of the betrothed. “The Gospel of Matthew, like all the New Testament Gospels, was composed as a literary work to interpret the theological meaning of a concrete historical event to the people in a particular historical situation” (Boring 89). Mt 22:1-14 utilizes this tradition and expresses wedding celebrations in order to exemplify the significance of Jesus’s goal to bring salvation to those on Earth.
The parable of the wedding feast unfolds into three parts; the inviting of guests, a call to the outcasts, and a removal. (Brown 664) Matthew paints the scene of Jesus using a parable to describe the fact, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son” (Mt 22:2). Using a wedding banquet as the setting for this parable allows people to apply the message of God to their everyday lives. The visualization of the preparations of the oxen and fat calves for feasting depicts the nature that this was an important event, worth the sacrifice of animals, which at the time was a great personal expense. Theologically, the kingdom of heaven was represented by the wedding banquet, for those who were invited to the wedding banquet were extended an invitation to the kingdom of God, while the King was an image of God, The Father and the king’s son was a portrait of Jesus. (Brown 665)
The servants of the king, symbolically known as the prophets, were sent to complete the King’s bidding and to inform the guests of the upcoming wedding banquet. Rather than accept as per typical tradition, the guests “made light of it and went away,” (Mt:22-5) showing no interest in attending the feast. Therefore, the invited that declined became careless with the things of God and were too distracted by the superficial aspect of their lives to take the time to recognize and appreciate offering of the King of Heaven. The passage encompasses a new tone when Matthew describes the slaughter and mistreatment of the King’s slaves. The enraged King ordered the destruction of the murders and their city. (Mt 22:7). There is a clear historical setting in this verse, for Jerusalem suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Roman Empire. “The obtrusive reference to the burning of the city in the parable of the great supper does seem to be an allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Matt 22:1-14, esp. v 7)” (“Matthew, Gospel of” 624).
Once again, the King sent servants to invite guests to the wedding banquet, however this time even the outcasts of Israel were called to be guests, including the tax collectors and the people in despised trades. The servants, or prophets, gathered “whom they found, both good and bad.” (Mt 22:8) Importantly to note, both good and bad individuals were requested to...