Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14 is the parable likening the kingdom of God to a wedding feast given by a king to which the invited guests refused to come. Other people were invited from the streets and, one who was not wearing wedding attire was thrown out while the king said, “Many are called but few are chosen.”

This parable is about the kingdom of God which Jesus said He came to establish on earth as it is in heaven. It is like a wedding feast (Jesus may be the groom) to which people are invited but have other agendas they prefer to pursue (much like the seed cast on hard or rocky ground, and like the prodigal son).

The feast is meant to be a joyful occasion (Isa 25) but one must have prepared for it. The first invitees and the poorly attired guest were called but not, in the end, chosen. In After You Believe, N.T. Wright speaks of a “virtuous circle” which Christians should follow by which he means an habitual way of life, a character-forming set of actions which would reflect the generous love of God into the world by following Jesus in practicing faith, hope, love and virtue. Such a life must depend on the Holy Spirit to furnish good desires and the ability to carry them out. The Holy Spirit renews the heart and mind so that we are enabled to freely choose virtue until it becomes “second nature.” We are led into a “virtuous circle” of activities including Scripture, prayer, church-attendance, Christian fellowship, community, self-denial, intentional commitment to Jesus, etc.

In the beginning we looked at the story of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what should he do to inherit eternal life (Matt 19:16-22). Jesus quoted the second half of the ten commandments to him. But the young man sensed there was more required and when he said he had done those things, Jesus said if he wanted to be perfect, he should sell his possessions (he was a rich landowner) and give his money away and come and follow Jesus. The young man went away sorrowful because he idolized his possessions. Could it have been Saul of Tarsus who later is encountered by the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and became His follower? If so, it would give a happy end to the story.

We need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind by the Holy Spirit rather than being conformed to this world (Rom 12:2) in order to follow Jesus. When we are (and do), we become members of the kingdom which is to be restored from exile where we are estranged and alienated from God and are under the power and dominion of the satan, and are transferred to the kingdom of God. We begin a new Exodus which is the journey out of bondage toward the Promised Land which is the Age to Come. We are led by the Spirit as
the Israelites were and we become a light to illuminate the path for others.

We are given the power to understand, ponder, and consciously choose the right course as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger did when he lost power in his Airbus when geese flew into his engines. Long practice and discipline prepared him to react properly when tested. This is our goal.

Memory Verse: “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will
liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods
came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the
rock” (Mt 7.24,25).