Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trinity 20: A Devotional Commentary

Isaiah 55:1-9 “Come, everyone who thirsts, to the waters! Come, he who has no money, buy, and eat! Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which doesn’t satisfy? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Turn your ear, and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander to the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you don’t know; and a nation that didn’t know you shall run to you, because of Yahweh your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he has glorified you. Seek Yahweh while he may be found; call you on him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says Yahweh. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Ephesians 5:15-21 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Don’t be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.

Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus answered and spoke again in parables to them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast, but they would not come. Again he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner. My cattle and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the marriage feast!”’ But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise, and the rest grabbed his servants, and treated them shamefully, and killed them. When the king heard that, he was angry, and sent his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited weren’t worthy. Go therefore to the intersections of the highways, and as many as you may find, invite to the marriage feast.’ Those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. The wedding was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who didn’t have on wedding clothing, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here not wearing wedding clothing?’ He was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and throw him into the outer darkness; there is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.’ For many are called, but few chosen.”

In the original context, Jesus is speaking to the Jews. God invited the Jews to the great wedding feast of the Lamb, but they would not come. They rejected the invitation, invitations were given to the Gentiles, and the Gentiles sinners came running to the marriage feast. One man in the parable is cast out--not because he was found to be too great a sinner but because he was not wearing a wedding garment. The man was not clothed with the righteousness of Christ but his own righteousness. He was probably the most moral and outwardly righteous of the people there. But he was thrown out because he did not realize how sinful he really was and so did not put on the righteousness of Christ.

The problem of the Jews in this parable is the problem of the church as well. The church has grown board with the wedding feast. It has been replaced with all kinds of other things that are more entertaining in the church. People are told that infrequent celebration of the wedding feast where Christ gives us His very body and blood in the Lord's Supper makes the wedding feast more "special" as if it Jesus' body and blood were not special in themselves. Feasting on Christ's body and blood and receiving the wedding garment have been replaced with actions of our own righteousness. The Lamb on the Altar where we receive is replaced with the altar call where we do. Sermons about what Christ has done for us have been replaced with sermons about what we do for Christ. The historic liturgy which is all about what Christ does for us has been replaced with songs about what we do for Christ. In all these actions, the church shows its boredom with the wedding feast.

Each one of us shows boredom with the wedding feast. Every time we neglect the preaching of the Gospel we show our own boredom with the wedding feast. Every time we neglect receiving Christ's body and blood we show our boredom with the wedding feast. There are always excuses. There are always things that need to be done. If it were something "special" like a vacation or a visiting relative then we would make certain that we would make time for it, but receiving Christ's body and blood is too ordinary and boring. We will not put up with a "dry" sermon in a "dead" church where all we receive is forgiveness of sins. Even when we show up for the wedding feast we spend the time thinking about other things that are more "special."

But Christ stands ready and willing to feed you--even after all your neglect and boredom. Christ stands ready to feed you with His very body and blood. Drink from the side of Jesus. Christ calls and invites you to the wedding feast. Come and have your sins forgiven. Receive life. Receive the medicine of immortality!

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