Kill the Messenger

by Campus Missionary Mary Rowley

based on Matthew 22:1-14

Picture this. You’re sitting at home, bored out of your mind, probably watching reruns of Friends, and your doorbell rings. It’s a messenger sent from the President of the United States. You’re personally invited to an incredible feast and celebration at the White House. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a great honor. What do you do?

My first instinct would be to say, “Let me get my coat and I’ll be right there!”

My first instinct would not be to say, “No, I’m good,” and continue watching Friends. And if another messenger came with the same invitation, I would probably not grab the messenger and wring his neck.

But that’s exactly what the wedding guests in the Parable of the Wedding Feast do, except for the Friends reruns. They’re invited to this amazing wedding feast by the father of the bridegroom. He describes in detail the dinner he’s prepared, right down to the oxen and the fattened calves. “But [the guests] paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (verses 5-6).

Why on earth would they do such a thing? They were invited to the biggest party of the century, and instead of attending, they killed the messengers? It’s one thing to reject or ignore the invitation. It’s quite another to take out their anger on the messengers themselves. “The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city” (verse 7). Serves them right, we say! It was just a party, nothing to kill people over!

But isn’t that what we do on a daily basis? God is the father, and Jesus the bridegroom. When we sin, and we always do, we’re killing the messenger – we’re crucifying Jesus all over again. We’ve been invited to Heaven, and there’s no better place for a party, but we reject the invitation even more than daily. We’ve killed our fair share of messengers, and we deserve nothing but death.

But God knows our hearts and everything we’ve ever done, and yet, he still invites us to his wedding feast. He sends as many messengers as it takes, because he loves us beyond compare. Though we in no way deserve his mercy and forgiveness, he earnestly invites us to come and join in the banquet. Clothed in righteousness, forever changed by his grace, we are welcome at his table.