The parable of the wedding feast for the king’s son forms a chiastic structure:
1a) Mat 22:1-5, Those who were invited to the wedding were not willing to come when called;
1b) Mat 22:6-7, The king’s armies destroy the murderers of his servants;
1c) Mat 22:8-9, Invite to the wedding as many as you find;
central axis) Mat 22:10a, So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both good and bad;
2c) Mat 22:10b, The wedding hall was filled with guests;
2b) Mat 22:11-13, The king’s servants cast out the guest without a wedding garment;
2a) Mat 22:14, Many are called but few are chosen.
We are seeing a theme repeat throughout Matthew, and that is, not everyone who comes to the kingdom of heaven will remain there. In this parable, not all those who were invited responded to the invitation or were interested in coming, and vice versa, not all those who responded to the invitation were invited to remain. Those who respond to the invitation still have to be chosen to remain.
This theme is repeated in:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Mat 7:21-23
“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Mat 8:11-12
The parable of the wheat and the tares, Mat 13:24-30.
The parable of the dragnet, Mat 13:47-50.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Mat 16:24-27
The parable of the unforgiving servant (Mat 18:21-35), which ends with: “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
The parable of the wicked vinedressers, Mat 21:33-41, which ends with: “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”
This message is not one likely to be preached in pulpits these days. True discipleship has nothing in common with feel good Christianity, because we are being called to take up our cross, lay down our life, and bear fruits worthy of repentance. When the owner of the vineyard sends someone to me to collect His fruit, whether it be the fruit of forgiveness, patience, self- control, gentleness, kindness, or love, may I render it to them!