The Parable of the Wedding Feast (Part 4)

May 16, 2008

Taken From: The Spurgeon Archives: “The Parable of the Weeding Feast”-Charles H. Spurgeon

III. We now advance to our third point, and regretfully remember THE SERIOUS HINDRANCE which for awhile interfered with the joyful event.

The king had thought in his mind, “I will make a great feast, I will invite a large number. They shall enjoy all my kingdom can afford, and I shall thus show how much I love my son, and moreover all the guests will have sweet memories in connection with his marriage.” When his messengers went out to intimate to those who had received previously an express invitation that the time was come, it is written, “They would not come;” not they could not, but they “would not come.” Some for one reason, some for another, but without exception they would not come. Here was a very serious hindrance to the grand business. Cannot the king drag his guests to the table? Yes, but then it would not accomplish his purpose. He wants not slaves to grace his throne. Persons compelled to sit at a marriage-feast would not adorn it. What credit could it be to a king to force his subjects to feast at his table? No for once, as I have said before, the subject must be merged in the guest. It was essential to the dignity of the festival that the guests should come with cheerfulness to the festival, but they would not come. Why? Why would they not come? The answer shall be such as to answer another question—Why do not you come and believe in Jesus! With many of them it was an indifference to the whole affair. They did not see what concern they had in the king or his son. Royal marriages were high things and concerned high people; they were plain-speaking men, farmers who went hedging and ditching, or tradesmen who made out bills and sold by the yard or pound. What cared they for the court, the palace, the king, the prince, his bride, or his dinner! They did not say quite that, but such was their feeling; it might be a fine thing, but it was altogether out of their line. How many run in the same groove at this hour? We have heard it said, “What has a working man to do with religion?” and we have heard others of another grade in life affirm that persons who are in business cannot afford time for religion, but had better mind the main chance. The Lord have mercy upon your folly! Here is one great obstacle to the gospel, the stolid indifference of the human mind concerning this grandest of all conceptions—God’s glorifying his dear Son by having mercy upon sinners.

At the bottom the real reason for the refusal of those in the parable was that they were disloyal, they would not come to the supper because they saw an opportunity for the loyal to be glad, and not being loyal they did not wish to hear the songs and acclamations of others who were. By staying away they insulted the king, and declared that they cared not whether he was a king or not, whether his son was a prince or not. They determined to disavow their allegiance by refusing the invitation. They said in effect, “Anyhow, if he be a king and his son a prince, we will do him no honor, we will not be numbered with those who surround his board and show forth his splendor. No doubt a feast is worth having, and such a feast as there will be provided t’were well for us to participate in, but for once we will deny our appetites that we may indulge our pride. We proclaim a revolt. We declare we will not go.” Ah, ye who believe not in Jesus, at the bottom of it your unbelief is enmity to your Maker, sedition against the great Ruler of the universe, who deserves your homage. “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib,” but ye know not, neither do ye consider; ye are rebels against the Majesty of heaven.

Moreover, the refusal was a slight to the prince as well as to his father, and in some cases the gospel is refused mainly with this intent, because the unbeliever rejects the deity of Christ, or despises his atonement. O sirs, beware of this, I know of no rock more fatal than to dishonor Christ by denying his sonship and his deity. Split not upon it, I beseech you—”Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little.” Indifference covered the refusal in the text, “they made light of it,” but if you take off the film you will see that at the bottom there was treason against the majesty of the king, and distaste to the dignity of his son.

No doubt some of them despised the feast itself. They must have known that with such a king it could not be a starveling meal, but they pretended to despise the feast. How many there are who despise the gospel which they do not understand, I say which they do not understand, for almost invariably if you hear a man depreciate the gospel, you will find that he has scarcely even read the New Testament and is a utter stranger to the doctrines of grace. Listen to a man who is voluble in condemnation of the gospel, and you may rest assured that he is fond because he is empty. If he understood the subject better he would find, if he were indeed a man of candour, that he would be led at least to be silent in admiration if he did not become loyal in acceptance.

Beloved friends, the feast is such as you greatly need, let me tell you what it is. It is pardon for the past, renewal of nature for the present, and glory for the future. Here is God to be our helper, his Son to be our shepherd, the Spirit to be our instructor. Here is the love of the Father to be our delight, the blood of the Son to be our cleansing, the energy of the Holy Spirit to be life from the dead to us. You cannot want anything that you ought to want, but what is provided in the gospel, and Jesus Christ will be glorified if you accept it by faith. But here is the hindrance, men do not accept it, “they would not come.” Some of us thought that if we put the gospel in a clear light, and if we were earnest in stating it our hearers must be converted, and God forbid we should ever try to do otherwise than make it plain and be earnest, but for all that the best ministry that ever was, or ever could be, will be unsuccessful in a measure; yea, and altogether so, unless the effectual work of the Spirit be present. Still will the cry go up, “Who hath believed our report?” Still will those who serve their Master best, have reason to mourn that they sow on stony ground, and cast their bread on thankless waters. Even the prince of preachers had to say, “Ye search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, but ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” Alas, alas, that mercy should be rejected and heaven spurned.

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