Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Matthew Chapter 22

Jesus’s discourse in the temple, begun in Chapter 21 is continued here. There are five basic section here: the first on which is a parable (vv. 1-14).  In my translation, this section is called “The Parable of the Marriage Feast.”

A word about marriage feasts (sometimes called wedding banquets) in Scripture. The image is one that is common to Scripture. Meals in general are signs of community among peoples; in ancient culture they were remarkably formal affairs with certain protocols. Think of the Passover meal in Exodus- very organized. Throughout Scripture though, marriage feasts are signs of our intimate communion with God.  Take a second and flip to the Book of Revelations… notice of how Heaven is portrayed…a wedding banquet. A husband and wife are joined together in a covenantal union, a marriage, and that marriage symbolizes the union of God with each one of us. And to celebrate that union, to ‘consummate’ that marriage, a banquet is held. Heaven, total communion with God, is portrayed as a wedding banquet.

There are two things to keep in mind as we read this parable. There are two dimensions, two meanings here: the first is in the present- the Eucharist is a wedding banquet, a marriage feast. Jesus’s total gift to us facilitates a total union with us- there is nothing ore intimate than consuming the Body and Blood of the God who Loves us.  Secondly, there is a dimension that looks into the future. The Eucharist is a sacrament, a symbol, a sign that points to the ultimate reality of total union with God in Heaven. What is accomplished only partially in the Eucharist now on earth will be fully accomplished when we enter into Heaven- the Marriage Feast of Heaven: The Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

Also in this chapter, Jesus gives the Greatest Commandment (vv. 37-39). Jesus boils down the Ten Commandments and the other 600-some odd laws of the Old Covenant into two simple commandments. Talk about a summary! Only Jesus could teach that plainly!

Point for Prayer
Pray with your own imagination: ask the Lord to seed within you a desire to be at His Wedding Feast every Sunday, and for all eternity.

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