There are many ways that we as Christians know God. We speak of Him as a lover, shepherd, healer and teacher. The one we rarely lift up is judge. His role as a judge is half of a whole character. God is both merciful and just. If God is a judge then how will he judge? Do we know what His standards will be?
The parable of wedding banquet give us the best understanding of the standard and severity of God’s judgement.
2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11″But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”
To open the parable we see that God has selected and judged that only a few are worthy to come to the banquet. He sends out the messengers to retrieve those God had desired to be there. Unfortunately, those people did not desire to come. God sent His servants out again only this time they were mocked and killed. Here come the judgement part. God sends out His troops and destroyed those who would insult Him.
The next part of the parable is resolved to the fact that there is a royal banquet taking place and the table is empty. So God sends out His servants to gather whoever they can find to invite them in. A ton of people show up and all seems to be well with the kingdom. However, there is one among them who is unprepared for the banquet and is bound and cast out from the banquet.
Many are called, few are chosen.
To understand the parable the best way to grasp it is to understand the roles. In the first half of the parable we see a chosen people and servants sent to call them to God. Obviously the king is God in the parable. God’s chosen people are the nation of Israel and the servants calling them to His table would be the prophets. We see here what happens to those who were called in the Old Testament and mocked and killed the servants who were delivering the message. In the end God will judge those who will not answer the call.
In the second half of the parable we see God call anyone and everyone. The anyone and everyone is the world. All the peoples of the world are now invited to the banquet. This is the message of the New Testament. Christ died for all. This would be very loving if this is where it ended but the open invitation is just a sign of His mercy. The justice part comes at the end. As he invites everybody to a royal banquet everyone who came except one man were dressed for the occasion. They all came prepared to take part in something amazing. However, the man who just showed up completely unprepared God casts out into the darkness.
This parable holds all the truth about the justice God has. In the Old Testament only a few were chosen to come. They didn’t come. In the New Testament all are invited to come, but only those who come prepared to be a part of the kingdom will enter. God’s judges harshly to those who don’t come or come unprepared. God also has prepared an amazing feast for those who come and come prepared.
Now that you know how He judges there is only one question left….are you prepared?