Some time back, our pastor, Ric, spoke on the “kingdom” parables in Matthew. Usually we assume that the King or the Manager in a parable is God.
Really? The parable of the King’s banquet is among those difficult to reconcile as a foretaste of God’s Kingdom, to be desired by us. Ric dared to propose a different interpretation.
The story, briefly: The King was giving a wedding banquet, but all the invitees declined, with various excuses. The King got mad at them, imposed punishments, and had his servants drag in people from the street to fill the banquet hall. Then he saw a person not properly dressed, took him to task, and when he had no answer, had him thrown out into the dungeon.
What happened here? Ric suggested the invitees didn’t like the King; they wanted nothing to do with him. No wonder: He demonstrated his meanness by punishing them for declining his invitation.
Apparently in those days people would be given special clothes for attending such a grand event. If so, one man was missed with the clothing gift; surely that was not his fault!? But he was severely punished.
So, is this a story of God’s Kingdom, or does it remind us of the world’s demagogues? And is what happened to that unfortunate under-dressed man, what happened to Jesus?
What if many of the parables starting with “The kingdom is like…” are actually depictions of the kingdoms of this world?