Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity – Sermon 205

9th January 2016 0 By Derek Buckthorpe

16th Sunday after Trinity

10am Holy Communion CW

9th October 2011

Bible References :

  • Add Text Link Here
  • Add Text Link Here
  • Add Text Link Here

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ

 

AMEN

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Last week we heard about the Parable of the wicked tenants – the parable of the vineyard –

 

A Story  in which Jesus made it quite clear who he was directing His message at – and one that would foretell the events of His death in Jerusalem –

 

The end of the story was that those who were in charge and responsible for what had happened  – would be thrown out –  and the vineyard would be given to new owners-

 

In todays Gospel we have another parable that has the same basic message – but this time its about a

King throwing a wedding party for His Son –

 

Everyone who heard it in Jesus’ time – would be in no doubt about who the king was – and  what the wedding party was about –

 

The celebration was to mark the coming of God’s Kingdom –  and in particular – the arrival of the Messiah –  as the Bridegroom –

 

but there’s an added twist –  that the new owners  – would need to be well aware of –

 

Point 1

 

Royal Weddings are spectacular affairs – the sort of event that no one would want to miss – seeing   or being part of –

 

A chance for those who know the bride and groom and their families – to mix with – the ruling hierarchy – and perhaps to meet or speak to the king – or in our case queen.

 

I’m sure those who received a invitation to Williams and Kates wedding would have emptied their diaries of everything else  –  and made sure nothing got in the way – of their preparations to attend –

 

But in Jesus’ parable all these inner circle of guests -who had been invited – had refused the invitation

 

Isreal’s leaders in Jesus’ day – and the many people who followed them – were like guests invited to a wedding party –

 

and it was a party for which they had long been waiting for –

 

In our OT reading Isaiah tells of a great feast – that would be available to Israel – in the celebration of the coming of the Messiah –

 

Food of the finest quality – to sustain us – whatever our circumstances – the finest wines  –  a meal to set us apart from the everyday demands of life –

 

to help us overcome our blindness and fears – and wipe away tears from every face –  even death the universal swallower – will be swallowed up forever –

 

In God’s banquet  – there will be joy for all –

 

And – as we now know  – this great nourishment and saving grace – is provided for us – through His Son Jesus Christ – the great liberator of mankind –

 

Jesus is the food that God offers us at His Table –

who through His words and actions has changed our understanding of God –  and of ourselves-

 

But now the Messiah was here – the chief priest and Pharisees didn’t want to know –

 

They had abused and killed the prophets – who had tried to tell them about it – and the result was that their city Jerusalem  – would be destroyed –

 

As one who has been involved in organising weddings  – their refusal would be a huge disappointment to the father and to the groom – that they had not done their utmost to attend –

 

But what was bad news for them –  was good news for the people who weren’t originally invited –

 

and those people came in droves –

God was sending out messages – to the wrong parts of town – to tell everyone and anyone to come to the party –

 

We don’t have to look too far in the Gospel – to see who they were – the tax collectors – prostitutes – the blind and lame – the nobodies of society – people who thought they had been forgotten –

 

They were thrilled that God’s message was for them –  after all –

 

Second Point

 

But just turning up to the party is not enough –

 

The end of the parable tells  – the story of what happened to one of the guests who was not wearing the right clothes –

 

The king sees him and asks him why he turned up like he was.

 

In Jesus’ time when people came to meet the king – they were given clothes to wear – before they were allowed to go in – the right clothes were a necessary requirement for the occasion and to show honour to the king and his son –

 

I’m sure if one of William and Kate’s guests had turned up in jeans and a teeshirt – someone would have had a quite word with them  – and made sure they would have changed into something more respectful – or they would have quietly ushered them out of the back door – and away from the glare of the cameras.

 

The point of this part of the story is that although the invitation is open – and free – attending requires a certain response from the individual – a response that requires them to put clothes on fit for the occasion –

 

For God these clothes are love, justice, mercy, truth – holiness –  Paul in his letter to the Philippians lists some of the qualities we must strive for – gentleness – prayerfulness – be thankful – faithful –  honourable towards God – to keep on doing the things that you have learned and received from Jesus –

 

if we refuse to put on Godly garments – we are effectively saying -we don’t want to stay at the party –

 

We all like to believe that we are alright – exactly as we are – that to join God’s party we need to just be ourselves – come to church – join in the worship – meet with other Christians –

 

But Jesus is telling us its not enough – as well as attending  –  we also need to change – to clothe ourselves with His righteousness and peace –

 

To put on our own clothes shows that we trust in ourselves  and not Jesus

 

We need to wear clothes that bring honour to God – and show others that we are God’s invited people

 

Point 3        what does it mean for us

 

So what does all this mean for us?

 

Well the first thing is –  be happy –

 

Paul urges us all to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ – always

 

The coming of Jesus Christ and the great blessings and benefits that he brings are worthy of a great celebration –

 

We should accept Him – and all that He gives – listen and follow his teachings – put on the things  that he offers us – and make Him the standard in which we follow –

 

Yes everybody s welcome – but its not all inclusive – moral choices matter – we should not – just – assume that things will be – alright in the end  –  we need to make a positive response to the love that He brings

 

God loves everybody – good and bad – and  He wants everybody to learn from Jesus –

 

If we truly want to receive the ‘peace of God’ – we have to be prepared to accept and respond to the ‘God of peace’

 

ending

 

God has prepared a Spiritual Feast for those who want to join Him –

 

A meal of a lifetime – to transform our lives – and provide us with eternal salvation –

 

the invitations have been sent out and all are welcome – but its up to us whether we give it the priority it deserves –

 

Are we hungry enough for His word – to come and sit at His table and eat –

 

Let there be no doubt as to how we will respond – and whose clothes we will wear!

 

Closing prayer

 

In the  name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

Amen –