I need to be accurate and say, while I believe that to be true, that’s not exactly what Jesus says in Matthew 22. He says that the kingdom of heaven is like a king who planned a wedding reception for his son.
Right from the start, Jesus connects with his audience. For the people who were listening, a wedding reception was more than hors d’ oeuvres at 3:00pm. It was a feast, it was a celebration, it was an “invite all the neighbors” event.
And that was for a normal person.
For the son of the king it would be beyond a normal person’s imagination. Food and drink beyond limit. Entertainment. A flood of experiences that would be remembered for decades as the standard by which all other parties would be measured.
Everyone listening to Jesus talk would be thinking of the magnitude of the event…and the remoteness of the event.
After all, would everyone be invited to the wedding banquet for the king’s son? Who could imagine that? There might be leftovers. There might be additional work for all the freelance neighborhood waitstaff. But not everyone would be expecting an invitation.
The audience around Jesus is listening to the story about the king’s party.
Jesus says, “He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come” and the autocomplete in everyone’s head fills in the names of the best people they know and they start looking forward to the guests arriving and everyone being in awe of the preparations.
It’s the kind of story we love.
“but they refused to come.”
The imagination of everyone listening came to a screeching stop. This was not going to be an ordinary story.
Of course, the kingdom of heaven is not an ordinary place.