Yesterday, we read that Jesus started telling a story about a wedding party for a king’s son. The party was ready and the king sent out servants to tell people that it was time to start. It was the phone call that says, “we are ready to start.”
The invitees refused to come.
So the king sent more servants. He was very precise about what to tell people. “The butchering is done. The steaks are on the grill. Everything is ready. Please come to the party.”
There is nothing demanding about this request. It is designed to help people understand that this is a wonderful event and that, though he could force them or demand that they come, he is leaving them the option to reply.
There is, in the tone of this king, a tenderness. This is, after all, a party for his son and his son’s new bride. He is looking forward to being able to share from his treasures, to be extravagant.
The audience that Jesus is talking to would have been completely engaged, wondering about this king and these peculiar people who he is inviting rather than compelling to come to the party.
Jesus does not leave them wondering long.
“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business.”
Were they unaware that their very business depended on the king’s trade? Were they not thinking about the portion of the crops that was due the king? Were they just so self-absorbed that they couldn’t understand the implications of their actions?
Who knows. Jesus doesn’t linger on those few.
“The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.”
Imagine a party invitation being crumpled and tossed. Demeaning, right? What if the crumpled invitation had been alive?
How would you react?