Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
The Kingdom, Part 13
We have been exploring some of the parables that Jesus’ used in His teachings about how individuals may enter into the Kingdom. Yesterday, as an introduction to the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, we reflected upon the length of our engagements and discovered there was a time when most were 18-24 months or longer (and, in fact, these periods of engagement are similar in our society). Today, we will focus on some of the Jewish customs surrounding betrothal and marriage to help us understand the significance of the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, (Lk. 14:15-21).
It was the Jewish custom for the parents of the bride-and-groom-to-be to prepare a contract of marriage. In fact, the couple might not have even met each other until that contract was solidified. Interestingly, at that moment, they were considered married, but they wouldn’t be together as husband and wife until the actual wedding ceremony. During the time apart, the groom would be gathering resources and building a house in preparation for bringing his bride home. ) Those preparations could take the groom a year or longer to finalize. However, when he was ready, he would return, unannounced, and the wedding ceremony and banquet would take place. The partying and celebrating could easily continue for a week! The groom would then get his bride, and take her home to live with him.
Knowing the Jewish customs helps us to understand the Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Luke 14: 15-24). Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to the Jewish Wedding Banquet. The Save-the-Date invitations were certainly sent out in plenty of time—at least one year in advance, possibly more. So those whom were invited had plenty of time to clear their schedules. But, when all was ready for the banquet, those invited came up with flimsy excuses and declined to attend the feast. So the King was enraged, and sent his guards out to compel individuals to come to the banquet table, which was filled with many of the disenfranchised folks.
Does the Parable of the Wedding Banquet sound familiar? Jesus, the Bridegroom, left His assurances that He was going to get a place ready for us. When everything is ready, He promised to come back, without notice, for His Bride—those of us who have received salvation and are following Him. (Jn. 14:1-4) And He will accept those whom have replied to His invitation: “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.,” (Jn. 3:16, NCV).
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)