|Part One: Jesus before Easter
A Story Jesus Told: The Party
With the Kingdom
of Heaven it’s like a
king giving a wedding feast for his son. He invites all the notable people of
the kingdom, the ones who have the most to gain from being on the good side of
the future king. They’re all too busy to show up for something as impractical
as a wedding feast. They even kill the king’s messengers so they will no longer
be distracted from their important work. The king has two responses. First he
kills those self-important louts and burns their city. Then he sends his
servants out to invite to the wedding anyone they find on the streets until the
hall is filled. (Matthew 22:1-14)
of Jesus’ parables it starts out with a perfectly normal situation that anyone
could relate to and suddenly turns totally weird. Even if you could believe the
failure of the invited guests to attend, would they really kill the messengers?
And why would the king kill them and burn their city?
could have been the situation in Jesus’ life that caused him to make up such an
unlikely tale with such harsh consequences for some and unexpected delights for
others? Jesus was preaching a message about God’s Kingdom, and he was getting
some negative feedback, to say the least. In the next stories I’ll try to get a
grip on the nature of that negative feedback. Meanwhile we learn something
about God from a story Jesus told and from what appears to be Jesus’ practice:
God likes to party. More precisely, God wants to party with us.
Thinking about the main point: What does this say about God’s love? Do we settle for love’s
traditional definition—steadfastly willing the good of another, even when that
other doesn’t deserve it and probably won’t return anything like love? That
sounds like really hard work. (The Catholic Church recently showed its appreciation for the
Protestant insight that we are saved by grace in faith and not by works.) Or is love
fundamentally something else? Maybe Jesus’ example of loving contains a lot of simply
liking. Maybe liking is part of what Jesus has in mind when he says, “Love your
enemies.” Maybe God just likes us?
On to The Miracles