Go Luke (Blue)!
After publicly declaring my allegiance to a basketball team on Sunday, I was left disappointed Sunday night. In case you are not a fan of college basketball, Michigan State University beat the University of Michigan (for the third time) in the Big Ten Conference championship game Sunday evening.
After worship I had a fair number of folks, with a certain smugness, whisper “Go Green.” It seems we all have a tendency to be fans of one school or the other. And while there is not a lot of love lost between Michigan fans and Michigan State fans, maybe we have more in common than we think:
We all support an in-state school of higher learning
Both teams are a part of the academic focused Big Ten conference
ALL appreciate it when our teams are successful.
And yet, we still categorize ourselves as either a “Michigan fan” or a “State fan.”
The gospel writers also share a lot in common. They all shared their experience with Jesus Christ, His teachings, the miracles He performed, and the actions He did for the sake of others. And yet they also all had their own way of telling the story.
The parable of the Wedding banquet clearly highlights the way the gospel writers took a similar story and shared it in their own way. On Sunday we will experience this parable from the 22nd chapter of Matthew, but Luke also has a version of this parable in chapter 14 verses 15-24.
Sure, I can be a fan of both Luke and Matthew as gospel writers (Just like I root for MSU….sometimes J) but if I had to choose, truth be told, I would probably be more “Go Luke” than “Go Matthew.”
Luke is a story teller, he’s a narrative guy. He records his experience with Jesus in a human way, highlighting the actions of Jesus in history. If Luke was an artist he would use pastels and water colors. Matthew, on the other hand, would use bold colors and sharp contrasts to highlight his work. Matthew compiles his memories of Jesus in a more systematic way. He wants to make a point: Jesus is not only a fantastic teacher, but also the promised messiah. Matthew challenges his readers to think critically and then commit themselves fully to the way of Jesus.
Luke’s version of this story has an emphasis on the invitational nature of the Wedding host; his willingness to abandon the guest list and literally invite ANYONE to the feast. Matthew shares that basic impulse of the host but throws in two crazy details about the repercussions for those who reject the invitation or don’t take it seriously enough. I want to preach on the Luke version of the story, the inclusive nature of the invitation of the host, not get distracted by these crazy rabbit trails of Matthew. Alas, maybe Matthew is exactly where we need to be.
In preparation for this Sunday, I encourage you to take a minute and read the parable of the wedding banquet from both accounts- Matthew and Luke. What do you see as similar? What differences do you notice? What point is each author trying to make?
While the gospel of Luke’s version is much “easier,” for me to imagine preaching, my hunch is that God has something in store for us as we dig into the Matthew version too. For it’s not the team, or the gospel writer that we are fans of… We dig into these parables to encounter someone much more worthy of our praise.
Feel free to use the comments below to share with us what you think-- we’d love to hear from you.
Grace & Peace,
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
22 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The Parable of the Great Dinner
15 One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 Then Jesus[a] said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. 17 At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ 20 Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ 23 Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you,[b] none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”