I. Establish the text
A. Select the Pericope: Gospel Matthew 22:1-14
C. Other texts for Year A, Sunday October 9th Ordinary Time
D. Brainstorm: What questions/thoughts come to mind?
2 What would a wedding banquet for Jesus include?
II. Literary Study.
B. What parallel passages exist? How do they differ? How does this author’s intent differ from other authors? Is the text used elsewhere?
- Luke 14:15-24
- Thomas 64
- If from a common source, Matthew has substantially modified the text to satisfy his own purposes.
C. Review syntax/meanings of critical words, phrases, idioms
- The king sends out /douloi/, frequently translated slaves, but also servants.
III. Question the text.
F. How will this text be heard by individuals in the congregation, including the preacher?
- Compare with satirical list of reasons not to bathe.
- Hearers are asking themselves: “Where am I in this scene?”
IV. What do the commentaries have to say about the text?
Eugene Boring, The New Interpreter’s Bible, “The Gospel of Matthew”. Boring analyzes this passage as an allegory: The king corresponds to God; the feast to eternal salvation; the invited guests to Israel; the initial invitation to Abraham’s covenant, … Joshua’s covenant; the first two round of servants who remind the guests to the prophets; the final set of servants correspond to Christian missionaries; and the donning of wedding robes to conversion; thus several are invited (Israel and gentiles) but few are chosen ekletos (elected). Boring makes a jump that the wedding robes of the elect are fabricated by the fruits of their actions based on the previous parables and Romans 9-11 and 1Cor 10:12. We may get into the feast based on grace alone, but our election is demonstrated by our fruits.
Robert Grundy, Matthew: A Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grundy links this parable with the preceding two noting that the first (the two sons) addresses the call to repentance by John the Baptist, the second (the ungrateful tenants) addresses the work of the prophets and Jesus Christ, and the third addresses the work of the church.
V. With respect to the hearers (including the preacher), What does this text want to say and do?
Those times when my sermons were best received,
when parishioners came up and said: “I felt you were preaching directly to me,”
were those times when I was preaching to myself. — Rabbi Chet Diamond