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themselves in self-conscious opposition against the Lord; who, knowing what he is, do yet to the end oppose themselves to him and to his kingdom." See the story of “The Rejected Corner Stone” in 1902 Select Notes, p. 50.

LIVE WIRES. The parables may seem far away from us, but from them there come live wires conveying living truths to our souls and to our nation to-day.

To go on in sin against all the moral laws of God, is to be like a grasshopper before a mowing machine. The laws of God will crush us unless we get out of their way, by obedience.

“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;

Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.' REFUSING SALVATION. “ When a steamer was on fire at sea, and all were in despair of being saved, another vessel hove in sight, and made rapidly for her. Despair was turned to joyful hope. At last the vessel comes close by, and boats are lowered and come alongside. Many jump into the water and are rescued. Others slide down ropes, and are caught as they descend. But clinging to the bulwarks, where the fire must soon reach them, are a number of dazed passengers, who have not presence of mind enough to seize a rope as it is thrown to them and who fear to jump overboard. Those in the boats below cannot get up to them ; but they shout to them to catch and make fast the rope, so that they may descend by it ; but they cannot understand. They are begged to jump into the water, but they are afraid they will be drowned. At last two sailors, at peril of their lives, get up to the place, and try to push them off, or to make them descend, and otherwise to compel them to come into the boats waiting to save them. Some they persuade, some they force; but a few resist till it is too late. Two, quite crazed, 'will not risk themselves in a ship again, for a fire at sea is too horrible. And so a few at last go down with the ship, be. cause they would not yield to entreaty or force. Such is the folly of refusing salvation.”

9.

LESSON XI. — September 11. THE KING'S MARRIAGE FEAST. Matthew 22: 1-14.

COMMIT vs. 8, GOLDEN TEXT. – Many are called, but few are chosen. - Matt. 22: 14.

INDUCTIVE STUDY OF THE LESSON. COMPARE this parable with the similar one in Luke 14: 15–24, spoken three months before in Perea.

From other comparisons of the kingdom of heaven to a marriage feast, learn the best
things that apply to our lesson to-day:
Isa. 25: 6;
Isa. 61: 10;

Eph. 5: 25-30;
Isa. 54: 5-8;
Isa. 62: 4, 5;

Rev. 3: 20;
Isa. 55: 1, 2;
Jer. 3: 14, 15;

Rev. 19: 7-9.
Hos. 2: 19, 20;

THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS. them toil all day in cutting down trees, with

coarse food and little rest. The next day The teacher may approach this lesson by he brought them to a great banquet, with telling the children the story of the way abundant meat and rich wines in profusion, Cyrus the Great persuaded his army to enter and bade them feast and be merry. They upon his plans of conquest. It is given at

enjoyed it all the more after the hard fare of length in Abbott's Cyrus the Great. For the previous day, and joined in merry songs, those who have not access to that book the

and tales, and dances. At evening Cyrus story is here given in a condensed form.

called them together, and asked which When Cyrus the Great desired to enlist the

service they liked best. Then he said to Persian warriors to join in his plans, he as- them, “ If you follow me, you will enjoy sembled the army on a certain day, and ease, abundance, and luxury. If you refuse, provided each with an He then you must toil on in privations and hardships marched them into the forest, and made as you do now, and so end your days."

axe.

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LEARN BY HEART.
V. 10; Rev. 22: 17; Matt. 11: 28–30.

THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING.

Time. — Tuesday, April 4, A.D. 30. Three days before the Crucifixion.

Place. — The Temple Court at Jerusalem.

Place in the Life of Christ. — Jesus' last day of public teaching. His last efforts to persuade the people to accept him as their Messiah.

THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.

THE ROUND TABLE.
FOR RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION.
The circumstances in which the parable was spoken,

and its purpose.
In what respects is the kingdom of heaven like a

feast?
Oriental customs of invitation.
Who were represented by those first invited ?
Who by those in the highways?
The historical facts thus represented.
The wedding garment.
Was the punishment the natural result of the sin ?
Meaning of v. 14.

Commentaries, and Works on the Parables, such as those by Taylor, Trench,' Bruce, Arnot, Michell.

Trumbull's Individual Work for In. dividuals.

The Gospel according to the enemy. “The Just Host,'' by T. Newton Owen. (E. B. Treat.)

Trumbull's Studies in Oriental Life, “Hospitality in the East.”

Goebel (324-378) is very happy in his interpretation of these three parables.

In relation to the literary structure of chaps. 23-25, and the principle of grouping observed in the whole section from chap. 21,

“ Matthew, Mark, General Epistles' in the “ Modern Reader's Bible.”

see

PLAN OF THE LESSON. SUBJECT: The Urgent Invitation to

the Kingdom of Heaven.
I. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN COMPARED

TO A WEDDING FEAST.
II. THE INVITATION.
III. THE INVITATION REFUSED.
IV. THE RESULTS OF THE REFUSAL.

V. THE INVITATION TRANSFERRED.
VI. THE WEDDING GARMENT.

THE LESSON IN LITERATURE.

Bonar's Poems “ Yet there is room." “ The Wedding Garment”.

in Lyra Eucharistica.

1. And Jesus answered land spake again in parables unto them, asasins, parables, and said, 2. The kingdom of heaven is like

likened

unto a certain king, which made a marriage feast for his son,

I Luke 14: 16.

Jesus Continues His Efforts to Persuade the People to Become True Mem. bers of the Kingdom of Heaven. His Arguments Are Presented in a Parable. I. The Kingdom of Heaven Like a Wedding Feast.

Vs. 1, 2. And Jesus answered the unspoken needs, desires, and questions of the people. By parables, the most picturesque method, compelling attention, but not antagonistic. The enemy could not easily attack it, while to those who wished to know it was full of light.

2. The kingdom of heaven, the new order which he came to establish on earth, in which each citizen lived according to the laws of heaven.

THE KING represented God.
THE SON was Jesus Christ.

THE MARRIAGE FEAST. The Greek (one word) is plural like our " nuptials,” express. ing the many forms of joy, and kinds of entertainment. Being a royal marriage expresses the highest degree of each and every blessing:

This feast represents all the blessings which God has provided in his Gospel, enjoyed in large measure here, and perfected in heaven (see Isa. 25: 6; 55: 1-3).

1. The emphasis is on the marriage, the union between Christ and his people. It is the highest ideal of love and friendship. It expresses intimate fellowship with God, the mutual love and delight in one another, the protecting care on the one hand and perfect trust on the other, the unity of purpose, of character, of hope, the abiding forever in one perfect home, all of which belong to the union of Christ with believers (Isa. 61: 10; 62: 5; Hos. 2: 19; Matt. 9: 15; John 3: 29; Eph. 5: 31, 32).

And

3. and

sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding:

and they would not come. marriage feast :

4. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which bidden, Behold, I have made head, my dinner : 1 my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things ready: come

unto the marriage

are

are

are

feast.

I Prov. 9: 2.

2. Coleridge's words are true of the highest spiritual love.

“ All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of love,

And feed its sacred flame."

3. Some of the things provided for the guests at this feast are forgiveness of sin, new hearts and right spirits, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the abiding presence of Jesus, the care and love and promises of God, new revelations of truth, great opportunities of useful. ness, eternal life.

Indeed there are found satisfactions for every want, desire, longing, and thirst of the soul, in the greatest abundance.

Enough for each, enough for all, enough forevermore." 4. It is social. The feast shall be enjoyed with saints and angels, in the presence of God and his Son. Each joy is increased because there is not a joy but can be enjoyed by all.

They eat and drink, and in communion sweet quaff immortality and joy.” Milton. No one suffers hunger in the kingdom of God. Every cup is full to the brim and overflowing.

" He bade many." 5. And all these joys are eternal. They do not fade or cloy in the using, but grow richer, fuller, nobler, more perfect as years of eternity roll on.

ILLUSTRATION. One of Trench's poems, “ The Monk and the Bird,” is the story of a monk who feared lest he should in heaven grow weary of the monotony of goodness and worship, and even the joys of Paradise should cloy the soul, and dull the sense of delight, like Rasselas in the Happy Valley.

6. We learn from what God does in nature what he is doing in grace. The natural world is a great feast. It contains blessings, enjoyments, powers, freely offered to all men beyond their highest dreams. All that has been given to this gen. eration, in their highest civilization, in steam, light, electricity, knowl. edge, music, art, litera. ture, has been freely offered to all ages; and these but show how many greater and better things God has waiting for us, to which all that has yet been received is but as the spray to the ocean, a handful of wheat to a broad harvest field. II. The Invitation.

From a Photograph by Forder. s. 3, 4. And sent

Fattening or Cramming Sheep in Lebanon for a Feast. forth his servants to call them that were bidden. Literally, “ to call the called,” to summon those who had previously been invited; because they had no timepieces, and the hour when the feast could be ready was very uncertain. This custom is not now observed “very strictly among the

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Vs.

own

5. But they made light of it; and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise : 6. And the remain toakn his servants, and entreated them shitettuly;, and loved

,

them. them.

which that

7. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they

were bidden were not a worthy. 9. Go ye therefore

the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage feast.

those servants went out into the highways, and 3 gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good : and the wedding

into
unto the partings of

10.

So
And

was

furnished

filled

with guests.

i Dan. 9: 26; Luke 19 : 27.

2 Matt. 10: 11; Acts 13 : 46.

3 Matt. 13 : 38.

common people, nor in cities where western manners have greatly modified the Oriental; but in Lebanon it still prevails. If a sheik begs, or emeer invites, he always sends a servant to call you at the proper time." - Dr. Thomson in Land and Book.

These having refused to come, he sent forth other servants, who were “not merely to invite to, but to commend the feast, with a view to create a desire.” Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings, i.e., smaller animals, as lambs, calves, specially fed for the occasion. All things are ready: come. There was no threatening, but only a loving, earnest invitation, as if they might have misunderstood the first invitation, or not realized its value.

All the good things in the feast described above were an invitation.

The very fact of preparing the feast, and the sending out of the servants, were an invi. tation; and both reinforced with emphasis the verbal call of the servants.

III. How the Invitation Was Received. — Vs. 3-6. 1. They refused without giving any reason, they would not come. They simply did not regard the invitation as worth attending to. They treated it with indifference.

2. They plead other interests. Their farm duties, their business gains, weighed more than their king's service and good will.

3. Others displayed active opposition. They did not like the king. They hated his rule, his commands, his enforcement of law. These interfered with their unjust gains. NOTE. There is a great difference between excuses and reasons.

These persons proceeded not to give their real reasons for their conduct, but to render the most plausible excuses they could find. “ It is not usual for invitations to royal dinner parties to go a-beg. ging, but the improbability of the incident is the very point of it."- Maclaren.

Their excuses were like the one“ which Mark Twain's Oriental made for himself when, having declined to lend an axe, saying he needed it himself to use in eating soup, and being reminded that one does not eat soup with an axe, he replied: When one is determined not to do a thing, any excuse is good enough.'

IV. The Results of the Great Refusal.-V.7. The king . . . was wroth. Any ordinary earthly king would be angry at the insult, and indignant at the folly of those that refused, and would feel the necessity of punishing those who openly rebelled in the act of refusing. There was no other way of preserving his kingdom. God's "

"anger is never passion, never desire to harm even the worst of beings, but a burning indignation against wrong, against the ruin of his children and of the hope of the world, and also a feeling of the necessity of punishing wrong doing in order to save all.

V. The Invitation Transferred. Vs. 8-10. God's plans never fail, but if one instrumentality refuses to carry them out, others are chosen to take its place.

8. They which were bidden were not worthy, as they had shown by their treatment of their opportunities.

9. Go ye therefore into the highways. Or, " the partings of the highways,” the cross-roads, the places where great numbers meet, “the broad, well-trodden ways of the world.”

10. Gathered together all . . . both bad and good, whoever was willing to come and by that very act showed that they wanted to be good.

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THE HISTORICAL APPLICATION TO THE TIME OF CHRIST. The meaning of this Parable is very plain as applied to the Time of Jesus; and this his. torical fulfilment is of especial value by the re-inforcement of its principles when applied to our own day.

THE MARRIAGE FEAST to them was the reign of the Messiah with all its blessings, and the fulfilment of all the glorious promises scattered like stars all through their history. There had been nothing so great, so victorious, so blessed, so useful, as the possibilities presented to the Jews.

ALL THINGS Now READY. The fulness of the time had come. The preparations were complete. Everything was prepared for the redemption of man, - heaven, love, the atonement, the strongest motives, the power of the Holy Spirit

. The world was in the best condition for the coming of Christ. Never before or since has there been so fitting a time, - one government, one language, peace, roads, synagogues of the Jews everywhere. The slaying of the animals is an allusion to sacrifice. Only when the Lamb was slain on Cal. vary were all things ready for the marriage. The long preparations for the Gospel were completed; the forerunner had done his work; Jesus himself had come from heaven, and had taught the Jews the divine message, and even now he was uttering his last words. The time had come when the Jews must decide whether they would accept the Messiah or not.

How THEY HAD TREATED THOSE WHO BROUGHT THE INVITATION. As a nation they had failed to come up to the service of God. Some were indifferent, some were too busy with worldly things, and some persecuted and slew the prophets who came to them with the message from God. There was always an inner circle, one widening and growing even to the time of Christ.

But as a nation they rejected the invitation, and they continued to reject it till they had crucified their Messiah, and persecuted his followers that proclaimed the king. dom in his name.

The leading Jews had very much at stake, — their country, their holy city, their temple, their synagogues, their rank and wealth, their leadership of the people. They were so busy with these, they were so afraid they would lose them if they accepted the humble Nazarene as their teacher, and obeyed his precepts, that they were unwilling even to consider his claims.

They did not want to give these up for Christ. It would require a great change in their conduct. They were “ whited sepulchers.” They were un. clean within. They must change their hearts as well as lives if they would par. take of the gospel feast.

THE RESULT OF THE REFUSAL. The Jews threw away their opportunity. The kingdom of heaven must be ruled by heaven's laws, and those who will not be righteous, and live according to those laws cannot inherit the kingdom.

He sent forth his armies. Better, troops, soldiers. Those persons and those forces, whether consciously or unconsciously, whether animate or inani.

Highways and By ways in a City. mate, which accomplish God's purposes of judgment. They may be angels, or earthquakes, or remorse of conscience, or the literal armies of the nations. Without doubt, here the reference is to the Roman armies under Titus, which destroyed Jerusalem. “ The angels which ruined the Jews were War, Famine, and Pestilence." We may add the selfish passions which prevented them from uniting against Titus. And destroyed those murderers, and burned up

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