Before examining the parable of Marriage Feast and the Great Supper, let’s first read the two passages from the Scriptures:
The parable of the Marriage Feast
“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).
The parable of the Great Supper
“Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. ‘For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper’” (Luke 14:16-24).
It is clear that the parable of the Marriage Feast (Matthew 22:1-14) has a lot in common with the parable of the Great Supper (Luke 14:16–24). For this reason, some Bible scholars have determined that the likenesses in both refer that they are the same. But their decision denies Jesus the privilege to use the same story on different occasions and changing its details to fit the needs of His listeners. The following differences seem to indicate clearly the separateness of the two parables:
- The parable of the Great Supper was narrated in the home of a Pharisee; the Marriage Feast was narrated in the Temple courts.
- The first banquet was given by a common man; the second by a king.
- The first was simply a social occasion; the second was a marriage feast in honor of the king’s son.
- In the first, the focus was placed upon the weak excuses offered by those who declined the invitation; in the second, upon the preparation necessary on the part of invited guests.
- In the first, excuses are offered; in the second, no excuses are given.
- In the first, carelessness was shown to the messengers; in the second, some were persecuted and killed.
- In the first, the only penalty imposed upon those who declined the invitation was elimination from the feast; in the second, those who declined were destroyed.
In His service,
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