"And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: '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 servant, "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'" (Matt. 22:1-14).
The phrase, "And Jesus answered," seems strange since there is no record of Jesus being asked anything here. He is not answering a question or an argument from them, but He is addressing their violent intentions (cf. Matt. 21:46).
The parable Jesus is about to speak is similar to the parable of the great supper (cf. Luke 14:16-24). However, there are some significant differences. In the parable in Luke, a certain man is giving a great supper and has invited his friends. They reject his invitation but no mention is made of specific negative consequences. This parable in Matthew is more severe in that those who reject the king's invitation are destroyed. Certainly Jesus' words on this occasion are more explicit and harsh because His situation with the religious leaders is at a critical level. Jesus wants everyone to know that to reject Him (and the gospel invitation) will only lead to devastation (cf. Matt. 21:41; 22:7).
"The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son" - The king represents God the Father and the son is Jesus. The marriage represents the union of Christ and His bride (i.e., the church; cf. Eph. 5:23ff; Rev. 21:9ff).
He "sent out his servants to call those who were invited" - The servants represent John the baptizer, the apostles, and others who proclaimed the gospel message prior to A.D. 70. The Jews, for the most part, rejected these messengers of God.
"Again, he sent out other servants" - In truth, servants were sent out on many occasions (cf. 21:36) to invite certain ones (i.e., the Jews) to come to the wedding feast. The supper represents salvation as a feast of good things (cf. Eph. 1:3; e.g., eternal life [Mark 10:30], earthly needs [Matt. 6:33], God's providence [Rom. 8:28], abundant life now [John 10:10], etc.).
The king declared in Matthew 22:4 - "All things are ready" (cf. Gal. 4:4). However, the Jews mocked the gospel and persecuted its messengers (cf. Matt. 22:6; Luke 11:49-51; e.g., the book of Acts).
"But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city." It seems almost certain that Jesus had the destruction of Jerusalem in mind as He spoke this parable. The Roman army was God's army as He used it to destroy Jerusalem (and its "murderers") in A.D. 70 (e.g., Jer. 25:9).
We will continue studying this parable in our next lesson.