Richard Passmore recently posted an interesting interpretation of the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22) on his Sunday Papers blog:
Just looked at this parable with a group and started with the question where is God in the parable?
If see God as with the poor and marginalised he is in the highways and byways. Using this as the startpoint you don’t have the option of seeing the king as god or the son as Jesus and could see the parable as a critique of organized religion or power.
The king is keen to make alliances with the rich farmers and businessmen so invites them to the party to impress them, they are obviously powerful as they have the opportunity and means to kill the servants the king first sent, and the king needs to subdue these people after they killed the servants by the use of force with armies not just a couple of people.
Then in order to not be seen as a loser the king needs to have some people come to the party so invites (coerces?) poorer people to attend. Tradition at the time suggests the grooms father provides the right clothes for the party guests but one person refuses to wear the clothes from the manipulative, politically savvy, violent and coercive monarch. One person refuses to play the game by the rules of the powerful and is cast out into the darkness with the outcasts.
Here we see Jesus as someone not willing to go along with the power plays of the day, someone who stands up for justice, who reads the motives of the powerful and stands outside of those systems. The kingdom is heaven is about putting other people first, standing up for righteousness, speaking out for the voiceless and living in a way that is radically different to (the) established ways of the world.
Passmore sees Jesus as the one cast out of the party rather than the one in whose honour the party is being given!
If you think about it, this interpretation does sort of fit in with the Parable of the Tenants recorded the passage before it in Matthew 22…..
Read Richard Passmore’s article here – and don’t forget to read the comments 🙂
HT: Jonny Baker