Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 26th

An Invitation to Joy

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

Matthew 22:2-3

This is clearly our Lord's prediction that the gospel message, with its invitation to worship the Son, is to go out to all the world. Everyone is invited. It does not make any difference whether they have a respectable reputation or are disreputable in the eyes of society. No matter who they are, they are invited. We know that history has confirmed that this pattern has been followed exactly. The gospel has gone out to all the world, and through the centuries, many have come in response.

But that is only the understanding of this parable which lies right on the surface. We would miss a great deal if that were all we saw, because it has a deeper significance. Notice that this occasion is a wedding feast. These are joyful occasions marked by gladness, music, and laughter. In fact, sometimes people work up such elevated spirits that it is hard to keep them out of trouble. That is why you often find the bride and groom driving off in a car that is a disgrace to behold, dragging old cans and shoes behind them. It is an expression of the gladness of the occasion.

It is important for us to understand that this is the way our Lord characterized God's invitation — the gospel. It is not an invitation to a funeral, even though some people act as though becoming a Christian is equivalent to being soaked in formaldehyde. It is an invitation to joy. It is an invitation to life. We will never understand the gospel unless we understand it in those terms. God is inviting people to come alive, to discover what makes life exciting, challenging, wonderful.

Notice also the nature of the call here. It is an invitation. It is not a summons from the draft board to report for duty; it is an invitation which recognizes the right of the ones invited to reject, if they so desire. It is without coercion or compulsion. When God offers to us this marvelous gift of life in Jesus Christ, he does not threaten us. He does not try to coerce or compel us to come; he offers it as an invitation which we are free to accept, or reject, if we want to. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Come if you really want to live, is the nature of the invitation.

Father, thank you for the invitation to a life that is full of joy and excitement. May this move my heart to experience anew what it means to be set free from the weight of my sins, to be given the gift of life in Jesus, and to walk daily with him.

Life Application

Have I responded to the invitation of the gospel? Do I see the gospel as an invitation to life and joy or as an invitation to a funeral?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Chance to Live

Listen to Ray