Matthew 22:8–10 -Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
I want to tell you up front that what I’m about to say may seem pretty harsh, but I think it’s worth pondering. You’ve been warned. Ready for it?
Most Christians would probably not have liked Jesus very much.
Not too long-ago Christi came across an article in which the author pointed out that American Christians tend to try to “keep the peace” by avoiding difficult topics. This mindset ends up producing the very division it is seeking to avoid because issues are buried rather than worked through. One of the consistent themes of the Bible is that more often than not peace only comes when we are willing to walk through conflict.
Jesus wasn’t afraid to step into conflict, particularly when it came to the religious people of his day. In Matthew 22 he tells a parable that is specifically designed to send a message to the religious people: God is having a party, and you are no longer invited. Not only are they no longer invited, but the people who will be taking their place are effectively random. The servants are asked to invite anyone they can find, regardless of their personal credentials.
This is why I don’t think we’d like the real Jesus if we met him. We’d be offended if Jesus was going around telling people they weren’t invited to God’s party, let alone if Jesus said it to us. That’s just not how good, decent people talk. In fact, if we saw Jesus walking around talking that way, it’s likely that we’d want to remove him from our communities, which is exactly what the religious leaders ultimately tried to do.
Some people loved Jesus, even as they met him and walked with him and saw the way he confronted things that were wrong and spoke bold truth when necessary. Those people were the outcasts, the marginalized, the people who also were kicked out of the community, the people just going through life as if they were walking up and down the main road. The reason they loved Jesus is because they realized that they were the ones who received an invitation to God’s party, even though they knew that they didn’t deserve it.
How we would have felt about Jesus is dependent on what we think about ourselves. Do you think you deserve an invite to God’s party, or are you overjoyed that a messenger found you on the road and brought you to the feast?