The royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer held at St. Paul’s Cathedral on July 29, 1981, was famously known as “The Wedding of the Century.” This title was primarily due to the extravagant and lavish atmosphere that permeated the entire event. The wedding was broadcast in 74 countries and captured the attention of 750 million viewers worldwide. In the United Kingdom, the day was even declared a national holiday to allow more people to witness the occasion. A staggering number of over 600,000 spectators filled the streets of London, hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.
While many European leaders received invitations to the wedding, some declined to attend. Among those who declined were Patrick Hillery, the President of the Republic of Ireland at the time, Konstantinos Karamanlis, the President of Greece, as well as King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. Their decisions were based on political disagreements, and unfortunately, they missed the grandeur of the occasion. Although I am unsure of the Queen’s response to these declined invitations, it is safe to assume that she was likely displeased.
On a personal note, I must admit that I excel at declining invitations, especially when it comes to weddings. As a dedicated introvert, I tend to avoid attending weddings and even parties unless it becomes absolutely necessary. Over the past 16 years, I have only attended four weddings. Thankfully, every invitation includes RSVP information, which allows me to politely decline. Interestingly, in the days of Jesus, it was considered impolite and disrespectful to decline an invitation to a Jewish wedding. In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus shared a parable based on this Jewish tradition.
In this parable, the King symbolizes God, while the wedding feast represents the joyous marriage supper of the Lamb. The gospel serves as the invitation to this heavenly celebration. The guests who refused the invitation in the parable represent the religious leaders of Jesus’ time, while the poor, crippled, blind, and lame symbolize the Gentiles. Jesus implies that missing the marriage supper of the Lamb is not an option. Now, let us explore why this is the case. It’s worth noting that this story is a two-in-one parable, with the first part found in Matthew 22:1-9 and the second part in Matthew 22:10-14. I have covered the second parable in my sermon titled, “You Can’t Attend a Wedding Feast in Workout Clothes.“
1. You can’t RSVP because you Matter
When planning a wedding, creating a guest list is one of the top priorities. The immediate family takes precedence, followed by relatives, close friends, co-workers, friends of the family, and, if you’re lucky, even the Queen of England. Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself: Would you invite a homeless man from down the street? What about the catering crew? Of course not! You only invite those who matter to you to share in the joy of your most significant day.
Likewise, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who made everything in it, is inviting you to the marriage supper of the Lamb through the Gospel because you matter to Him. If you have doubts about my words, perhaps you will believe the words of the Bible. John 3:16 says God’s love for the world was so immense that he sacrificed his unique and beloved Son, allowing anyone who puts their faith in him to avoid destruction and instead experience everlasting existence.
You and I are beloved creations of God. The celebration in heaven is incomplete without you and me. However, we can only join in the festivities if we acknowledge that we are sinners in need of a Savior, and Jesus is that Savior. You cannot gain entry to the Kingdom of Heaven through your own righteous acts. Just as entry to a wedding feast is by invitation only (you cannot pay your way in), entry into the Kingdom of Heaven is also by invitation only. The Gospel of Jesus Christ serves as that invitation. I urge you to accept this invitation wholeheartedly.
2. You can’t RSVP because of the Cost
You cannot pay your way into a wedding. It is strictly an invitation-based event. In other words, you don’t have to pay for admission. However, just because it is free does not mean it is cheap. The host of the wedding bears the cost. Jesus mentioned in the parable that when the guests refused to come, the king sent his servants once again and urged them to attend, mentioning that he had butchered his oxen and fattened calves. The guests did not have to pay a single penny to enter the banquet because the king had already paid it all. Yet, they still refused to come.
I do not mean to compare the sacrifice of Christ on the cross to those butchered oxen and calves; that would be unbiblical, disrespectful, sacrilegious, and even blasphemous. However, the Bible clearly states that God demonstrated His love for us by sacrificing Christ on our behalf, even when we were still engaged in sinful behavior (Romans 5:8). These words from the Apostle Paul indicate that while salvation is free, it certainly was not cheap.
Out of the thousands of religions in the world, none offer a God who sacrificed His Son to save us from damnation. On the other hand, some religions demand human sacrifices, even of children, as seen in Leviticus 18:21, Deuteronomy 12:31, and 2 Kings 23:10. In fact, child sacrifice still occurs in some places, such as Uganda, even today. We are privileged to be loved by such a selfless God. Therefore, think twice before rejecting the tender invitation of our Savior.
3. You can’t RSVP because of the Price
In the parable, the king pleads with his intended guests to join the wedding feast of his son, but they continue to reject the invitation. Some even respond in an unexpected and inhumane manner by killing the messengers. Outraged by this, the king sends his army, which destroys those who murdered the messengers and burns their city to the ground. This served as a prophecy of what happened to Jerusalem, the holy city whose religious leaders vehemently rejected Jesus and His gospel (Mark 13:12).
This prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Roman armies besieged Jerusalem, resulting in the destruction of the holy city and the Temple. As predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24:1-2, the fulfillment was literal, with the remaining Jews fleeing to the Temple for safety. However, the Roman soldiers surrounded it, and a drunken soldier started a fire that consumed the entire building. As a consequence, the gold details on the roof melted and seeped into the cracks between the stone walls, prompting the Roman commander to order the dismantling of the temple stone by stone. The destruction was so thorough that today, pinpointing the exact location of the temple’s foundation poses a challenge.
Of course, declining a wedding invitation will not result in your house being burned down. However, the consequences faced by those who rejected the king’s invitation symbolize the price you will pay if you choose to decline the Savior’s tender invitation, which is the gospel of salvation. We often hear the notion that anyone can enter heaven by living a good life. However, the Bible presents a different perspective, stating that we were born sinful (Psalm 51:5). Once again, the good news is that Christ paid the price for your sins. So, why should you pay for it yourself? Accept the invitation and join the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven instead of burning in hell forever.
In conclusion, the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, famously known as “The Wedding of the Century,” was a grand event filled with extravagance and watched by millions around the world. While some political leaders declined the invitations, it was a missed opportunity for them to witness the glorious occasion. Reflecting on the parable of the wedding feast shared by Jesus, we understand that God invites us to the marriage supper of the Lamb through the Gospel because we matter to Him.
It is a free invitation, but it comes at a great cost – the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Just as the guests in the parable could not RSVP to the wedding feast, we cannot simply reject God’s invitation because rejecting his invitation has eternal consequences, just as the parable depicts. We will miss out on the opportunity to experience the joy, the celebration, and the eternal union with our Creator. Therefore, let us embrace the tender invitation of our Savior, acknowledging our need for Him and accepting His gift of salvation.
In accepting it, we enter into a lifelong journey, guided by the love and grace of our Savior. It is an invitation that transforms us, shapes us, and grants us the hope of eternal union with God. May we live our lives in a way that reflects the joy and gratitude of those who have received and accepted the invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb? “The Wedding You Cannot RSVP” reminds us that this invitation is not something we can decline or postpone indefinitely. It is a divine calling that beckons us to experience the fullness of life in Christ. Let us respond with a resounding “yes,” embracing the grace, love, and joy that await us in the presence of our Heavenly King.
If you found this content helpful, I kindly ask you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Sharing it with your friends and family through email or social media would also be greatly appreciated. Your feedback not only encourages me but also contributes to the growth and edification of the Church. In order to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue, I request that you use your full name when commenting. Please note that any comments containing profanity, name-calling, or a disrespectful tone will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding and participation.