What Is Heaven Like?
March 18, 2023
Why is this a most important question? First of all we need to make note of the fact that it is Jesus who is speaking. The One whom, as the apostle Paul writes, "has become for us wisdom from God..." (1 Corinthians 1:30).
There, when Jesus speaks, we need to listen very carefully. Secondly, Jesus' primary audience here are the chief priests and the Pharisees, people who thought they had the Kingdom of God figured out, and themselves figured into it. Thirdly, Jesus spoke to them in parables or we might say, com-parables. Jesus uses earthly stories to teach heavenly truths. He begins by saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like..." Like what? This is the question we shall seek to answer.
The setting: A Wedding Banquet, Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is like that."
This wedding banquet was put on by a King. (God) It is a banquet put on for the King's Son. (The Lord Jesus) The banquet invitations are delivered personally.
In the Eastern part of the world, in Jesus' day, it was customary to send out a preliminary invitation which would then be followed up later with a detailed invitation. Those who had been invited were summoned: "Come" (Verse 3)
"But they refused to come." (Verse 3) ...Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like that. The servants could hardly believe their ears (and so it is with those of us who have "tasted and seen that the Lord is good." It is hard to believe that anyone would turn down such a gracious invitation from God to receive His salvation in His Son Jesus Christ).
The servants rushed back to tell the King who was overseeing the final stages of preparations for the great banquet for his Son. Everything was in order but the guests.
"There must be some mistake,"the King said. Then he sent some more servants with a third and more detailed invitation. (Verse 4) Jesus said, "THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE THAT."
God does not give up on us easily. "He is patient with you", wrote Peter. "Not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance:" 11 Peter 3: 9 "But they paid not attention. (Verse 5) One went to his field, another went on to his business." How true yet today is this story that Jesus told. People giving their lives to things which will pass away. Stopped ears: "I won't listen!" Anger and scorn is their response to anything that resembles His invitation: "Leave me alone." "I don't need Christ!" "Crucify Him!"
Judgement: "The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed them and burned their city" (Verse 7) Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is like that".
A broader invitation went out and this time it was different. (Verses 8-10): "God to the street corners..." "Invite to the banquet anyone you find"...(A wonderful statement both good and bad,) "and the wedding hall was filled with guests" (Think about this. Let this statement fill your heart and overflow your eyes because if you love Jesus and if you have responded to His invitation to "come," then you are at that banquet. BECAUSE THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE THAT!
The missing wedding garment (Verses 11-13): "The king came in to see the guests." "He noticed a man who was not wearing wedding clothes." When confronted by the King, "The man was speechless." When God confronts us we have nothing to say! The King had provided garments for his guests. If we are to enter into the kingdom of God we must be "clothed" with the righteousness of Christ. There is no garment made on this earth that can replace or copy this. We must "Put on Christ" as Paul wrote... The man came as he was, and wished to remain that way. His decision, he was cast out into the "outer darkness."
Question: What have you done with God's invitation to enter into His Kingdom through His Son, Jesus Christ?
Until next time,
Pastor Joe (1940-2021)