The two parables in chapter 21 showed how the spiritual leaders had failed in their responsibility. Jesus demonstrated their failure to them, and to all the people listening as he spoke.
This third parable in the series extended the circle of failure to include all in Israel who had ignored and rebelled against God’s grace towards them. In this parable, the king represents God, the bridegroom is Jesus and the slaves are God’s prophets.
The prophets go to announce the wedding feast of the bridegroom, Jesus. All the nation of Israel is invited, but when the prophets tell them the feast is ready, they do not come. Notice how merciful God is – he sends out even more prophets to the people, but still they do not come. Jesus had come to bring the kingdom of heaven to the people, and the feast represents the celebration of the start of that kingdom, but the people would not come. They did not want what Jesus was bringing them.
We have seen through Matthew’s gospel how Jesus went first to the Jews, but when they rejected his message and would not welcome him, he began to teach and minister to the gentiles, offering them entry to the kingdom, just as a new set of guests are offered a seat at the feast in this parable.
It is one thing to receive an invitation to a feast. It is another thing altogether to actually go. You can’t eat an invitation. From the moment we first hear the gospel, what Jesus is looking for is our response. The doors are open to all – who will choose to go in? Those who do will eat at the wedding banquet of the Lamb.