Key Passage: Matthew 13:11 “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you.”
Big Picture Question: Who is invited to the kingdom of heaven? Everyone is invited to the kingdom of heaven.
Christ Connection: Heaven is like a great wedding feast, and Jesus invites everyone to come. Jesus makes a place for people who say yes to His invitation, and they can be with Him forever.
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, kids will learn about the parable of the wedding feast. Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast is more than a simple story about a king’s rude guests. The parable reveals the King (God the Father) who seeks to honor His Son (Jesus) with a banquet. Though many people are invited to the kingdom of heaven, few will choose to come.
When Jesus told this parable, He had been teaching for three years. Many people who heard Jesus opposed Him, including the religious leaders. It was to this audience that Jesus told such a shocking story in which the attitudes and actions of the people who rejected the king’s invitation clearly paralleled the religious leaders.
In the parable, the religious leaders are represented by the guests who refused to come to the wedding banquet. They had been invited, but when the king’s servants told them the feast was ready, they did not want to come. Instead, they went about their lives—to their farms and businesses. Some of them even killed the king’s messengers!
What an insult to the king! These people had turned down an invitation to the most wonderful and joyous event they could imagine. The king would have given His best to honor his son, and the king reacted justly. He punished those who rejected him and invited others instead—those not in the city, both the good and the bad.
Likewise, God invites Gentiles into His kingdom. No one is refused based on his or her economic or social standing. The King Himself provides the required attire—robes of righteousness, like those given to Joshua the high priest. (See Zech. 3:3-4.) The King rejects those who try to come by their own merit—in their own clothes—as the man without wedding clothes did.
Salvation is a free gift. We can’t earn our way into heaven. Jesus did all the work when He died for our sins on the cross. This story reminds us that we need to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Jesus invites us to join Him in heaven—the great wedding feast. When we receive His invitation, Jesus gets us ready by clothing us in His righteousness.
Family Activity: Invite kids to list names of friends or family members they would like to invite to a party. Review the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1-14. Ask kids how they would feel if their guests refused to come to the party. Remind kids of the big picture question and answer. Pray that they, their friends, and family members would receive Jesus’ invitation to the kingdom of heaven.