[Jesus continued his parable about guests invited to a wedding feast by a king:] "But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them."
— Matthew 22:5-6 NLT
The power of this parable, this story, is found in a few key identifications. Clearly, the king in this story is God. The son, or prince, he wants honored is Jesus. As was standard practice, the king sent a general invitation to his banquet and then a specific one announcing that it was ready. To refuse to come to the king's banquet when you were invited was a slight beyond imagination. Very few would be invited to such an event. To be invited was truly an honor. But the refusal in this story, the rejection of the son, is especially striking. The guests were invited a third time and refused to come. In fact, they chose to go about their everyday activities and not come to the king's banquet for his son. But more than rejecting the invitation, they abused and even murdered the king's servants.
Clearly Jesus is passing judgment on the Jewish leadership for refusing to respond to him as God's royal Son. He is declaring in this story that the leaders' refusal is not only rude; it is hostile and unconscionable. In rejecting the Son and acting murderously to God's servants, the leaders are rejecting God and his rule over them.
Holy Father, this story places on my heart two things that I feel deeply about. First, please forgive me when I have refused your invitation or passed up the opportunities you have placed before me to honor your Son. Second, I have several friends on my heart who have refused invitation after invitation to honor your Son in their lives. Please use me to help them discover the wonderful grace and power of your Son and my Savior. In the name of Jesus, the Son of the living God, I pray. Amen.