I always take special delight when I am reading in the Old Testament and discover a passage that either pre-tells or outlines the structure of one of Jesus’ parables. It is almost like seeing a behind-the-scenes episode on the making of the parables–I imagine Jesus reading that same passage, memorizing it, and then meditating upon it over and over until it spills out in his preaching and teaching in a metaphor or a parable.
I do not know what it means for the eternal Word of God to have meditated on the written Word of God during his human lifetime, but Christmas seems like a perfect time to contemplate such a beautiful aspect of the incarnation.
So, I came across 2 Chronicles 30 this morning, in which we read about preparations of a king for the LORD’s feast, emissaries sent to urge the people to come to the feast, and a certain number who refuse to attend:
1Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem to keep the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel. 2For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had taken counsel to keep the Passover in the second month— 3for they could not keep it at that time because the priests had not consecrated themselves in sufficient number, nor had the people assembled in Jerusalem— 4and the plan seemed right to the king and all the assembly. 5So they decreed to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that the people should come and keep the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem, for they had not kept it as often as prescribed. 6 So couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his princes, as the king had commanded, saying, “O people of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were faithless to the LORD God of their fathers, so that he made them a desolation, as you see. 8 Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. 9For if you return to the LORD, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”10 So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. 11However, some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.
Jesus preached this story in the parable of the wedding feast in Matt. 22:1-14 and Luke 14:12-24. And when we keep reading in 2 Chronicles 30, we get an idea of the joy that was intended for the feast in Jesus’ parable:
21And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with all their might to the LORD. 22And Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good skill in the service of the LORD. So they ate the food of the festival for seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the LORD, the God of their fathers.23Then the whole assembly agreed together to keep the feast for another seven days. So they kept it for another seven days with gladness. 24For Hezekiah king of Judah gave the assembly 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for offerings, and the princes gave the assembly 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. And the priests consecrated themselves in great numbers. 25The whole assembly of Judah, and the priests and the Levites, and the whole assembly that came out of Israel, and the sojourners who came out of the land of Israel, and the sojourners who lived in Judah, rejoiced. 26So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27Then the priests and the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to his holy habitation in heaven.
So, Merry Christmas to you and your household! As you meditate upon the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, remember that Christ’s coming is good news of great joy–a feast has been prepared through Christ’s own incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, and we have been invited to taste of that feast! Stop making excuses and simply enter into your master’s joy! You have been invited not merely as a guest, but as the very bride of the King.