The parable isn’t about a meal, not even a wedding feast for the king’s son, if you read St. Matthew’s account. It’s not about a host upset by the bad manners of those who RSVPed and backed out at the last minute. But as much as it’s not about those things, it’s also not about us sitting here confident and smug because we’re in church and all of those heathen are out walking the highway to hell. It does not empower us to look down at those people out there who have rejected Jesus, who have ignored the Holy Spirit’s urging to hear the Word and feast on Christ in His Body and Blood. It’s not about shaking your head at the people lining up for brunch, going for a run, or sleeping in at the lake whose church attendance has dropped off now that summer is officially in full swing. Jesus’ Parable is, however, about what happens to anyone who decides that the things of the flesh are more entertaining, that God will totally understand why you chose material possessions over your faith. He does not, and He will not on the Last Day. This is a reminder that we are called to turn from the material world and its ways and to live in repentance, because we cannot reject God’s gracious invitation without consequence.
Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.