Devotional: ‘Who Would Have Guessed They Would Be in Heaven?’

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Matthew 22:9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. ESV

There is almost a bit of humor in this passage. Try to imagine the scene if you will. The king had prepared an elaborate wedding feast for his son. No expense had been spared in effort to make it a grand celebration. To put it in modern terms, it was a ‘white tie event.’ It was the kind of place where you would have expected to see dignitaries and the social elite. But seated there that day were beggars, prostitutes, and common people. Never in their life had they had it so good.

The primary theme of Christ’s teaching that day was that heaven will not be filled with the proud who think they deserve to be there because of their good works, but by the humble who are grateful they have been forgiven. To help illustrate this, Jesus told three parables that day. During the course of one of these three parables Jesus said,

“Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.” (Mt 21:31-32 ESV)

The tax collectors and sinners will not be in heaven because God overlooked their sin, but because they responded properly to John the Baptist’s message – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 3:2)

As we consider Christ’s parable about the king and his feast, we realize that the contrast Christ made between the rich and the poor can represent a lot of people. It can represent the proud Jewish man who believed he deserved heaven simply because he was a son of Abraham, versus the poor Gentile woman who begged for the crumbs that fell from the master’s table. Or it can represent the social elite who often think that they are too good to need salvation, versus the sinful person who has a hard time believing that God would be gracious enough to forgive them. Most specifically Christ meant it to represent the Jewish chief priests who believed that they would one day strut their way into heaven, versus the sinful tax collectors and prostitutes who never imagined that God would even look their way.

No one is earning their way into heaven. No one is good enough on their own to deserve a spot at God’s table. No one is going to heaven simply because of their race,  nationality or social status. Heaven is only for those who come to God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible says –

Romans 3: 9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” ESV

No one is naturally good enough to go to heaven. We’re all just sinners saved by grace.

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