“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son."
The king in the story symbolizes Supreme Being. And the wedding banquet is the spiritual realm. The reason Jesus is comparing the spiritual realm to a wedding banquet is because the spiritual realm is full of loving relationships: It is a carnival of loving relationships. And the Supreme Being is the center of those loving relationships. The citizens of the spiritual realm are focused upon the Supreme Being - they are loving Him in a myriad of different types of relationships.
"He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'"The servants He sent out to invite people to the banquet represent those loving servants who God has sent to the earth over millennia to try to bring us home to Him. These are His devoted representatives such as David, Moses, Abraham, Noah, Solomon, Job, Jacob, Samuel, Jonah, John the Baptist and of course Jesus and Jesus' disciples like Peter and James.
The dinner preparations symbolize the readiness of the Supreme Being to take us back - even though we've neglected Him for so long. This is called mercy.
As history has illustrated, most of us have refused this invitation to return home to our relationship with the Supreme Being.
"But they paid no attention and went off— one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them."God's representatives are trying to bring us home to the spiritual realm, but we are refusing. In addition to refusing to return, some have gone out of their way to harm God's representatives. This is because these people see God's representatives as interfering in their ability to enjoy life and be independent of the Supreme Being.
"The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city."Many have misinterpreted this as the Supreme Being being vengeful. Rather, what is being described is love.
Just consider what would happen if someone hurt someone's child. The parent would be enraged yes? Why? Because of their love for their child. They would seek immediate justice for those who hurt their child.
In the same way, the Supreme Being becomes spiritually angry when His loving servants are harmed. This is because of the loving relationships that exist between the Supreme Being and His loving servants.
"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests."With regard to "those I invited" - Jesus is speaking of those ecclesiastical sectarian institutions such as the Jewish institution involved in the arrest and murder of John the Baptist - who would also be involved in Jesus' arrest and persecution.
As these individuals among these organizations proved unworthy because they disrespected and even harmed God's representatives, the Supreme Being reaches out to those who may not be articulate members of these sectarian institutions. He reaches out to those who consider themselves more humbly - not thinking they deserve to be invited back to the spiritual realm.
These more simple persons - often lost in the minutia of the physical world - are not pretenders. They are not faking that they know so much. They are not pretending to be knowledgeable as they sit in judgement of others. As such, assuming they follow the guidance of God's representative - symbolized in this story by their following the instructions of the king's servants and coming to the banquet - they will gain entrance into the spiritual realm.
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."This part of the parable may be disturbing to some but only if the symbolism is not understood. The "wedding clothes" are the key to understanding this. The "clothes" represent ones consciousness. This is how one becomes entitled to returning to the spiritual realm. A consciousness full of greed, envy and lust does not belong in the spiritual realm. Such a consciousness belongs in this physical world - where we each wear physical bodies full of pain and suffering and compete for the resources of the physical world.
"Wedding clothes" in particular symbolizes love for God, humility and service. These are the tickets to the spiritual realm - our relationship with the Supreme Being. A self-centered person - who does not love the Supreme Being - has no place in the spiritual realm. A person who is not humble - thinking themselves a great person - does not belong in the spiritual realm.
And a person who does not want to serve the Supreme Being - who only wants to be served - does not belong in the spiritual realm.
This consciousness is suited for the physical world - where we misidentify ourselves with these temporary physical bodies and chase after the illusory names and forms of this temporary physical dimension.
This begins with humility. We must have the attitude that we are not the king. In other words, we are not the center of attention. We are not the one being served. We are servants. We are beggars. We do not deserve God’s mercy, especially after we have been rejecting Him.
The second and critical piece - one that cannot be separated from humility - is our reliance upon God’s mercy. Our complete faith that He will take care of us, and that He is all we need. This is also called surrender.
If we are wearing the clothes of humility and reliance upon God's mercy, we will be invited to the ‘wedding banquet’ because this is the consciousness that prevails among the various relationships with God in the spiritual world.
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)