The Divine Invitation
“Behold, I have made ready my dinner. All things are ready. Come to the marriage.” —Matthew 22:4.
Let the King of Heaven and Earth say this to you. In honor of His Son He has prepared a great supper. There the Son bears His human nature. There are all the children of men, dear and precious to the Father, and He has caused them to be invited to the great festival of the Divine love. He is prepared to receive and honor them there as guests and friends. He will feed them with His heavenly food. He will bestow upon them the gifts and energies of everlasting life.
O my soul, thou also hast received this heavenly invitation. To be asked to eat with the King of Glory: how it behooves thee to embrace and be occupied with this honor. How desirous must you be to prepare yourself for this feast. How you must long that you should be in dress and demeanor, and language and disposition, all that may be rightly expected of one who is invited to the court of the King of kings.
Glorious invitation! I think of the banquet itself and what it has cost the great God to prepare it. To find food for angels: for this only one word was necessary. But to prepare for man upon this accursed earth a banquet of heavenly food—that cost Him much. Nothing less than the life and blood of His Son, to take away the curse and to open up to them the right and the access to heavenly blessings. Nothing less than the body and the blood of the Son of God could give life to lost men. O my soul, ponder the wonders of this royal banquet.
I think of the invitation. It is as free, as wide as it could be, “without money and without price.” The poorest and the most unworthy are called to it. And so urgent and cordial is it. Not less cordial is the love which invites to it, the love which longs after sinners and takes delight in entertaining and blessing them.
I think of the blessing of the banquet. The dying are fed with the power of a heavenly life, the lost are restored to their places in the Father’s house, those that thirst after God are satisfied with God Himself and with His love.
Glorious invitation! With adoration I receive it, and prepare myself to make use of it. I have read of those who hold themselves excused because they are hindered, —one by his merchandise, another by his work, and a third by his domestic happiness. I have heard the voice which has said, “I say unto you, that none of these men which were bidden shall taste of My supper.” Under the conviction that He who so cordially invites me is the Holy One, who will not suffer Himself to be mocked, I will prepare myself to lay aside all thoughtlessness, to withdraw myself from the seductions of the world; and with all earnestness to yield obedience to the voice of the heavenly love. I will remain in quiet meditation and in fellowship with the children of God, to keep myself free from all needless anxiety about the world, and as an invited guest, to meet my God with real hunger and quiet joy. He Himself will not withhold from me His help in this work.
Eternal God, I have received the good tidings that there is room also for me at the table of Thy Son. With grateful thanks I receive thy invitation, God of all grace. I hunger for Thy bread, O Lord. My soul thirsts for God. For the living God my flesh and my heart cry out. When shall I enter and appear before the face of God?
Lord, graciously bestow upon me this week a real blessing in the way of preparation. Let the sight of my sinfulness humble me deeply and take away from me all hope in myself. Let the sight of Thy grace again encourage me and fill me with confidence and gladness. Do Thou Thyself stir up within me a mighty desire for the Bridegroom, for the precious Jesus, without whom there could be no feast. And may it be manifest in me this week that I am full of the thought that I have an invitation to eat bread in the house of my God with his only-begotten and well-beloved Son. Lord, grant this for Jesus’ sake.
Lord Jesus, thou hast taught me: “God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Lord, spiritual worship we cannot bring: but Thou wilt bestow upon us Thy Spirit. I entreat thee, Lord, to grant the working of the Spirit. The blessing of the Supper is a high spiritual blessing. The invisible God will there come very near to us and will very mightily impart the gift of eternal life to those who have the spiritual capacity for it. Only the spiritual mind can enjoy the spiritual blessing. Thou knowest how deeply I fail in this receptiveness for a full blessing. But grant, I pray thee, that the Holy Spirit may this week dwell and work in me with special power. I will surrender myself for this end to Him and to His guidance, in order that He may overcome in me the spirit of the world and renew my inner life to inherit from my God a new blessing,. Lord, let Thy Spirit work mightily within me.
And as I thus pray for myself I pray also for the whole congregation. Grant, Lord, in behalf of all thy children an overflowing outpouring of Thy Spirit, in order that this Supper may really be for all of us a time of quickening and renewal of our energies. Amen.