Apathy & Atheism Both lead to Destruction (Matthew 22:1-9)

Matthew 22:1-9 (ESV)

1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.


            If you are a student of the Bible, the above text is fairly familiar to you.  In a parable about the kingdom of God, Jesus illustrates by using a feast.  A feast is prepared, but the invited guests fail to come at the summons.  IN the context, the Jews were the original invited guests who rejected their invitation to the feast by rejecting Christ.


            What catches my attention this morning is the two ways in which people made themselves unworthy to attend the banquet, making themselves unworthy to enter into the kingdom of God.  One group fought against and mistreated and murdered the servants of the king.  Obviously, those evil guys were wiped out by the king’s army and made unable to attend the feast.


            It is the other group, however, that has my attention.  There is a group of people who were invited to the feast who simply ignored their invitation.  There were those who, upon hearing the summons to the banquet, just turned and went back to their lives.  Do not miss that ,just like the violent persecutors, these too eventually found themselves outside of the kingdom.


            In our modern mindset, we do not have a great deal of trouble saying that those who are cruel and violent might not find themselves in God’s kingdom when all is said and done.  However, we have trouble realizing that the apathetic, the folks who just don’t care about religious things, will also find themselves out of the kingdom.  God is just as insulted by those who ignore him as he is by those who actively oppose him.  In fact, one might argue that apathy toward God is more of an offense than is aggressive atheism.  At least the aggressive atheist acknowledges that God is a concept to be dealt with.  The apathetic person simply shrugs his or her shoulders and acts as though God is totally irrelevant.


            Let’s be clear about this:  God will not leave the apathetic unpunished.  He will not allow himself to be dishonored by being ignored.  Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil 2:10-11), even those who want to pretend that God does not matter at all.  If those knees do not bow in life, they will bow in death before suffering God’s wrath for eternity.  Make no mistake, that wrath will be well earned by those who constantly reject God and pretend he is a non-factor.


            I do not write this from a position of superiority.  I would do the very same thing, ignoring or battling against God, had God not done a miracle in my heart.  God, by God’s own sovereign power, made me alive together with Christ so that I might have his gift of salvation by grace alone through faith alone (cf. Eph 2:1-10).  I write this post, however, as a way to encourage readers and the friends of readers to take seriously the fact that God will not ignore the apathetic.  Jesus made this fact plain, and it cannot be ignored.


            Are you living in a battle against God?  Are you pretending that God does not matter at all?  Hear the truth that God commands all men everywhere to repent and to turn to Jesus before it is too late.  Stop fighting.  Stop ignoring.  Be reconciled to God.