Who Is Invited?

“I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).

Yes, this verse sounds very much like another from Mark 14.  But it is a little different.  In this one, Jesus says “I will not drink this fruit of the vine . . . until . . . I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

The passage again calls to mind the great banquet scene in Isaiah 25 and  Matthew 22, both of which are images of the kingdom of God at the end of time.  Jesus’ vow here is not just an oath to make the promised kingdom happen.  It is also a warning.  He does not promise to drink with everyone, but only with those in his Father’s kingdom.  I appreciate the way J. A. Motyer (in his commentary on Isaiah) sums up the point: “In the end, there will be a great gulf fixed between those who are at the feast and those who are not.  It will not suffice to have belonged to a group close to the kingdom, to have stood on its very threshold, or to have known some who entered.”

You’ve got to actually enter into the kingdom.

It requires entrusting your life to God, believing his guidance is better than your own and that of the world about you.  It means turning from the ways of the world, dying to it and being raised to a new life (Romans 6:3-4).  It means being “born again” (John 3:5), having your past washed away (Acts 22:16), being cleansed (Ephesians 5:26), and having God adopt you into His family (Galatians 3:26-27).

This is, however, but the beginning.  Submitting to the rule of God is a life-long life-style. That is, in its essence, the requirement of Kingdom belonging, and the condition to fellowship at the great banquet of God.

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