Yesterday we looked at the Gospel call from God’s side. Today let’s look at it from our side and consider six possible responses to God’s Gospel invitation we find in Matthew 22:

1. Apathy: Some “were not willing to come” (v. 2). No big deal, no furore, no emotion. They just simply decided not to come. It put them neither up nor down. Just, “No thanks!”

2. Amusement: Some “made light of it” (v. 5). Bit of a laugh, really. Snigger, snigger. “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?”

3. Activity: “They went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business” (v. 5). Sloth has killed its thousands; but busyness has killed its tens of millions.

4. Aggression: “The rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them” (v. 6). We can’t kill the message, but we can kill the messengers. And that can be done by razor-sharp tongues as well as by double-edged swords.

5. Act: One man came but rejected the wedding garment provided by the king (v. 11). He wanted to be there on his own terms, felt he was fine just as he was. But the king could see through the act, the pretended love. He unmasked him, and threw him out.

6. Acceptance: “The wedding hall was filled with guests” (v. 10). Both “good” and “bad” were there. These are relative terms for two kinds of sinners – the outwardly upright and the outwardly evil. As someone said, it reminds us “that the good still need the Gospel, and the bad can still have the Gospel.


  • Leah


    I have a friend who doesn’t really fit any of the above, and is presently in some form of what I believe to be pre-acceptance. I’d maybe call it “Antagonism” to fit your list. It’s like he’s *testing* every aspect of the Gospel, cuz he just can’t believe God would save him. He WANTS salvation, he WANTS (desperately) to be “used” by God, and he does believe the truth about Jesus and that he is the only way to God, but he can’t quite grasp “grace” and so despairs of never being good enough to receive it (which, frankly, I think many “believers” seem to have that same problem and trend unknowingly towards works-based theology (fleshly effort), of which I am chief….).

    My friend exhibits “aggression,” but not typically towards those of the faith – unless it is to prick them till they “prove” their faith is genuine; the moment he sees it’s real and they are unwavering, he is visibly humbled, and yields the conversation. Similarly, whenever I “plant the seed” of the Word, even though he claims he can’t believe the Bible is the authoritative word of God, nevertheless he is regularly “softened” by it. No, his “aggression” is more towards God, as if begging him to prove himself….But even at that, I am not sure how to classify the spirit of his wrestling, exactly. Maybe that’s exactly it – Wrestling.

    While I cannot be “sure” in the human sense, I do believe there is coming a day when he WILL fully accept (yield to) the Gospel. This is a strange place to walk alongside a person; I find the Lord has given me much grace and patience with his sharp edges, though there are many in my life (however well-intentioned) who have tested the waters of my friend’s “Antagonism” with their own proverbial toes only to chastise me, rebuke him, and ultimately walk away from him – which has had a two-fold effect of causing him to exhibit greater hardness towards what he deems “faithless Christians” in general, but a greater sensitivity to what he refers to as my “real” faith, and, frankly, a greater longing for Christ himself….

    I’m open to any thoughts/responses to the above if you so desire. ;)

    As an aside, thank you SO much for your blog posts! The name says it all – Head / Heart / Hand – and I am so thankful for the richness of God’s gift to you as far as not only general practicality and application of the Word, but especially in seeing Christ in the OT. Blessings to you and all your readers and students!


  • Leah

    (…in keeping with your Matthew 22 approach, I guess I would put this “antagonism” in the “behind the scenes” of v.10, upon hearing the invitation, my friend is among those who at first disbelieve – how could he, an “outsider,” really be included in the invitation?…and we are in the business of the servants, persuading him, “No, really! This invitation IS for you! The king said we were to go out and find both the ‘good’ AND the ‘bad’ ~ It does not matter; they are all the same to the him! He said he would not turn away anyone who comes; you will be received and welcomed in, if only you’ll come!”…)

    • David Murray

      These are great comments, Leah. Every one is so different. Yes, there are broad categories, but there are also other distinctions. And maybe some people are in all the groups! May you have the joy of seeing your friend come to faith in Jesus.

  • Leah

    1st edit, “despair of never…” should be “despair of ever”
    2nd edit, “all the same to the him” should be “all the same to him”