Text: Isaiah 25:6-9
Proper 23, A
While the country around is is trying to figure out how to celebrate Thanksgiving with a mask on in-between bites but without family and friends, we Christians have no such trouble. Not that we are celebrating Thanksgiving today, any more or less than every single Sunday we gather is a celebration and a giving of Thanks to God for His many gifts to us. It is just that we know we can celebrate and be thankful with our brothers and sisters in the faith whether they are present with us or not ... and we don’t have to do it by overeating either! Although with such sumptuous readings from God’s Word this morning why not dig in and Eat Up!
And in this feast of God’s Word we begin with dessert first! Good News of the sweetest variety. Salvation itself. 6On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. In this delightful metaphor God paints for us a picture of the salvation He has prepared for us. It is a feast of celebration and for the ratification of His everlasting peace accord between God and man. Eat up!
But He also shows us what He has first removed from us that we might be able to actually enjoy this heavenly banquet, this feast to come! The sin that once separated us from God, the shame that once covered us like a filthy blanket, the guilt that hung over us like death has now been destroyed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In His precious death and resurrection on the third day. The Good news of what we have been given and what has been removed from us in Christ is more than enough to celebrate with thanksgiving even if we had nothing else!
In Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour we have been given a rich feast beyond all imagining ... why not Eat up? Well, truthfully, because some don’t want to! This is what Jesus Himself declared in the Gospel reading and its parable: 1And 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, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come ... 8Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.' 10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
It almost beggars the imagination. With such an extravagant invitation why wouldn’t you come? If you had the chance to feast on the very bread of life, the food of immortality in the hall of the King Himself, why wouldn’t you? For the same reason donkeys prefer garbage to gold. People want what they want, and most of us don’t want to be at the beck and call of anyone else, even the King of heaven and earth. We would rather wallow in our sin and depravity of our own making than follow God to His gift of forgiveness and salvation. We would rather slowly starve our souls on the junk food of our culture than feast on the Words of eternal life. We prefer the excuses to the truth.
And God knows this about us which is why He not only prepares the heavenly banquet but goes out and actually drags people in to share it with Him. Left on our own, none of us would sit down to this feast. We would all rather starve just to spite God. But by the gracious work and calling of the Holy Spirit you are here! Just as God always wanted for you. Eat up! For just as food is to the body, so is the Gospel to our eternal souls ... to eat is life! Eat Up the Gospel prepared by the hands of Christ and served to us by the working of the Holy Spirit in the Means of Grace. Quench your thirsty soul with the life-giving waters of Holy Baptism. Nourish your spirit with the medicine of immortality in the Bread of Life. Uplift your heart with the Words of eternal life proclaimed over and over again in the precious Gospel! Eat Up and live for God has conquered death itself!
8He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. 9It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation." To eat is life because He swallowed death!
No guilt or sadness will be found at his heavenly feast. No remorse because of overindulgence. No regrets over what was left. No vomiting up the old ways. When God removes the disgrace of His people, the act is done! And all that remains is a trust that rejoices and a faith that gives thanks!
Jesus has conquered and destroyed death, grief, and shame once and for all. And having done all that through the cross and tomb He has given us salvation and the promise of an everlasting feast with Him in heaven. The resurrection guarantees it. A feast to which the multitudes will be invited, and not sin, nor sickness, nor even death itself will keep us away from the celebration!