Here we have another straightforward example of an allegory. This one is an allegory of salvation and salvation history.
The king (God) invites the upper classes (leaders of Israel) to the wedding feast for his son (Jesus). The feast is all about the kingdom and we should envision the eschatological banquet. That banquet is a frequent metaphor for the glories of the coming kingdom throughout the scriptures.
The function of the upper classes—the priests, the Sanhedrin, the scribes, and even the Pharisees—was supposed to be leading the people in the ways of righteousness as revealed by God. Instead, they mostly had their own agenda and weren’t interested in any kind of reform.
The invitees’ responses range from indifference to hostility. In fact, in the second wave of invitations some of the messengers are killed, and we must think again of the prophets.
I don’t know if you read the Old Testament much, but I know that many Christians hardly touch it, except for some of the Psalms. That’s a shame. The prophetic books are truly neglected and often misunderstood as predictions of distant future activities of God. But the prophetic movement and its books are really a reform movement. The temple system became corrupt. The royal houses became corrupt. The prophets called the leaders back to God. It seems like not too many listened to the prophets.
That reality is reflected in this parable. And since Matthew is written after the gentile mission of the church is underway, it is legitimate to extend the allegory into the missionary work of the church. It is also quite legitimate to see the destruction of the city of the leaders as a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. This parable is a parable of judgment.
Since the upper class rejected the invitations, God called the rest of us. Praise God. The first will be last and the last first.
But even for us there are some minimum requirements. We may not have the finery of the rich folks, but we can clothe ourselves in righteousness for the banquet. As seen in this parable, failure to do so will not work out well.
Being a church member or even a church leader is of no value to God. He only cares if we hear and obey Jesus. Faith is loyalty. Loyalty implies obedience. What you are speaks so loud that the world can’t hear what you say.
Many are called. Few are chosen.