Matt. 22:1 ¶ Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying:
Matt. 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.
Matt. 22:3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.
Matt. 22:4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’
Matt. 22:5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business,
Matt. 22:6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.
Matt. 22:7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Matt. 22:8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.
Matt. 22:9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’
Matt. 22:10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Matt. 22:11 ¶ “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe,
Matt. 22:12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless.
Matt. 22:13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Matt. 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
This parable provides us with great insight as to God’s activity in reaching out to a lost and dying world. The invitation is given over and over again to come and join the wedding banquet. Finally there are those who are willing to respond to the generous invitation.
During the time of Christ guests were provided with attire for the celebration by the host. White robes were the normal attire for a wedding and everyone wore them. Therefore the invitation also came with the wardrobe.
When we discover in verse 11 that a man has entered the celebration in his own clothing there is no sympathy. It is not that the man cannot afford the wedding attire, it is that the man has, in his arrogance, refused to put on the clothing provided by the king. Thinking his own rags were “good-enough,” he is dumbfounded when confronted. Surely he didn’t have to really change into the wedding garments! Wasn’t his own clothing “good enough.”
The arrogance is really concerning personal righteousness. The man believed that his own personal righteousness was good enough. What he did not seem to comprehend was that his own righteousness appeared as rags in the presence of the beautiful garments prepared by the master. He is stunned into silence as he recognizes his arrogance has made him a fool and realizing he had left the wedding garment provided for him unused.
It seems that human nature doesn’t undergo too much change for even today we have those who believe that their own righteousness will be enough to get them a place at the wedding feast for all of eternity. But just as the man looked out of place, our self-righteous arrogance looks out of place in the presence of the Lord.
God reaches out to all of humanity through his prevenient grace. His desire is that all will come to him and we are invited to respond to that invitation. However, response to the invitation is not enough. God also provides for us the proper garments for participation in the kingdom. Jesus has provided the white robes, made clean through the shedding of his blood. Not only are we to respond to the invitation but we are to put on the white robes. These are the robes of Jesus’ righteousness and in comparison to our own, they are magnificent.
If we believe that we can be righteous on our own, we are fooling ourselves. We must be willing to put on the robe of Christ — to literally put on Christ. This white robe is his holy robe. That is why all of God’s followers are called to holiness. Everyone is called to put on the robe of holiness, but it is only provided through Christ. For far too long we have thought that we could turn our tattered ordinary clothing into something beautiful by following a list of “holy” behaviors. If we continue on this path we will find ourselves at the wedding banquet looking ridiculously out of place with the master wondering why we failed to put on the clothing provided by him.
May God save us from our own personal arrogance and may we respond to the invitation and slip into the garment of Jesus’ holiness provided for us as we live and serve in the kingdom.
Lord, thank you for all you have provided for us. I am eternally grateful. Amen.