The Parable of the Wedding Feast

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again, he sent other servants, saying,’Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast!”  ‘ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And 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.

But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless, Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1-14: NIV)

The invited guests ignore the invitation

Today I am considering another parable in which Jesus uses the illustration of a wedding banquet to teach about the kingdom of God. As in the parable in Luke 14 the king or master who planned and  prepared the banquet, in this case for his son, had invited guests but they had ignored the invitation. The anger and hurt the king felt is clear from his reaction when he ordered his servants to bring in anyone they could find, rich or poor, good or bad, from any background.

The invitation is extended to anyone who will accept

The guests who refused the invitation represent the Jewish nation to whom God sent the Messiah, His Son Jesus Christ. However, they did not recognise or accept Jesus as their Messiah and the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ was then carried to all other nations, representing the guests who were subsequently invited.

Wearing the wrong clothes

As I think back to my daughters’ weddings and recall the thought, planning, preparation  and cost that went into these events it is hard to imagine how we would have reacted if nobody came-but we would certainly have felt disbelief, then acute disappointment, hurt and probably anger too at peoples’ indifference and disrespect. In the parable the king was ‘enraged’ and the originally invited guests were given no further opportunity to accept. This in itself is a stark warning to those who reject the gift of salvation purchased for us by Jesus when he gave his life for us, but as we read on we learn that not everyone else present was welcomed. There was one man who was not wearing wedding clothes and the king challenged him, asking how he got in without being dressed in the proper attire. The subsequent throwing out of this man into the darkness leaves us speechless with shock and disbelief; after all, if a guest had turned up at one of our weddings unsuitable dressed we might have thought it strange and a bit disrespectful, but we would still have let them come! So what does this mean and why was the king so angry with the man that he would not accept him?

Only the righteousness of Jesus will allow us acceptance

I believe it means that the only ‘clothes’ that are acceptable to God are the robes of righteousness that we receive when we put our faith and trust in Jesus and accept him as saviour and Lord and grow in relationship with Him.  Many people believe that they will be allowed entry into heaven because they have lived a good life, been kind to others, been to church, been baptised or confirmed, done many ‘good works’, or because they were brought up in a Christian family. But the Bible makes it clear that the only way to salvation is through repentance from sin and through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ‘ God is holy and just – nothing and no one who is sinful can come into His presence. It is only the covering of the blood of Jesus that can cleanse us from our sin. Nominal Christianity has no place in the kingdom of heaven.

Receive Jesus as your Saviour

So, the message which comes across loud and clear is this: make sure you have repented of your sin and received Jesus as Saviour, allowing Him to change you by the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. Here is a simple prayer of salvation that you can pray if you genuinely want to be in a right relationship with God.

Wear the right wedding clothes!