1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
This is a beautiful parable of the grace of God. Of course, that’s not how the Pharisees would have perceived it. However, from the point of view of people who have been invited into God’s banquet (kingdom) we can see the gracious heart of God. The way he again invites those who had already rejected his invitation to such a special event, to the way he opens the invitation to the unconnected, the ordinary person in the street, the king’s graciousness of course mirrors God’s towards us.
His grace does not stop there. The king even provides the “proper clothes” for the occasion. Here the parable is a picture of the righteousness of Christ freely bestowed on us. I imagine the invitation written by God to us:
“You are invited to celebrate eternal life with God, by his grace.
Dress: the righteousness of Jesus”
The man found to be not dressed in the wedding clothes tried to enter the event on his own merit, rejecting the grace offered by the host who had provided the special clothing. God offers clothing to each of us – the garments of salvation, and the robe of righteousness – Isaiah 61:10 says, “I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness.”
It is only by his grace I am saved – Ephesians 2:8-9. Will I willingly accept the “clothes” he has prepared for me, or will I wear my “clothes”? Will I accept his grace, unconditionally given, or will I instead try to attain forgiveness and righteousness through my own efforts? This is such an easy trap to think we can gain “credit” with God somehow, to gain a seat at his banquet through what we have done or sacrificed.
Dear Lord Jesus
You have died for me and taken my punishment. You freely give me your righteousness. Why do I try to improve on that? Thank you for the beautiful robe of righteousness you have wrapped around me. This is how God sees me. Thank you. Amen
Written by Claire Moore