Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 16 - The Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1-14
Do you have a soap-box? I have a few, and if you’re like me once you stand on it, there’s no stopping you! You want to make sure that your point is absolutely clear. The parables we are looking at this week is like that. It all started with the religious leaders and Pharisees asking Jesus about His authority. Did you grasp that? They were asking Jesus about His authority! Maybe that’s what spurred on the onslaught of parables- three of the four parables we have looked at through today came right after Jesus was questioned about His authority. Their refusal to believe Him gave Jesus a reason to tell them what would happen with unbelief and wrong motives. He knew they were rejecting Him, and He told parables about what happens when we reject God and rely on our self-righteousness.

To understand the parable for today, there are some cultural tones that need to be addressed. It was customary for a host to send two invitations to a banquet; the first would ask the guest to attend and the second would announce that the feast was ready. In this parable the host sent more invitations showing us that God continually sends His invitation to us. Another cultural note is the wedding garments. It was customary in the day for the host to provide garments to wear to the feast. It was unthinkable to attend the feast in something other than the clothing provided – it was an insult to the host.

In this parable, we have three sets of people: those who refuse the invitation, those who accept the invitation but don’t wear the proper clothing, and those who accept the invitation and wear the clothing provided by the host. It is easy to understand who the first set of people is; there will be people who will never accept God’s invitation and will not make it to the feast. The second set is a little harder. Here is where I find our recurring theme this week. These are the people who want to come to the feast, but try on their own abilities to come. They still do not accept that only Christ can provide their salvation; they try things like good works. The third set is the people who accept the invitation and fully understand that it is only through Christ that they receive their salvation.

What is the clothing we need to wear to be a part of the feast? Psalm 132:16 says, “I will clothe her priests with salvation and her saints will ever sing for joy.” Isaiah 61:10 says, “…For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” And finally, we see what happens in the end in Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)” If you remember from our study of Hebrews 11, our faith will be credited as righteousness. Romans 4:23-25 says, “The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” If you believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, you will wear the fine linen to the feast!

Have you accepted God’s invitation? Do you truly believe that Jesus is the only road to salvation – not by works but by faith?

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