After our first year of marriage, an older lady at our church invited us to move into the upper apartment of her duplex and charged us the same rent we were paying for our little studio apartment. We felt like we were living large because we had a full kitchen with room for our dining room table and we even had two bedrooms! I had just completed my unpaid internship and my husband just finished his first teaching position as a part-time assistant band director. I had been hired to do music therapy at an area nursing home, and my husband had received news that he had a permanent full-time teaching position at two schools close to our new home. Even though both jobs paid very little and our deferment was up for our student loan; we still had more income than we had ever experienced (trust me, it still wasn't much). Feeling pretty good, we took a walk after work and explored our new neighborhood. We came across a cute restaurant and decided to stop in and celebrate some of the positive changes happening in our young lives. What we didn't realize was that even though it looked like a cute restaurant on the outside, it was actually a very expensive restaurant. We were almost turned away because my husband didn't have a sports jacket; however, it was only late afternoon and since he was wearing a tie they let us dine in their fine establishment. To this day, it is one of the best meals I've ever had...it also used up all our extra spending money for the rest of the month!
In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus told a parable of a wedding feast in order to explain the kingdom of heaven. A king prepared a banquet and invited the guests, but no one showed up. When he sent his servants out to gather those who were invited, some went away to their own business and others beat his servants. The king sent his army to destroy them and had his servants invite anyone they could find. Both the good and the bad showed up for the banquet. But one man was not wearing wedding clothes and he was thrown out. Jesus then told everyone that many will be invited but few will be chosen.
There are many things going on in this parable. The first we see is that the invitation to the feast is sent out and those invited refused to come. This reminds us that God sends out His invitation to have a relationship with Him, but there will many who refuse or ignore the invitation. Some will even be angry at the invitation. In the parable we see that the king sends His servants to invite anyone to the feast since the original invitations were ignored. We know that through Jesus, the invitation to this incredible relationship was extended to anyone who believed; not just the Jews. This was a big change from the Jewish tradition. The last thing we see is that even though we are all invited, there are still things we have to do.
Something I learned a few years ago was that in this culture the person throwing the wedding feast would provide wedding clothes to those who were invited. It would have been considered unacceptable and unheard of to show up to the feast without the wedding clothes that had been provided. We are given the proper clothing to wear through the forgiveness we receive in Jesus. We receive this forgiveness by believing and following Jesus. We cannot accept the invitation and think that we can still dress in our own clothes (or continue doing what we want). We have to understand that our clothes will never be acceptable - our sin isn't something that we can clean out of our hearts. Only Jesus can wash the sin away and give us the clothing for the wedding feast.
What clothes are you wearing?
This post is linked with Soli Deo Gloria.