Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 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.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 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. ” But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 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.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1-14)
Can you imagine that? Would you ever skip a wedding reception if invited by your king?
And if you remember, there were some pretty lame excuses why people couldn’t be bothered to attend!
So the king, having found out who TRULY were his friends, sent his servants out to invite anyone they found in the street. These people invited were commoners, slaves, servants and merchants. They were honest and hardworking people, but also, according to the Scripture, bad people, criminals and thieves. Anyone who happened to be on the street was invited to come to this sumptuous feast.
Now, this parable from Jesus is not really about a wedding feast, but a story about the salvation that is available if you follow Jesus. The king represents God, who asks each and every one of us to come into his Kingdom. . . no matter what our station in life, what we have done in the past. The Kingdom of Heaven is not limited to only the ‘good’ people or the Jewish people.
Heaven is open to all of us.
But there are some conditions for entry to the Kingdom of Heaven. The scripture says that there was one man who did not have a wedding robe. But this doesn’t refer to a piece of clothing – that just doesn’t make sense since the king’s servants went out onto the street and hauled in everyone they could find. Obviously, no one was dressed for the wedding.
This ‘robe’ is the ROBE OF SALVATION, which we all get when we give our lives to Jesus. . . when all our sins are forgiven and we are clean and spotless.
In Isaiah 6:10, we are told that when accept Christ, we are
clothed me with the garments of salvation, and He has wrapped with a robe of righteousness.
It is God who clothes us. Nothing that we do can possibly be enough to earn us salvation or righteousness. Only God can cleanse us from iniquity and cause us to be truly blameless, or righteous.
But we have a choice – we can choose to accept Christ and wear the ‘wedding robe’ or we can choose not to. It is solely up to each one of us.
The last line of the scripture (Matthew 22:14) says:
For many are called, but few are chosen.
We all receive the invitation, but not everyone will be chosen. Are you going to be one of the ‘chosen’ ones or will you be thrown into darkness?
It is your choice. . . what are you going to choose?
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, open our eyes and hearts to the wonders of your salvation through Jesus Christ. Please help us to see that we can throw off the rags of our current life and put on shiny white robe through your salvation. May we live our lives on the path to your Kingdom. Amen.
Delivered to In the Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH; 15 October 2017