Jesus’ Second Wedding Parable
The second parable comes in Matthew 22:11-14, and matches a similar story the rabbis would tell. In order to get the flow of it, we have to back up and remember how Jesus tied the two parables together:
Matthew 22:8-14 Modern English Version (MEV)
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
8 “Then he [the king] said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the streets, and invite to the wedding banquet as many as you find.’ 10 So those servants went out into the streets and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man who was not wearing wedding garments. 12 He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding garments?’ And he was speechless.
13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
In the rabbinical story, the king gives royal robes to all his servants. The wise servants put the robes away for safe keeping, but the foolish ones wear the robes and get them dirty. When the king asks for the robes back, the wise servants are praised and invited into the palace for a feast.
The foolish servants are punished and thrown in jail. The point of the story was that clean, pure lives had to be presented to God in order to get into heaven. It made the scribes and Pharisees look good, since they alone perfectly kept all the rules they made concerning purity. Everybody else looked bad since nobody could keep rules like the Pharisees could.
Jesus turned this story upside down too. In His day, when you came to a royal banquet, you had to be arrayed in the best garments, or you dishonored the king. Jesus agreed with that symbolism: when you and I come into God’s presence, in order to enter heaven, we must be robed in purity, holiness and righteousness.
You can’t hide yourself in a crowd of people who have been born again and hope that whatever it is they have will somehow rub off on you. The man was speechless because he knew he had no excuse. The reason why can be found in another well-known passage in Jesus day, Zechariah 3:1-5
Zechariah 3:1-5 Modern English Version (MEV)
The Vision of Joshua the High Priest
3 Then he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebukes you! Is this not a burning brand taken out of the fire?”
3 Now Joshua had on filthy garments and was standing before the angel. 4 And he said to those standing before him, “Take off his filthy garments.”
Then he said, “See that I have removed from you your iniquity, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
5 And I said, “Let them place a pure turban on his head.” So they put a pure turban on his head and garments on him. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
Have you ever taken all of your sin to Jesus and asked Him to forgive you for it all – even what you considered to be your good behavior, that time you bit your tongue instead of saying the man words you were thinking. That time you showed self control when the craving was raging inside you.
All those times when your good behavior, and your good manners, hid all the terrible things you were thinking and feeling. Have you offered up even those things to God for His forgiveness?
When Jesus died on the cross, He took on Himself every sin, and the robe of righteousness He offers to you is only in exchange for every one of your sins. Otherwise you will come to the wedding dressed in your own robes.
God invites you to come and wear Christ’s righteousness
God invites the undeserving to come and wear Christ’s righteousness. Everybody receives an invitation from God, but not many people accept God’s invitation. On a Christian’s calendar there should only be two dates: today, and That Day, the day of Christ’s return.
To Christians – what have you promised God something but you’ve never yet done it? Do you know that the timing is always going to be inconvenient? That’s the way life is. You and I will always have stuff going on. Today the Father is inviting you to join Him, through the life of His Son. What will you say, while it is still today?