Everyone loves a wedding, don’t they – especially royal weddings? Well, not everyone! In fact, we are told in the Bible about some people who were downright rude in their rejection of their invitation to just such a wedding, even showing contempt for the king!
In Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast (Matt. 22:1-14), a king (God) “sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.” It was the wedding of the king’s son. A royal wedding. A glad and splendid occasion. Why would people not be willing to come? One would think people would be overjoyed to be honored with an invitation to attend a great royal event such as this. Jesus tells us why they would not come to the feast. Some, He said, “made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.” These were uninterested because they had other interests which they thought outweighed honoring the king’s son. By making fun of their invitation they showed that they did not respect or honor the King. There were others who “seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them,” showing themselves to be enemies of the King. There are counterparts to these still in the world. Don’t be among them!
After the rejection of the invitation and destruction of those initially invited to the gala event, the king then said to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.” Those first invited were the people of Jesus’ day – the Jewish nation, privileged to be asked first because their relationship to God as “the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6; 25:24). Because of their rejection (and destruction), the king then says to His servants, “Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.” (Matt. 22:8-9). The invitation now was open to all – as it is to this day. Whosoever will may come!
In the concluding scene, Jesus relates a disturbing incident; “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.” We must understand that in the ancient East, one did not come into the presence of a king without suitable attire. One’s best clothing was not good enough – and certainly not filthy work clothes. Therefore the custom in the East of presenting festival garments to those who were invited to royal events. The man’s own clothing represents the attempts of men to appear before God with their own righteousness. Those who come before God today cannot come clothed in their own righteousness, for “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” (Isa 64:6). If we are to be acceptable before the King today, we must be made righteous by God. We must put on the garment He gives us (Phil 3:9). We must put on the Lord Jesus. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal 3:27).
Aren’t you glad the King still invites everyone? Won’t you respond to the His invitation today? A wonderful feast is spread and waiting for you! Don’t keep the King waiting!