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“The Family of God: Fully Dressed in Wedding Garments”

Dress at any formal event today is more casual than it once was, but it would still be nice to follow the required dress code. One of the joyous occasions of life is the wedding banquet. In today's Gospel, The Parable of the Marriage Feast, the matter of the wedding garment is instructive. It would be a great insult to the king for a guest to refuse and not wear the garments the king had provided. In this parable, Jesus compares heaven to the wedding that a king has prepared for his son (Matt. 22:2). Many had been invited but when the time came and the table was set, those who were invited refused to come. The king then invited anyone his servants could find in the streets and highways. Finally, the wedding hall was filled with guests (Matt. 22:8-10).

The king is God the Father, and the son who is being honored at the banquet is Jesus Christ. Note that it's not because those invited guests could not come, but they would not come; everyone had an excuse. It is an indication how human nature, when offered the blessings of God, refuses them because of the draw of worldly things. As a result, the kingdom of heaven was opened up to anyone who will set aside his own righteousness and, by faith, accept the righteousness God provides in Christ. Just as the king provided wedding garments for the guests, God provided salvation for mankind. The garment is the righteousness of Christ and unless we have it, we will miss the feast.

God sent His son into the world, but the very people who should have celebrated over His coming rejected Him, bringing judgment upon themselves. This serves as a warning to us, to make sure that we are relying on God's provision of salvation, and not on our own 'good works' or 'religious services'. The cross is the only way to salvation. The calling of salvation pictured here in the glory of the marriage feast is precious. That is the reason the garment was so important to the king. The man in the parable, knowing what was required, still chose not to wear it. When he was confronted, he had nothing to say because he knew his offense. Therefore, he was removed from the celebration.

Our actions have consequences. If we ignore the gift of salvation and cling to our own desires, we will suffer the consequence. The improperly attired guest was thrown out into the outer darkness. Jesus concludes the parable, "for many are called but few are chosen". It's a sad fact that many people hear the call of God but only few heed it.

As we learn much from the parable of our Lord Jesus, I hope we see each other in the feast fully dressed in proper garments.

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