Some parables are easier to understand than others, aren’t they? Today’s reading started with one of the harder ones, so let’s look at it.
This is the parable that Jesus told to the chief priests and elders, about the wedding dinner.
Here it is again, briefly. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like this. A king prepared a wedding dinner for his son. He sent his servants out to those who had been invited to tell them that all was ready for them. But they refused to come.
So he sent more servants out to tell them that he had lots of food for them. It’s all ready for you. Please come. But they ignored the servants and went back to work. And some of them beat up the servants and killed them.
So the king was understandably angry, and he sent out his army, who killed the murderers and burned their city.
Then the king said, “Look. Everything is ready, but the people I invited weren’t fit to come. So go out to the highways and byways and invite everyone you see. And the servants brought back so many guests that the wedding hall was full with all kinds of people. Some good, some bad.
And when the king came to see the guests, he saw someone who was not wearing wedding clothes. And the king said, “Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” And the man was speechless.
So the king told his servants to tie up the man and throw him outside into the darkness, where people cry and grind their teeth.
Wow! So what’s going on here? What is Jesus saying?
Remember who Jesus is talking to? The chief priests and elders. The religious Jews. These are the folks who hate Jesus and have been trying to trap him and trick him into saying something for which they can charge him with blasphemy. They are the ones who should have been able to see that Jesus is the Messiah that they have been waiting for, but instead are blind. And because of their blindness, they are keeping the people from seeing the Messiah.
And in the parable, they are the ones who were first invited to the wedding dinner. God first invited the Jews to partake in grace. But they rejected Him. And we know that they ended up killing not just Jesus, but those who would go out to tell others about Him. Many early Christians were martyred for spreading the message of the Good News.
The second group invited to the dinner, the ones found on the highways and byways is the non-Jews, the Gentiles…everyone…the world! John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world…” When the Jews rejected Jesus, God invited anyone who would to come to the wedding.
What a wonderful invitation! The feast is prepared, and it is rich.
So what of the man who was not wearing wedding clothes? This man represents the hypocrite. We talked about those who say they are Christians and are not on episode 431. If you are a true follower of Christ, you are wearing the wedding clothes. Believers are called the Bride of Christ, and what bride does not wear a wedding dress? Anyone without the wedding dress cannot partake of the wedding, and will be thrown out. But remember, each person has the choice. Each person is given the opportunity to accept or reject, and anyone who tries to come in any other way will be found out and treated like a thief or a robber.
We have been invited to the wedding dinner. Are you prepared? What are you wearing?