Today’s Reading: Matthew 22:1-14
The phrase that I can hear echoed everywhere as many finish the first reading of this passage is, “but that’s not fair!” That’s not fair that this man was thrown out of the wedding banquet for not wearing the right clothes. That’s not fair…he may not have had access to the proper attire. That’s not fair…after all…this person may not have been given ample notice in order to prepare his wardrobe for the party. That’s not fair…it is likely that this person was among, “the bad people” as Matthew points out. How was he supposed to know what was appropriate and what was inappropriate? If we would all be honest, this parable does not seem to square with the benevolent, grace filled, and merciful Jesus that we know. However, as we take a closer look at this situation we see a parable that points to the incredible grace and patience of our Savior.
This person who came into the wedding banquet was not an innocent bystander who did not have access to the proper clothes. What we see here is an individual who was not willing to wear the clothes provided him by the host of the party. In this time period, it was customary for the one throwing the party to provide wedding clothes for all of the guests invited. Therefore, out of respect and honor to the host everyone attending the party would wear these clothes that were given to them. The fact that this person came in without wearing wedding clothes is an indicator that he did not respect the king or his wishes. Furthermore, this person did not the see the need to properly prepare himself for the banquet. This was clearly an act of selfishness and rebellion.
This is the same way it is in God’s Kingdom. We have all been invited to this great banquet that will occur some day in the future. However, to get into this banquet we must prepare ourselves and dress ourselves with the clothes that are given to us. Here we get a glimpse of the incredible grace shown toward us. The wardrobe that God gives us is not a result of our own doing or our own morality. There is nothing that we can do to be worthy of attending this banquet. However, we must clothe ourselves with the salvation that Jesus offers us and that He freely gives us. If we choose to accept these clothes we can enter the celebration. If we choose to reject this gift, punishment will result.
As we get closer to celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, let the knowledge that Jesus has freely offered salvation to us drive us to tremendous worship. While we certainly do not deserve to be invited to the party, Jesus Christ has made a way for us to attend. When we look at it from this perspective it is really not fair that we are invited…but Jesus chose to invite us anyway. I am so grateful that I do not get what I deserve. Now that is grace!