The Only Approved Garments…wedding parables pt 14

 

 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.  

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:1-14)

In this wedding parable, several previous themes converge. The Kingdom (Rule) of God will be like a wedding feast. The Son of the KING will be married at the culmination of history.

Again, as in Luke 14, there are several close friends of the King that were invited and had RSVPed.  Being so close, they assumed they would all be there, and that everyone there would be as they were. But when it came time to attend, “they made light of it”. They had wanted to go, and assumed they would be there, but not with all of their being. It was just another feast to them, they had feasted before, they allowed trivial things to keep them from it.

There are also those who were so hardened between the time of the invitation, and the feast, that they actually mistreated the servants of the King(Evangelists and witnesses) , beating some, stoning others, and eventually even slaying some of them.

The King was furious and sent his armies to them and burnt their city. (This is a reference to what would happen to the original friends of the KING, the recipients of the original invitation). The Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and scattered the Jews from one end of heaven to the other, eradicating the Jewish state for two millennia!).

The same response is occurring in a different way now, as the church goes apostate, deny ingChrist is countless ways. They don’t believe in the feast, and have their own agendas for the church which they are carrying out. God will judge the apostate church as He judged Israel.

The next part of the parable is familiar also, for the invitation is taken out to the poor, the lame , the deformed and sin distorted, miserable sons of Adam, on every crack and crevice. It is the good news ! “The King would have you to his feast! You are being summonsed to something wonderful! A life without fear, pain or sin, with the Creator in heaven.”

But there is a condition. The love of the King isn’t unconditional. Only those who are willing to put on the garments provided by the King himself, will be allowed to enter the feast.

Garments are a prophetic symbol for Righteousness, or salvation. In the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve first knew good and evil by experience, they realized that now they were naked, and they felt shame for the first time. the first couple made outfits out of fig leaves, and clothed themselves to seek to address the shame.

When the Most High came to them, He made them strip themselves of their garments, and put on bloody skins of an animal he slew. Thus he indicated that the answer to the problem of sin, shame and alienation from God, would not be addressed by works (Fig Leaves), but by substitution of Life, poured out blood in place of the guilty party. Not by the blood could man now enter into God’s Holy presence.

Isaiah takes up the wedding theme again, in line with Jesus’ parable,

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.(Isaiah 61:10)

The Gospel tells us that “By the Works of the flesh shall no man be justified before God…”. We must allow God to clothe us with the garment He has ordained for the wedding feast. Salvation is the reception of a garment. It is the casting off of our own filthy rags, and the donning of the beautiful “Garment of salvation” that Jesus purchased with his own blood. We sing in church, “He is all my Righteousness, I stand complete in Him and I worship Him…”.

Isaiah again is helpful, in his sermon in chapter 64,

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

The King walked through the feasts, among the guests he had invited. There were not many wise, or noble according to the standards of this world. He saw the wretched and ruined, the spotted and stained, but all divested of their own filthy garments, and sitting there in beautiful clean garments, thoroughly enjoying every bite of the King’s food, and every song, every Word of the King, even the sight of the King himself!

This wasn’t just another feast to any of them, they could hardly believe their good fortune! Grace was and is amazing to them!

But among them stood a man in his own garment. What was he doing here? How did he get in?  What was he saying by refusing the King’s garment?

He was declaring to one and all, ” I have my own clothes, and they are good enough as far as I am concerned! I get it that these wretches around me ruined their lives and messed their clothes spotting and staining them!,But such is not the case with me… I am fine as I am,I need no new clothes!”.

The church in it’s present state, is a foretaste of the coming feast. We have ‘the powers of the Age to come” in part, and participate in the appetizer, the LORD’s Supper. But at present there sit among us, those who in their hearts do not believe that they are sinners. They have never been broken and stripped of their own self righteousness before God, and tremblingly clothed in the Righteousness of Jesus.

It is to these that the KING shall soon say, “How did you get in here?”, and who will be cast out into outer darkness, expelled from the wedding feast and from all that is good, and true and beautiful.

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