Trying to Fake It Until You Make It?

While sitting at the wedding feast of my son and his lovely bride, I remembered the wedding parable that Jesus taught. Wearing my plum colored “mother-in-law” dress and looking very matronly, I squirmed just a bit as I considered whether my attire was suitable for this joyous occasion. 

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.”

Matthew 22:2

While sitting under twinkling lights and looking upon the beautiful white flowers, I thought of how Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast. In the parable the king represents God while the son represents Jesus.

A wedding is an important event in our own lives, and I silently thanked God for blessing me to live long enough to attend this important milestone in my son’s life. Not just watching on Zoom but being physically present to hug the bride and groom. What a precious gift I’ve received!

Preparing for the Wedding

A Wedding is not an event that occurs overnight.  Usually there are months of planning the ceremony, finding the perfect dress, and selecting just the right color flowers for the bouquets. 

Just imagine all the preparations that our Heavenly Father has selected to honor His own Son and bride.  In the parable the bride represents “the church.”  If you have accepted God’s invitation and received Jesus as your Savior, then that means you!

A wedding doesn’t take place without a beautiful bride. And the parents, groom, and all who attend eagerly look forward to the first glimpse of the bride in her garment of splendor.  

Who would refuse such a wonderful event?

He sent his servants to call those he had invited to the banquet, but they refused to come.

Matthew 22:3

Imagine that we lived during the time of an earthly king ruling over us.

Can you envision the insult to the king if you refused to attend the wedding feast he prepared for you?

Even if you don’t like whoever lives in the White House, you would think twice about refusing such an important event. 

So why do people so thoughtlessly refuse the invitation that God personally sends?

In Jesus’ parable the invitation to the wedding represents the gospel that Jesus came to earth to live a sinless life so that He could be the perfect sacrifice. Jesus death on the cross was crucial to redeem God’s people into a proper relationship with God. But Jesus didn’t remain in the tomb. Three days later, he overcame death and came back to life! 

For those who refuse God’s invitation, it is an insult to God Almighty. If this category resembles your own current choice, it is not too late to accept His invitation!

At weddings, there may be some people who accept the invitation but do not show up in person on the wedding day. In the parable these people represent the people who eagerly accept God’s invitation but then later may forget to cultivate their daily relationship with Him.

How Do People Respond to the Gospel?

Again, he sent other servants and said, “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner.  My oxen and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.” But they paid no attention and went away, one to his field, another to this business.  The rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.

Matthew 22: 4 – 6

Nobody likes a know it all especially if they are right!  Our human nature lashes out with anger at those who are speaking truth because it conflicts with our own personal beliefs.

But this parable gives us the opportunity to reflect on how we respond to those prickly scripture passages that tend to conflict with our own beliefs.

Do we seize the scripture, ball it up in a wad, and say it doesn’t apply to our current culture?

At this very moment I’m tempted to do just that, because there is a painful verse in this parable. I’m not fond of the ending and would rather change it to a happily ever after for everyone.

The king was enraged, and he sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the crossroads and invite to the banquet as many as you can find. So, the servants went out into the streets and gathered everyone they could find, both evil and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

Matthew 22: 7- 10

What an honor that the King of the Universe does not only invite the most powerful, rich, and famous of our world. Our Savior writes the names of His own on the guest list, which includes poor, powerless, and ordinary people. 

What an honor that Christ desires us to attend! 

Our sin doesn’t exclude us from being able to walk in with confidence. The kindness of God opens his hand and forgives us of all our sins.

But then I’m confused, shocked, and fearful as the parable concludes.

But Jesus is teaching us the most important lesson. While we have been invited to the wedding feast and should shout with joy upon receiving the invitation, we need to realize that we are unfit to appear at the wedding feast in our current sinful condition.

But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, “how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” But the man was speechless. Then the king told the servants, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22: 11 – 14

The King has provided a garment of righteousness for His children and it is the expected attire we are to wear.

While God will invite us to the wedding no matter what our present condition is, He doesn’t expect us to remain stained and soiled.  He personally washes our sins away and creates a path for us to draw near to Him.

Those who appear before the Lord daily do not remain in the same condition as when they first accepted His invitation.  God transforms their inner being day by day. He reveals to them a better way of life.

R. Tuck states that the speechless man in the parable is the representation of all who believe they have special favor with God but do as they please. Those who have no faith in Christ, but rely on their own birthright, education, or good works.

We all have been freely offered the garment of righteousness, but this man refused it and instead showed up in his own sinful condition.  He was speechless because he was convicted of his sin and had no excuse.

While I prefer to think of God as loving, He is also a God of Justice. There are consequences here on earth for refusing to obey man’s laws. In the same way there are eternal consequences for refusing to accept God as your Creator and Lord Jesus as your Savior.

I do not believe this parable is meant to frighten the person who has not accepted Jesus as their Savior but meant as a warning for those who claim to be a child of God.

Are you wearing your garment of righteousness?

The only way we can receive it is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who is our righteousness.

I believe this parable is also meant to motivate His people to go out into the streets and invite all that you can find to attend the wedding feast! 

And not just mail an invitation, but to invest the time needed to disciple the person so they can be dressed in Christ’s righteousness too. 

What does this parable speak to you?  Please leave a comment below to share any insight you may have on the prickly parts of this parable. 

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Published by April Jollie

Teacher + Writer = Lessons of Hope for Tough Days, writer to deepen understanding of God's Word and to stay connected to Jesus.

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