Matthew 22:1-3, 8-13a, 14 - And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited, ... but they would not come. ... Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. ...' For many are called, but few are chosen."
The last wedding guest sticks out like a sore thumb. Everybody else is dressed for the occasion! They're all sitting there in lovely clothes, clean and fresh, admiring one another. Clearly the king had people handing out wedding clothes at the door. Which is only sensible—if you're going to grab your guests off the street and you care about their dress, you'd better provide for their needs yourself.
But there's this one guy, still wearing a ratty T-shirt and cut-off shorts. How could that happen? The king assumes there must have been some mistake and asks about it.
But no, the man has no excuse. Apparently he refused the clothing that was offered him! The king has had it with human beings and their attitudes today, so he has the man thrown out. Everyone else enjoys the party.
The king in this parable is of course God, and the guests—well, they're us! God has reached into our sinful, messed-up ordinary lives and grabbed us to be part of His Son's wedding. But of course we're in no state to be seen at Jesus' reception! So God has washed and dressed us—that is, He has forgiven us and made us clean and new, fit for a heavenly party.
So there we sit, honored and happy and joyful—except for those who refuse God's generous charity. "I'm not wearing borrowed clothes," they say. "If my life isn't good enough for Him," they say, "then to hell with Him!"
Well, the Heavenly King will accept a lot of things—but not deliberate rudeness to His Son. Such people can keep their dirt if they insist—but they'll have to do it outside. They get thrown out—into eternal darkness.
What alternatives! Darkness or a party? Our own rags—or clean, new hearts, provided by Jesus Himself through His death and resurrection? This is no choice at all. Give us Your good gifts, O Lord!
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, give me the clean heart and forgiveness You won for me at the cross. Thank You! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Why do some people insist on holding on to their own rags?
2. Why is the king upset with that? Why would God be upset with us refusing His gifts?
3. What good gifts has God given you in Jesus? Name as many as you can.
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