The King Throws a Party [Part 2]
By Alan Wright — December 31, 2018
Are you ready for some good news?
If you arrive to the King’s party with improper attire, no worries; He provides you with royal clothing.
Today’s Text: “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.” (Matthew 22:11–12, ESV)
Jesus’ famous parable of the wedding banquet is startling at almost every level.
Firstly, He compares the kingdom of God to a party! The kingdom of God (unlike my impression of the stuffy formal church of my childhood) is like a joyful, celebrative, lavish party.
Secondly, when the aristocrats decline their invitations, the king invites anyone and everyone. “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” (Matthew 22:10, ESV). There were ex-convicts and street people in the king’s banquet hall!
Thirdly, the delightful story takes a disturbing twist at the end. The generous king discovered a guest who wore no wedding garment and, “speechless,” threw out the improperly clothed guest.
A lot of commentators suggest that the outcast guest represents those who profess Christ but don’t demonstrate enough good works to prove that they are saved. But if such an interpretation is correct then the parable isn’t good news at all. Wouldn’t it be terrifying to be at a king’s party knowing that you don’t own any royal attire yet knowing that the king expects you to be wearing regal clothing? Wouldn’t it be unnerving to be invited to a great party but with the disclaimer: “If you don’t wear the correct clothes you will be cast into outer darkness”?
The story only makes sense if you understand an ancient cultural custom. When a king gave a great party that included commoners, the king’s staff offered guests wedding attire from the king’s own closet. Everyone at the party is dressed in princely arraignment. The guest who was thrown out must have refused the offer of a royal suit for the party. It’s true, when you come into the kingdom of God, you wear a new outfit – it’s the King’s own clothing.
God doesn’t just save you – He clothes you. He doesn’t just invite you into the great party of the kingdom of God; He imputes His Son’s righteousness to you. You get invited into the kingdom and then are given Jesus’ own righteous clothes to wear. And that’s the Gospel!