WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 15, 2021
TOPIC: WHERE IS YOUR WEDDING GARMENT?
BY T. O. BANSO
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless” (Matthew 22:11-12 New King James Version).
I have no idea what he was doing when one of the king’s servants came to him and sounded very urgent. He must come with him to a wedding. He had no prior invitation and he couldn’t understand why the invitation was urgent. But he felt it was going to be a great honour to be the king’s guest. That motivated him to honour the invitation.
He went with him and the other people the king’s servant had gathered. He also met there many like him that had been gathered by the other servants of the king. He entered and sat down probably wondering what qualified them, poor people, for this royal invitation and at a short notice. He most, probably, had not attended a colourful ceremony like that before.
I don’t know how long the guests must have sat down before the king entered. The guests welcomed him with honour according to their culture. The king walked majestically, looked around, and was satisfied that the hall was full. His food and drinks would not be wasted! The original invitees who rejected his invitation had been put to shame! They would hear later the news of the success of the wedding.
Then suddenly the king stopped and the servants around him wondered what the problem was. His countenance changed. He moved towards a particular direction and pointed at one man there. He said, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?”
The man couldn’t say anything because there was no justification for his action. Although the invitation was urgent, he wasn’t the only one so invited. He wasn’t expected to go and buy a wedding garment if he didn’t have one.
Some sources say that the king, customarily, prepared wedding garments for his friends or invited guests who didn’t have them. Anyone of them could apply for a wedding garment and would be given. Otherwise, the king’s question would have been unfair in view of the fact that the guests were brought from the highways. If others could wear the wedding garment, why did this man refuse to? The man had no explanation for his action and the king ordered that he should be bound, taken away, and thrown into outer darkness to suffer there.
Some details in the foregoing story are just my imagination of the parable of Jesus in Matthew 22:1-14 to illustrate the kingdom of heaven. I am by no means trying to add to the Word of God.
Two kinds of invitations to a wedding were usually sent out to guests in the cultural setting of this parable. The first was a long invitation to prepare for the wedding. The second invitation was to tell the invitees that all things were ready. But the guests who failed to honour the king’s invitation to his son’s wedding were invited three times.
Unfortunately, they didn’t say they wouldn’t be coming when they received the first invitation. They started giving excuses at the second invitation when the dinner had been prepared, the oxen and fatted cattle killed, and everything was ready. They were not willing to come.
In Luke’s account, he talks about the excuses these invitees gave. “The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come’” (Luke 14:18-20 New King James Version). These were just lame excuses.
Matthew 22:5-7 says, “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (New King James Version). The phrase “made light of” is ameleo in Greek and it means to “ be careless of.” This passage tells us the different categories of non-believers: the simply indifferent, the absolutely hostile, the contemptuous scorners, and the bitter persecutors (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary).
Could you imagine the invitees maltreating and killing those sent to invite them to come and eat and drink! Since when did that become an offence? This was an embarrassing situation for the king. The king was furious. He quickly took a step to redeem the situation.
Verses 7-10 say, “But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests” (New King James Version).
Things were going on very well until the king came into the hall. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless” (verses 11-12 New King James Version).
The parable continues: “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ‘For many are called, but few are chosen’” (verses 13-14 New King James Version).
The unworthy invitees, those who turned down the invitation, in this parable are the Jews. The king is God. The Son is Jesus Christ. The servants are the preachers. The wedding is eternal life. Those on the highways who were eventually invited are the Gentiles. The wedding garment is the righteousness of God that comes through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Paul talked in Philippians 3:9 about not having his own righteousness, which was from the law, but that which was through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.
This man, like the rest, was not qualified for the wedding but when he honoured the invitation he chose to enter the hall on his own terms. For whatever reason, he didn’t wear the wedding garment which, as some sources say, the king customarily provided for friends/guests who had no suitable wedding garment. You could see that the king called this man “friend” although they were not close.
The man sat there wearing his clothing. This was considered an insult to the king. He was not better than the wicked invitees who rejected the king’s invitation. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3 New King James Version)
No man’s righteousness is good enough to save him. Self-righteousness cannot save anyone. We must have faith in Jesus Christ and, thereby, put on God’s righteousness. Otherwise, there is no hope of being saved. Isaiah 64:6 says we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 New King James Version). Romans 3:24 says being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
There are three groups of people on earth based on the classification of the invitees in this parable. Those who, sadly, have many times rejected the invitation to be saved. Next, we have those who have accepted the invitation and are genuinely saved. The third group is those who are in the church but are not saved. They are like the man who didn’t wear the wedding garment. The third group constitutes the people in the church who think they can be saved on their own terms. They have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. They have not surrendered their lives to Him.
Did you notice that it was the king who pointed out the man who didn’t wear the wedding garment? Have you asked yourself where the king’s servants were? Why did they allow the man to enter the hall? Were they blind? Must the king be the only one to point out the man and pass judgment on him?
Let’s look at it from the dimension of the church. Why are the pastors not sending sinners away from church today? Must they send them away? Where will they send them to for them to be saved? If sinners cannot be saved in the church, where will they be saved? Can pastors determine who must come to church? Do pastors know those who will enter the kingdom of heaven and those who will not? Do they know the relationship of everyone with God?
As the king sent his servants to go into the highways and bring in people, good or bad, the same way Jesus sent His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). The dragnet of the gospel cast into the sea will gather both good and bad but God will do the separation at the end of the age. Sinners shall be cast into the furnace of fire (Matthew 13:47-50). Matthew 25:31-33 says there shall be a separation of the goats from the sheep. The foolish virgins shall be separated from the wise virgins (Mathew 25:1-13).
The pastors can only preach, teach, rebuke, warn, and, of course, discipline erring members who engage in open sin, but they don’t know individuals as much as God knows them. They might not know who will go to heaven. Only God knows the salvation status of everyone. No pastor or denomination will take anyone to heaven. Are you wearing your wedding garment?
Hear these words from Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares: “So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Matthew 13:24-30 New King James Version).
Make sure you’re not a tare; be a wheat-Christian! Don’t be a goat; be a sheep. Don’t be like the foolish virgins; be like the wise virgins. Put on the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:20 New King James Version). Wear your wedding garment.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank you for Your righteousness that comes through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. I shall not be a tare or weed; I shall be a wheat-Christian. I am a sheep, not a goat. Holy Spirit, convict the self-righteous people who are ignorant of God’s righteousness and seek to establish their own righteousness. Help them to submit to the righteousness of God.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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