The wedding was a couple weeks away. I looked through my closet paying close attention to that one rack I rarely even glance at… my fancy occasion clothes. There wasn’t much to pick from: a bridesmaid’s dress, a few business suits, a black dress, and a costume from a play I once was in. Even my limited fashion sense knew none of these were appropriate for an outdoor June wedding. So off I went to shop.
I had planned on just a new dress – seemed simple enough. But then the endless barrage of questions began. Do I have shoes to go with that? What about jewelry? What if I get cold? Do I have a sweater to wear with that? And that beat up, black backpack of a purse might be fine for work, but for a wedding? No. And that watch! You can’t wear that manly-looking wrist watch to a wedding! Needless to say before I knew it, the new dress was the least of my worries. I had to have a whole new ensemble. Everything from head to toe had to be right.
The Bible talks a lot about weddings. Jesus even talked about having the right clothes for a wedding. The parable is in Matthew 22. The story goes that there was a king who sent out invitations for his son’s wedding. As the wedding approached he sent out his servants to collect the RSVPs. It turned out they weren’t very favorable. Many of the invited guests refused to go. So the king sent out his servants again to tell them what was on the menu hoping that would entice them to come. But still they refused. So finally, he sent out his servants to the streets. He said, “Invite anyone, the good and the bad. Ask them to come to my son’s wedding.”
On the day of the wedding the wedding hall was filled. Those strangers the servants invited came out in droves. But there was one guest in particular who stuck out like a sore thumb. He wasn’t dressed in wedding clothes. (I sort of picture torn jeans and a stained tank top, but the Bible doesn’t say.) When the king confronts this guest and asks him how he got in without wedding clothes the guest has no answer. So the king immediately had him tied up and thown out.
There is a tradition that says that wedding clothes were provided to all of the guests. So this wasn’t just a refusal of this guest to not dress appropriately. He refused to even put on the clothes he was given. So what was Jesus trying to say? Is He really talking about the importance of going shopping before a wedding?
The wedding feast Jesus is talking about is heaven. The invited guests in this parable were the Jews. They had a very special relationship with the King – God – Jesus’ Father. They were (and still are) His chosen people. But they were rejecting the King’s Son. They didn’t recognize Jesus for who He was. They refused to go to His wedding feast! So the King, God, reached out to others, to those who weren’t Jewish. To them (us) He said, “Come.”
And when we get to His wedding feast there is one thing He is going to be looking for when we arrive… what we are wearing. Now it would be so easy to twist this into thinking that we have to make sure that we look a certain way or do a certain number of things so we look presentable to the King. But that’s NOT what this is about. We are not capable within ourselves to look presentable enough to enter heaven. Our best “wardrobe” of good works, and going to church, and not-cussing, and reading the bible won’t allow us access into heaven. The prophet Isaiah says that our righteousness (good deeds) are like filthy rags (torn jeans and a stained tank top).
But, what WILL give us entry is plain and simply, Jesus. It is recognizing that He is the Son of the King. It is knowing whose wedding we’re at and humbly accepting the invitation we’ve been given! And most importantly, it is taking the garment that HE gave us… HIS righteousness… and putting it on to cover our filthy rags!
Jesus righteousness, the garment He gives us to wear, is a head to toe look. We can’t keep our old watch, or our beat up, tattered purse full of junk. We can’t wear our own comfy tennis shoes and hope no one notices. He wants all of us, from head to toe, inside and out, 100% His, covered completely by Him and what He did for us on the cross.
And, it’s personal. His invitation and His garment of righteousness is custom made for each of us. He wants to know if you will accept them. He wants your RSVP.
The invitation to come celebrate in the wedding feast has been issued. The clothes for you to wear have also been given to you. And as one of His servants I am delivering His message to you, “Come.” Put on Jesus by asking Him to be the God, the only God, of your life. Ask Him to cover you for all that you’ve done wrong with what He has done right. He’s taken the blame and the punishment for your sin. He wants you to receive that gift as your very own. Don’t refuse it. And when you put that garment on, know that it is a head to toe look. Everything you are is now His. Don’t hang on to anything that’s yours. Give it all over to Him.
For those of you who already know Him, it is Jesus’ righteousness that makes us “The Glove.” We wouldn’t be able to “B DA GLV” in the world without Him clothing us. Remember that it is not YOUR best ensemble, it is His… all His.
Lord, thank you for the invitation to come to your wedding feast. And thank you for giving us the whole outfit, your Son Jesus, not only to wear to the feast, but to honor and bring you glory here while we wait for the feast to begin. Help us to reflect you wherever you put us and to whomever crosses our path. In His most precious name, amen.