Read: Matthew 22:1-14
Chapters 22 and 23 includes intense words from Jesus that leave little room to doubt His authority. If there were gray areas before, reading these words sharpen the contrast and move the colors to more distinctive black and white. This is an important perspective in Matthew’s account as he is building up to the crucifixion in chapters 26 & 27. My intention was to read through the two chapters, but I got stuck on the parable. I pray it will stick to you as well.
The parable of the wedding feast Matthew 22:1-14 is particularly poignant. Each time I land on this parable, I have to pause and re-read to get my head wrapped around the conclusion:
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
If that’s all I read, or if that verse is removed from its context, I would walk away either greatly encouraged or completely depressed. The team at gotquestions.org do a great job of explaining the concept of a wedding feast and I encourage you to take a moment and review that short post: GotQuestions.org.
The key to understanding the verse above is understanding that many were invited, but they chose not to attend:
but they refused to come…But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. Matthew 22:3, 5
Not only that, but some messengers were mistreated and even killed. The meaning is quite clear, but the part I struggled with is verse 12:
‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. Matthew 22:12
Here’s the thought: the Gospel is freely presented to all, openly and equally, but many will refuse to put away their own selfish desires and put on the new clothes offered. Accepting Christ is more than a phrase or a canned prayer–it requires change. Yes, it is free, but it come with a cost. Let that sink in a while.
Many will be invited, some will even show up clutching their pride and possessions as if they were the center of the universe. Sad. Somewhat insightful at times.
Lord, my hands are open
my knees bent before your throne.
Take my pride and toss it away,
replace my clothes with yours.
Let this be the day
that I walk away from the old
embrace the new.
Let this be the day
I put my trust
completely in you.
After those words spilled onto the page I had to walk away for a moment. The featured image is what I saw. My sincere desire is to be deeply cleansed by Jesus. More than just words, I need to put on the wedding clothes He offers and join in the celebration.
Don’t get lost in the one who refused to go to the feast or those who went but showed their arrogance by not wearing the clothes provided. Instead, receive the joy that Christ offers today. Let you face shine with His love and may that be a beacon of hope for others.