12th day of Lent
“And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.”
Imagine throwing a party that no one wanted to attend. You bought all of the food and drinks, decorated for the day, planned the activities and – most important – sent out all of the invitations. And those went to your closest friends and family – people you were certain would show up. But not one person came, and no one even bothered to RSVP. How would that make you feel?
The party in this story is even a bigger deal than our hypothetical party. Jewish weddings in the time of Christ were such a big deal that the party would often last an entire week. People absolutely loved going to weddings, and that was just the average weddings of average people. But a royal wedding would have been a HUGE deal. To receive such an invitation would have been an enormous honor. But in Jesus’ parable, the king’s invitations went completely unheeded. None of the invited guests wanted to come. The king’s first invitation was ignored, and the some of the servants who delivered the second invitation were treated with violence. Finally, the king resorts to inviting anyone who the servants could find. Still, those who were invited would have known how big of a deal this wedding was, and they would have gone home to clean up and put on their finest clothing for the big event.
But one man showed up “with no wedding garment.” There is a suggestion that each guest would have been offered a beautiful, clean garment – much as a man might be given a coat and tie to enter a nice restaurant. But this man seems to have refused the nice clothing, and opted to continue wearing dingy, dirty “street clothes.” Seeing this, the king had the man ejected from the party, bound hand and foot, into the darkness outside.
That’s not a pretty picture, but it’s pretty clear that God says we will not get into His presence on our own accord. Our “clothing” – the supposed righteousness we try and create for ourselves – will never be good enough to earn God’s eternal rewards. Only the righteousness that He provides us (free of charge!) will earn us entry into His presence in Heaven. But if we opt to spurn his garments of righteousness and opt to continue doing things our own way, we can certainly expect that He will not allow us an eternity with Him, but rather apart from Him in utter darkness.
Today, if you truly know the Lord and have accepted His son, thank Him for that gift and ask how you might share it with someone else. If you haven’t yet accepted Christ, today would be a perfect day to cast aside the filthy rags of your sins and instead clothe yourself in His righteousness. (You can find a great explanation of how to do that here.)
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.