Formal Wear Required: Parable of the Wedding Banquet
Next, after Jesus told the parable of the vineyard, we find a parable about a wedding feast. I have described this last division as the call for formal wear. It was Jesus’s last plea for repentance before these religious leaders moved forward with their appalling plans.
In the parable, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. We know this king to be God the Father. He will one day prepare a wedding banquet for His Son, Jesus, to gather with His beautiful bride, the body of Christ. All who place their faith in Jesus, the Son of God will be attending.
But until that day, there is still a call going out. It’s an invitation to come and place’s one faith in the Promised Son, and to have fellowship with Jesus.
In the story Jesus told, verse 3 says that they refused. The Jewish religious leaders and many others were invited over and over again to repent and be baptized. They had heard to call through John the Baptist and others. But most importantly, they had been invited by Jesus Himself.
Yet verses 5-6 tell us that those who had been invited paid no attention. Some just ignored the call by going on with business as usual. There were others who seized the servants, mistreated them, and even killed them.
This is still true today. There are many who have forsaken it all to spread the gospel message and extend the call of God to those in the darkness of sin. Many are being mistreated for their message of hope and faith and love. And some have and will give their very lives for these truths–just like John the Baptist, James and John, and dear sweet Stephen.
Because of their refusal to come, the king was enraged. We could say He was full of righteous indignation, for He had given His all. He had sacrificed the life of his Son and they could not be bothered; they could care less.
In fact, they would murder Him–their greatest offense in trying to get rid of Him. And so the king would send out His army and destroy those murderers, a reference to the last days and the final judgment.
In the meantime, the banquet was ready and there were no attendees. So the king turned away from these and opened his invitation up to those once not on the guest list.
And that, my dear friends, is you and me and every other man and woman who will not only hear but respond to the call and receive the invitation to come to God the Father through Jesus His Son. He invites the good and the bad, and He fills the banquet hall with the most unlikely guests, like you and me!
He takes our filthy rags and exchanges them for clothes of righteousness.
Verse 11 tells us that as the King went out to greet His guests, He noticed a man who was not dressed in the appropriate attire. He was still clothed in his street clothes, meaning he was still dressed in his sin. And the king asked how he got in there dressed like that and where were his wedding clothes.
The man was left speechless. He had thought he could pull a fast one and get in on his own merits or make his own way.
And so the king had the attendees tie the intruder’s hands and feet and throw him outside into the darkness, where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
You see, Jesus was well aware of what these religious leaders were about to do to Him. He basically told them that as they treated Him, so they too would be treated. For the only way to heaven, the only way to God, is through His Son.
Acts 4:12 says:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
And John 14:6:
Jesus answered, ‘I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’
Therefore those who refuse the invitation of the bridegroom lose their right to come to the banquet feast.
Christ has provided the wedding garment of His righteousness for everyone. But each individual must make the choice to accept His gift of forgiveness and grace in order to enter the King’s banquet–eternal life.
Have you been reconciled to God the Father through the precious gift of His Son?
No one can do it for you. You must deliberately choose Him for yourself, by recognizing that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. and when you do, He exchanges your filthy rags for His robe of righteousness.
And then He calls you and I to bear fruit for His kingdom, and to continue to do so until the day of the wedding feast of the lamb.
We must remember that God’s Word never changes. He in consistent and His love in unfailing. His power is unshakeable and His rule is permanent. God always tells the truth; He always keeps His promises. He always does what he says He will do.
God reveals who He is and what He is like throughout the Bible. He will always be all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and ever-present. He will never change and therefore can be trusted. God is immutable!
This is the God we serve; this is the God we worship.
Won’t you trust Him and do that thing He is calling you to do? You never know whose life might be hanging on the line, whose life depends upon your courage to stand for the truth. Who needs you to trust God to move the mountain of doubt or fear and see that on the other side He is more than you could think or imagine?
Who might need to hear these words? Maybe it’s yourself. So preach the gospel to yourself. Or maybe it’s another. So preach it to them. Time is short. And remember, Jesus said, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” So do your part and leave the rest to Him.
There is an open invitation, but we must be ready in season and out of season to give a reason for our hope while the time is still available!