“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.” (verses 11-12)
Having the right clothes is an absolute necessity for this wedding banquet – otherwise, you have no right to be there. Indeed, the consequence is severe – this inappropriately dressed non-guest is thrown out into outer darkness, into weeping and gnashing of teeth, a clear picture of eternal judgement.
So, how is this fair? Why is the king so particular? Why isn’t he more forgiving, flexible, gracious?
The answer, of course, comes in the implied background of the story. Wedding garments, fresh and clean, appropriate to the occasion, are provided by the host himself at the entrance to the feast. They had to be, for this group of guests is completely rag-tag and ill-prepared for the event, having been recruited, beyond all expectation, from roads and street-corners, highways and byways, compelled at the last minute to come into the king’s royal wedding feast. The preparation of the guests is entirely in the hands of the host. The implication is that wedding garments were made available, at the king’s own command and expense, as the guests entered.
What joy to enter into the festivities clothed in garments just right for the occasion, fully meeting the king’s own sense of taste. No need for any sideways glances of comparison. No need to wonder if your outfit was in style. No need for second looks in the hallway mirror. The clothes, once donned, were just right.
What, then, of this shabbily dressed man? Clearly, he had not availed himself of the offered garments. Not only is it foolish, prideful and ungrateful – it is also a slap in the face to the host who provided, the king himself. No wonder this man forfeits his place at the celebration.
All of this leads me to revel in the clothes I have received. There was nothing in my own wardrobe that would do. All I had was dated, cheap, garish, torn and stinking. But the king provided me, fresh off the streets, with the classiest suit of clothing going, tailor-made for me, exactly right for the occasion.
Thank you, Jesus. At your own expense, I am clothed in stunning attire – comfortable, well-fitted, stylish, just right.
The Apostle Paul invites us: “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14), and John’s vision of heaven lets us see those who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). It is this clothing that makes the difference. These garments give us access. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
So, when the “Spirit and the bride say ‘Come!’ … let him who hears say, ‘Come!’” (Revelation 22:17).
Get dressed for the wedding. Put on these garments, offered from nail-pierced hands. Live suited-up. Enjoy the provision. It’s the only way to attend the banquet.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your provision. Thank you for clothing me in robes washed white by your own sacrifice. With confidence in your provision, and with great joy, I look forward to engaging in the banquet on that great coming day. You welcome me to enter into your joy. For your glory. Amen.
Give thanks: If the clothes hadn’t been provided, you’d be out on the street. Take 5 minutes to rehearse for yourself all you have gained by Jesus' provision – and give thanks for each.
Photo by Nothing Ahead: https://www.pexels.com/.../elegant-blue-suit-hanging-on.../