Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying. “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murders and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So, go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So, the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and food, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
For many are invited, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:1-14
The king who prepared the wedding banquet had designated a specific group to receive the initial invitation to the wedding feast. These were his chosen people. These were the best of the best. But they were too busy. They were so absorbed in their own lives they felt it appalling that this king would dare send his servants to interrupt their lives for a silly wedding feast. So, what did they do? They killed his servants.
But there was a wedding awaiting a celebration, and by golly, there were going to be guests!
How many times over social media do we come across comparable stories? A child has a birthday party and their mom invites all their classmates to celebrate with them. She plans all sorts of games, buys all sorts of snacks, hires the entertainer that absolutely must be at all the “good birthday parties” – and no one shows up. She then goes on a rant on Facebook and occasionally one of these moms will invite her Facebook friends and their kids to attend or send a card… something to participate in celebrating her baby, because she loves her child and cannot bear to see her baby hurting.
This is what happened with the king. His son was celebrating a huge milestone, his marriage, and the people he considered his friends refused to come. They stood him up. They rejected him, not caring who they hurt in the process. So, in comes dad! Like a hero, he tells his servants to fill those seats. His son is not going to be celebrating alone. And his servants do just that. There is not an empty seat in the place.
But it is a wedding. This is not just a casual Sunday afternoon picnic. You must dress properly for a wedding. There are dress codes to abide by. Do not wear white to a wedding! Do not try to out dress the bridal party! Do not dress like trash. Now depending on the wedding, the dress codes are flexible. But this was not a cute little country wedding with holey jeans and cowboy boots. This was a formal affair. This was a black bow tie-tuxedo wedding! And some guy showed up in their everyday attire.
The king was upset, and rightly so! Who was this man who thought that he was better than someone else - that he did not need to dress properly for a wedding? The gall! When the king confronted the man, there was no apology. There was no “I did not have the proper clothes”. There was silence. The man was actually stunned that the king had said anything to him about how he was dressed. But this was the king’s son’s wedding, and there was a dress code, and this man (just like everyone else) was required to dress properly for the wedding.
Much like the wedding feast, the kingdom of God has a dress code. No, you don’t need to wear ankle length skirts or sleeves down to your finger-tips. No, there is no anti-makeup policy and you will not get banned if you have tattoos. BUT the kingdom of God DOES have a dress code.
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.” – Hebrews 9:14
When Jesus died for us, his blood was shed for our sins. For every area that we fall short. That is the dress code! We need to be washed in the blood of Jesus.
Many are invited, but few are chosen.
Jesus died once for all, but that does not mean that all are going to be able to attend the wedding feast with him. To be a part of the kingdom of God, you must accept the cleansing of Jesus’s blood. He did not die so you can reject him, he died so you can accept him and spend eternity with him. Accepting Jesus does not mean praying a simple prayer and you’re good to go. It means turning away from the gunk of your life before Jesus. It means turning away – making an about-face – from everything that goes against what Jesus says. Think of it like this. If you were living under a bridge and someone came up to you with a million dollars, you would not continue to live under a bridge. You would leave the homeless life behind. When you accept Jesus, you are asking for his blood to cleanse you. To wash away your sins.
Many are invited, but few are chosen.
Jesus answered, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6
The truth is that it does not matter how “good” you think you are. It does not matter how sincere your beliefs in your other religion (or lack of belief). It does not matter! You’ve been invited to the wedding feast, but are you willing to dress the part? Are you willing to be washed in the blood?