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Parable of the Wedding Garment

Matthew 22:1-14


This is the final of Jesus’ parables.


Weddings:  Each one wears their best for the occasion.  We all should try to wear our Sunday best, though we don’t focus outwardly in this church, I think it’s the least we can do for our groom, the best man Who ever lived, and the Father of the bride as well!


We all must do laundry from time to time, and change clothes often. 


Joke—I used to try to excuse myself for wearing the same thing every single day saying, “Jesus never changes.” 


But God wants us to be clean first of all on the inside, then outwardly as a result.  He wants us to live well and become sweet incense in His nostrils.


Joke—ever heard of Windwood Deodorant?  They have this bargain brand at Aldi.  Their slogan is:  “So strong you could skip a day.”  Somebody needs to give them a new idea.  My wife says, “You smell so strong it’s like you skipped a day!”


The scope of this parable is very wide; it seems to embrace this whole dispensation of Grace. The “certain King” is God the Father; the “Son,” Jesus Christ; the “marriage,” the new relationship into which the Son was about to enter; the “servants,” the apostles of Christ;  “those that were bidden, ” the Jews, who, as a nation, had received notice long before; the “other servants,” perhaps those who went forth after Pentecost ; the “dinner,” the provision made by God in the death of His Son for hungry, perishing souls ; they “made light of it ,” the rejection of Christ by the Jews, His called ones; the “city burned,” destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans thirty years later; “Go into the highways,” the universal invitation of the Gospel; the “wedding furnished,” the calling out and completion of the Church; “the King came in to see the guests, ” the second Coming of Christ ; “Bind him, and cast him into outer darkness,” the separation of the chaff from the wheat; He shall thoroughly purge His floor.


The Gospel of the grace of God is here beautifully set forth. Observe the-


I. Provision. “Behold, I have prepared My dinner; all things are ready; come” (v. 4). The provision was wholly His own. “My oxen, my fatlings are killed.” He spared not His own Son, but freely gave Him up to the death for us all. The provision was very great; it included “all things.” All things are yours if ye are Christ’s. Those who came to this feast found what sinners find in coming to Christ-


1. REST on a Kingly couch.

2. SHELTER under a royal roof.

3. SATISFACTION at a story-book table.

4. FELLOWSHIP with Princely friends.


II. Invitation. “Come unto the marriage” (v 4).  This invitation is for all. Whosoever will may come; both bad and good were called. The Gospel invitation ‘takes no notice’ of our character; the vilest as well as the most virtuous must accept the invitation on equal terms.  None deserve it. It is the goodness of God freely offered to all. The pompous prince and the poverty-stricken beggar are both alike indebted to the mercy and grace of God for salvation. Because of this many “make light of it.” To make light of the invitation is to make light of the God who gives it. That is no light matter. 


Provision, invitation…


III. Inspection. “The King came in to see the guests” (v. 11). – Like a military sergeant, each one will be closely inspected.  All who accept the invitation expect to see the King; with joy they wait for His Coming. Those who are living in rebellion against His will, despising His grace, may well dread His appearing. He comes to see and to welcome all those who have believed His Word through His servants.


IV. Detection. “He saw a man which had not on a wedding garment” (v . 11). Only one, but the quick eye of the King soon found him out. The man was conspicuous, not for what he had, but for what he had not. “A wedding garment.” The garment was part of the King’s provision, but he refused it. It is not enough that we merely believe the invitation of the Gospel; we must lay hold of the righteousness of God, which is offered us in Christ Jesus, and upon all them that believe. Remember that mingling among the people of God does not fit us for meeting the King. Rubbing shoulders with royals doesn’t make you one of them.  You may escape the detection of the servants, but the Searcher of hearts will find you out.  Today it’s the Christians who stand out, but on that day when you want to blend in, you must be wearing the right thing or you’ll be easily detected!


V. Interrogation. “Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?” (v. 12). He does not take him by the throat. This is the language of tenderest compassion, but he is faithful and just. It was not the King’s fault, but perhaps he was priding himself in his own good-looking garments, prepared for the occasion, and all duly paid for. He belongs to the family of those “who go about to establish their own righteousness” (Rom. 10.3).


Provision, invitation, inspection, detection, interrogation…


VI. Conviction. “He was speechless” (v. 12). It’s like standing naked before a crowd.  Ever had that dream?  He was self-condemned before a court from which there was no appeal. He may have been making fine speeches before the King came in, but now his mouth is stopped. There is no one to plead his cause.  In his behalf all his friends are speechless. Truly you should boast of nothing now that you will not rejoice in when the King comes. This man does not even ask for mercy, so utterly hopeless is his case now.  It is a solemn moment when all the lies are swept away by the power of His presence. “What wilt thou say when He shall punish thee?” (Jer. 13.21). 


VII. Expulsion. “Then said the King, Bind him, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness” (v. 13).  The man who despises the King’s garment will never taste His feast. Think of what he was taken away from. Away from all his opportunities and companions, into the outer darkness, the darkness of hopeless despair, that is, outside the kingdom of God’s dear Son. What a change!  What a disappointment! Out from the presence of a feast into the place of weeping. There will be great and sudden changes when He shall appear.  Let’s change clothes now!

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