Focal Passage: Matthew 22:1-14
In his later years Mark Twain became pretty cynical about spiritual matters. In his book, Letters from the Earth, he discusses his amazement at what he perceived was the Christian view of heaven. None of the pleasures that excite mankind to the point he will risk life, reputation, everything, is there. Prayer takes its place.
There is singing — the kind of singing that would empty the house in two hours here goes on night and day, constantly, incessantly. And harps — every person is playing a harp — those millions and millions! Whereas not more than 20 in 1,000 of them could play an instrument on earth, or ever wanted to.
If that is the picture we have of what God has in store for us it is vastly different from the picture Jesus gives us. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.”
Both of my children have gotten married in the last two years. Their weddings were festive times of celebrating and dancing with our best friends. We shared wonderful food, laughter and conversation around the tables. We rejoiced that our son and daughter both had found someone to love and share life with. If God is planning a feast for us in heaven that feels like a wedding banquet, it is not something we will want to miss.
The invited guests do not seem very excited about their invitation. Those who had received a Save the Date notice found other things more important to do when the day finally arrived.
These were not emergencies that prevented their appearance, but were routine matters of business. To put it mildly, the king did not take their refusal well. He expanded his invitation list to include all sorts of people. Those who had never been included in any event that would make the society page suddenly found themselves at the party of the decade.
The king’s treatment of the man improperly dressed seems out of character for one so generous. We are tempted to offer excuses for the man’s attire. Perhaps he couldn’t afford better.
According to ancient mid-eastern tradition the host of the party would have provided wedding
clothes for all the guests. The man must have thought his clothes were adequate for the occasion, refusing to wear what his host provided.
The Bible is clear that “All our righteous acts are filthy rags.” Unless we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ we cannot stand before God.