Thursday, December 3, 2009
I was always troubled by what Jesus said in the parable of the wedding feast found in Matthew 22:
10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14For many are called, but few are chosen.
One must realize that it was the oriental custom for the host to provide wedding garments for those invited. It was part of the generosity of the occasion. It helped boost the joy of the guests closer to the state of heart of the immediate family. No one should consider refusing such a gift.
But the man in trouble and eventually removed was one who appeared to be accepting the custom, but in his heart had resolved that his own garment was "good enough". He did not want to be indebted to the host. He was proud, hypocritical and a stranger to the joy of the event.
Of course Jesus was alluding to the fact that God our Heavenly Host is offering for the taking a righteousness which is given, not possessed or earned. The garment represented this robe of righteousness which the faithful are given by grace. An attitude of self-righteousness is forever alien to the process. It has no part in the attitudes of joy and thanksgiving which will be paramount in the gathering of the saints in glory. It is not to be admitted.
And then of course at the end the famous quote, "many are called, but few are chosen". In this age Gospel broadcasts, materials and words of offering and encouragement are in wide circulation, but only the candidates known, chosen and softened by the Lord will be at the feast.