Matthew 22:1-14 (ESV)

1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Jesus told another parable, this time using a royal wedding banquet to explain the rejection he received from his own people. A king gave a grand wedding feast for his son. When all the magnificent preparations were ready, his servants told those invited to come. To the king’s shock, the guests ignored their invitations. So the king sent the servants out and tried again. This time, the guests harmed and even killed the king’s servants. When the king found out, he was enraged. He destroyed those would-be guests and demolished their cities. Rejecting a royal invitation was unthinkable. And to top it off, the guests has no good reason for their refusal. They were just too consumed with their own agendas. One went back to his farm and one to his business. They didn’t care about the banquet. The king reminded his servants that the banquet was ready. He asked them to go to the main roads where the poorest people would be found and invite them. The unlikely and unacceptable, the “bad and the good” (v.10), responded and came to the feast. But when the king came in, he saw that one of the guests had not put on the proper clothes that the king made available to those in attendance. He kindly asked him how he got in without the right clothes, but the man didn’t respond, so the king ordered him to be thrown out of the kingdom. Jesus adds, in verse 14, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

What a challenging parable this is! Jesus clearly taught that the king, who represents God, is willing to accept anyone, including the poor, the good and the bad, to his son’s (Jesus’) feast. But there are conditions. The “right clothes” must be put on. We must do what God asks us to do. Jesus showed that even if someone has heard the call of God, agrees to the facts about the gospel, and understands his grace, that doesn’t necessarily mean she is right with God. She must respond to God’s call, turning from sin and trusting the good news. Let’s never be found like the man without the right clothes. If you have not repented and placed your faith in Christ, today is the day to do it. And if you have, rejoice, knowing that one day you will dine with the King and his Son! Thank God that you have been both called and chosen!