In the book of Matthew 22:1-14 a parable is given about a marriage supper. I will not echo the entire parable but will emphasize what is needed for the point of this message. Jesus tells the story of a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son’s marriage and invited many guests. The first group of guests, after rejecting the invitation several times, beat and killed the king’s messengers. In the east, it was common for the guests to reject the first and second invitation to a major event in order to allow the invitee the honor of exercising persistence, so this was not uncommon. The king responded with rage and destroyed those who killed his messengers before sending invitations for the marriage feast to the outcasts of society.
This was a message to the Jews who did not embrace the promised Messiah and a prophecy of the message of salvation being carried to the Gentiles. John 1:11 states: “He (Jesus) came to His own and His own did not receive Him.” During the feast, the king inspected the guests (another common custom of the day) and noticed that one was not wearing a wedding garment. Matthew states his response this way in verse twelve: “So he (the king) said to him, ‘friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he (the guest) was speechless.” It was also common for the clothing required for the event to be provided to the guests. This would help us understand why the guest was left speechless and without an excuse.
Revelation 19 tells us that there will be a wedding feast between The Christ and His bride (His church) which means we are expected to wear the clothing that is required for the occasion. The only acceptable wardrobe for the marriage with the Lamb of God is His robe of righteousness. As the king in the parable provided the clothing for his guests, so Christ provides His righteousness for us. If we visit Genesis 3:7 we would see that after Adam and Eve sinned they covered themselves with leaves to hide their shame; it was their efforts along with their methods. In Isaiah 64:6 it states: “All our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” And in Jeremiah 9:24 it says: “But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they know Me and understand that I am the Lord…” The carnal mind, which is the mind received after Adam and Eve sinned, cannot be united to the mind of God; therefore, it has to be replaced. It is the result of sin to walk in pride and put confidence in our own works for salvation rather than to trust in the works of God alone.
Learning how to trust in the Lord for our salvation is the great lesson for us to learn before the wedding feast. Since the greatest of the commandments is to “love the Lord your God with all of your heart” Mtthew 22:37 then it is our privilege to receive the mind that has the capacity to do so. In Ezekiel 36:26 it says: “And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put into you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Flesh, compared to stone, is soft and flexible. Since we are born with a mind that rebels against God we have to receive a new mind. We cannot work for this mind, we cannot purchase this mind, we can only humbly receive it from God. This sounds easy but the carnal mind is not capable of receiving anything from God that will not lead to self-exaltation.
In John 6:28 Jesus was asked: “what must we do so that we can work the works of God?” These were inquiring people who desired to do the miracles that Jesus was doing. His answer follows in verse twenty-nine: “This is the work of God, that you believe (trust) in Him whom He has sent.” The work of God, the foundation of all works/efforts that pleases God, is to humbly trust in Him, His methods and follow His ways. Since we are talking about a wedding feast I would venture another step and use the following illustration to emphasize the point. A wife, in order to bear fruit from her womb, must trust her husband enough to allow him to enter her sexually; this is an act of submission or cooperation. As the bride of Christ, we are to also submit in a way that allows the Lord to do His wonderful work of transformation on the inside of us.
Let’s conclude with Genesis 3:21 which says: “And for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them.” Here we see that Adam and Eve learned how to trust in God to provide their coverings versus continuing to trust in their own efforts. This also confirms that God does not leave it to us to prepare ourselves for this marriage feast but He provides the clothing we need which is His righteousness. We overcome sin and walk in holiness by His power and His power alone.
Each day we are blessed with opportunities, often times through challenges and difficulties, to learn how trust in God’s methods rather than our own. We can embrace these lessons and be molded into His image or we can reject them and remain in our own robes of un-righteousness. He not only offers us a seat at the table but He promises us the required attire!
Heavenly Father, please help us to trust in Your ability to work within us. Amen.