Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”- Matthew 22:1-14 (NLT)
This parable discusses that even though the invitation to God’s banquet (eternity with him) is available, not everyone accepts the invite. The dismissed invites signal people rejecting the king (God) and his authority. This is illustrated further in the parable where the man who isn’t wearing wedding clothes is sent out of the king’s presence. There are two ideas on what Jesus meant with these words. One is based on evidence in Jesus’ day that kings supplied guests with banquet clothes and therefore this man rejected God and his authority by not changing into those clothes. The second idea is that the garment represents good works that the guests in God’s kingdom are doing in the present. Christianity is an action and good works are expected (James 2:17) once a person has the Holy Spirit living in them. This man was seen in the gathering without this transformed work of the Spirit in him and was cast out for not being a true follower of Jesus.
How does this parable make you feel? In a world where participation trophies are the norm, how uneasy does God’s judgement and casting people out make you feel? Spend some time writing/thinking about God’s final judgement.