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From Rags To Riches

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

Of the many parables Jesus taught to the chief priests and elders in the temple, the parable of the wedding feast has puzzled me for a long time. Jesus begins with:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son..." (Matthew 22:2)

In the parable, when the many who were invited decided other things were more important than attending the wedding, the servants were told to go out, gather and bring in others. All those called responded, including one who was not dressed properly.
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:11-14)

Just what was this "wedding garment" that this person refused to put on?

Wearing the proper clothing meant something to the Jews. If a Jew, invited to a wedding, did not have the proper garment, the host would provide one for him. However, the garment needed to be not only accepted, but worn as well, for the guest to be fully received as part of the wedding party.

I believe Jesus was referring to His Father, God, who was preparing people to receive Him (Jesus), as Son and Bridegroom for His bride, the Church. The requirement in order to be welcomed was to put on the proper garment - in this case, receive Jesus as one's covering. To be offered a garment and refuse to put it on was considered an insult to the host. Likewise, to be offered Jesus as the way to the kingdom of heaven and refuse the righteousness He brings, is the same as turning one's back to the offer of salvation and fullness of life that the heavenly Father gives.
"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,...the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." (Isaiah 61:10-11)

The bible has much to say about clothing, the garments we put on. All are connected with our relationship with God. From the very beginning, we find Adam and Eve, after their fall, putting on coverings of fig leaves to hide themselves from God, in an attempt to cover their sin.
"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?' So he said, 'I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Genesis 3:7, 9)

God told Moses to prepare Aaron and his sons to minister to Him as priests:
"And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments, to sanctify him, that he may minister to Me as priest." (Exodus 28:2,3)

Zechariah, the prophet had this to say about Joshua:
"Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, 'Take away the filthy garments from him.' And to him He said, 'See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.'" (Zechariah 3:3-4)

The Apostle John heard:
"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" (Revelation 19:7-9)

What type of garment do you have on? Are you ready for your Bridegroom?

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© Constance Vanides