Open Invitation; Unprepared Guests
“Day of Argument”
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Matthew 22:10-14 (VOICE)
And the servants did just that—they went into the streets and invited everyone they met, rich and poor, good and bad, high and low, sick and well. Everyone who was invited came, and the wedding hall practically burst with guests.
The king looked around the wedding party with glee, but he spotted one man who was not dressed appropriately. In fact, he was dressed rather plainly, in clothes not at all fitting for a fine nuptial feast.
King: Kind sir, how did you get in here without a proper suit of wedding clothes?
The man was speechless. He had been invited in off the street, after all! Getting no response, the king told his servants,
King: Tie him up, and throw him out into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and grinding of teeth.
For many are invited, but few are chosen.
After Jesus had thrown out the money changers from the Temple, He began to speak and teach in parables. One of the parables can be found in the subject Scripture passage of Matthew 22, where Jesus illustrates a wedding feast. The King had sent out many invitations to his noblemen and friends, but these invitations were scoffed at and rejected.
The King ultimately instructs His servants to go out and invite everyone they come across, regardless of station. These invitees are much more responsive to the invitation given. However, one particular invitee, who had accepted the invitation, came unprepared. He had not made any effort to wash his face or to change into his best clothes to show respect and honor to the King who had extended the invitation. He simply felt that the invitation (alone) guaranteed his acceptance to the feast. However, the King had expected that each invitee would understand the implied actions required of every attendee, namely in making the cursory preparations. (See also Matt. 25:1-13, the parable of the ten virgins.)
Had the man shared with any of his friends and neighbors the King’s open invitation? Or had he been too lazy, too tired, too nonchalant to care about the others? Had he shown respect and appreciation for the invitation by at least trying to make himself more presentable?
The answer, of course, is no. THAT is what so enraged the King. The disrespect and nonchalant attitude toward the King’s kindness and generosity resulted in the man being expelled from the feast and thrown into prison!
So, what is our take-away? God made a similar invitation gesture to the Jewish nation (as His “noblemen and friends”) many, many years ago. When His own favored people did not gladly accept, but chose to scoff at His invitation, God opened the invitation to all peoples. Many people, from all over the world, have accepted the King’s invitation for the Wedding Feast to occur in Heaven (Rev 19:7-10). However, there are (and will be) some invitees who think that the mere “verbal acceptance” of the extended invitation is good enough for entrance. The King, however, has certain implied expectations. He expects those who accept the extended invitation to at least make an effort to clean themselves up and look more presentable for the occasion. The King would even be willing to assist those who come to Him for help. He expects those who accept the extended invitation to share the Good News (of the free, open invitation to everyone) with others. Unfortunately, those who take these implied expectations for granted may find themselves in “hot water” in front of the King!
Don’t come before the King unprepared!