As I was reading through Matthew chapter 22 some time back, I realized there is more to the message there than I had understood in the past. I feel this is powerful stuff for Christians to understand. Pull up a chair and let’s go through this.
Matthew 22: 2 “The kingdom of heaven (note: this is talking about the kingdom of heaven. We should pay attention.) may be compared to a king (the king is representative of the Father) who gave a wedding feast for his son (the Son, Jesus). 3 And he (the Father) sent out his slaves (His prophets) to call those who had been invited (the Hebrew people) to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he (the Father) sent out other slaves (His prophets) saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered (I can’t help but to wonder if this is a reference to sacrifices) and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”‘ 5 But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business (these two were placing the things of the world before the Father), 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them (this is the Hebrew people killing the prophets). 7 But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire (Perhaps this is speaking of the Hebrew people who go to hell.). 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ (This is taking the good news to the world.) 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, (This would be the person who might have accepted Christ in word but with no heart-felt change.) 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Once again, hell.) 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Everyone can be saved, but not everyone is; however, I wonder if this is more restrictive. For example, is the man who isn’t dressed for the wedding the person who at the end will share all they did for God, to which God will respond, “I never knew you.”?)
I believe there are many people sitting in church pews today who will not reside in heaven for eternity. They are the casual Christian who might be able to point to the good works they did (lead a committee, teach Sunday School, or even serve as a deacon or pastor), but in reality they never made a heart-felt change; they never committed to Jesus as their King.
So the question we should ask ourselves is what are we wearing? Are we not dressed at all for a wedding? Perhaps we are in acceptable wedding clothes but not in our best. I think being invited to this banquet would be an occasion to wear our best. Or are you wearing your best “wedding clothes”?
I do want to be careful – I don’t believe acceptance to heaven has anything to do with works. It is only by the acceptance of the sacrifice of the Lamb. Yet, acceptance of that sacrifice means we turn our allegiance from the world to the real King. By allegiance I don’t mean simply words saying we accept Christ. Is that really allegiance? I mean serving the King!
Now, this begs the question: Who do you serve?