Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s 2011 wedding was probably the most famous wedding of the 21st century. An estimated $36 million was spent by the royal family on the wedding, and news reporters shared every detail of the preparations with a fascinated worldwide audience. Between 100 million and 200 million people watched the actual wedding ceremony, although only 1900 select friends, family members, and officials were invited to witness William and Kate’s vows in person. How would you have treated an invitation to this wedding had you been lucky or prominent enough to receive one? And how much thought would you have given to what you would wear to the wedding, knowing that the world was watching?
In our Sunday School lesson this week from Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus tells a story of another great wedding, this one the most important of all time. Amazingly enough, many people refused to attend this wedding, and some even regarded the invitation with open hostility! What were their excuses? Distractions and a refusal to submit to the authority of the King. In the immediate context of the lesson, who was Jesus calling out by this parable? Does it have the same application and meaning today?
Many of those first invited to the wedding feast were determined to not be worthy of the invitation. Thinking of the wedding as symbolic of salvation, and as looking ahead to the marriage supper of the Lamb described in Revelation 19, what does makes a person worthy to attend? In the story, both “good and bad” were invited from the highways to join the feast, so how were they any better than the ones who first received the invitation? We’ll talk on Sunday about how a person can be worthy before God, and what our part and God’s part is in this equation.
Along the same lines, what do the wedding garments in the story represent? They obviously were necessary to attend the feast, as the man without received final judgment. Is there any support from the story or from other Scriptures for viewing them either as Christ’s righteousness imputed to those who follow Him, or as our righteous deeds as believers? How do these two kinds of righteousness fit together and play out in a believer’s life, and does one type serve as evidence of the other?
One thing’s for sure: the invitation held out by Christ to us is too important to forget about or to ignore! If we have accepted it and live in anticipation of the great wedding feast to come, how are we preparing ourselves for that day? We’ll discuss all this and more, Sunday at Shalom!