“But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. “then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 22:11-13
I have to tell you, this passage transfixed me this morning! I kept trying to move on to the next passage, but I couldn’t. I just sat there staring at it. One question nagged at me more than all the rest, “Of course he wasn’t dressed for a wedding, the slaves had just pulled him off the street like you told them to. How could you be mad at him for that?”
I pressed on.
I read it again.
“Dressed for a wedding”, a wedding! This is a wedding banquet the King has thrown for His Son. It’s the wedding supper of the Lamb! It’s OUR wedding party!
But again I had to return to this poor soul sitting there joyfully eating the supper that others refused who then gets thrown out onto his duff in the middle of the sorrowful street. L Why? The question just wouldn’t go away, so I was forced to dig deeper.
In Jeremiah chapter 38 we find another king’s palace. In that palace there was a closet with “old clothes” in it that Ebed-Melech used to comfort Jeremiah while pulling him out of a muddy cistern. These clothes were kept specifically for the poor to use. It was a common practice for the king’s palace to store these clothes for those less fortunate in need of more proper clothing. Think about it when you go through your closet and pull out a bunch of “old clothes” and donate them to Goodwill. You look at those clothes and think, “Ugh, I’m so sick of these clothes.” But the person who’s shopping in Goodwill looks at them and shrieks, “OH! It’s perfect!” That’s how I picture the clothes from the king’s palace to be, “old clothes” that the king is just simply tired of wearing and lets someone else wear them for a while.
And wouldn’t you know it, when I looked up a commentary on the verse with our ill-dressed wedding guest; this king’s case was similar. It said that the king (God) is not making an impossible demand upon the man, since there was a custom of kings providing festal garments for those who needed but lacked them. And it hit me, RIGHTEOUSNESS! And He took me back to another verse in Matthew that stood out to me, 11:8, Jesus is speaking of John the Baptist when He asks the people, “What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes? Look, those who wear soft clothes are in kings’ palaces.”
At the time I had just spent the day going through my closet and putting together (I’m not kidding you) TWENTY-EIGHT outfits for me to wear to my new job. 100% of those outfits are guaranteed to be softer than the outfits that people in third world countries are wearing today. I live in a King’s palace! I am a Daughter of God Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He has told me over and over and over again,
Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky; they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow; they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon (a KING) in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you – you of little faith? –Matthew 6:25-30
According to tradition, this man at the wedding banquet WAS offered clothes to wear, probably clothes more beautiful and luxurious than he had ever seen in his life! And he rejected them. He chose not to wear them. Oh, he chose to accept the King’s offer of food and a party, but not the clothes that – like Jesus’ on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17:2 – shone as white as the light! He passed them up!
Which begs me to ask the question, “WHY!!!!?????!!!!!”
Want to know what the Holy Spirit’s answer was?
“Because he didn’t feel himself worthy of them.”
*Tears, streaming down my face.*
“He couldn’t forgive himself.
I forgave him. But he couldn’t forgive himself enough to put on those robes of pure righteousness. My Beloved, today is the day, now is the time. Forgive yourself! Satan WANTS for you to hate yourself enough to reject the gifts that I offer to you. He WANTS you to feel worthless and un-reliable. He wants you to think that you can’t do what I’ve called you to do. HE LIES!!! Do NOT believe him! In Jesus’ name you ARE forgiven by God Almighty, who are you to withhold forgiveness from yourself? Go.
Let your anger toward yourself go. You are worthy in My eyes, because I don’t see you as you see yourself. My ways are not your ways and My thoughts toward you are nothing like your thoughts toward yourself.
I LOVE YOU.
I always have and I always will and there is NOTHING that you can do to change that or make Me love you less.”
Side note: Today was my first day as a Special Ed Aide at Sheridan Middle School!!!!! And wouldn’t you know it, when I went to leave my car was frozen onto the driveway! It took me 20 minutes and half a bag of salt to get it out and I ended up being late on my very first day! Ugh! But that’s OK, because I still made it. And loved every second of my day! 😀 Here’s MY first day of school picture:
I figure I make the kids do it so I’d better do it too. 😀