Summary: A perspective on Matthew 22: 1-14. The cloak of righteousness shows us that we have been placed in a position of honour in the family, in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 22: 1-14
The Wedding Garment
At times Jesus spoke in parables. Parables begin as earthly stories, speaking about things we are familiar with, like a wedding banquet. There is a twist to the story that can turn up side down our familiar understanding and reveal something new. They end with the intent to reveal something spiritual, something about God’s kingdom. Parables are very much like a riddle designed to tease us into seeking the spiritual truth, the Word of God. God promises to those who seek, who knock that they will find and the door will be opened to them. With perseverance a person can be rewarded with a wonderful treasure when confronted with a parable from Jesus.
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and every thing is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Wedding arrangements at the time of Jesus had many similarities as marriage arrangements today. When two people decide to get married, then the related families get involved with the planning.
A marriage proposal not only signifies the coming together of two people to be one, but also invites the related families to come together in a new alliance. Such an alliance whether in marriage or the joining of two families involves nurturing of friendship, caring and giving to each other, and that especially includes forgiving one another.
Families can be small or large. Whatever the make up of a family the endeavour to support each other is there. This support is also seen in other areas in our community and life. There are other social groups that can be called “family” simply by the way they behave. For example, students in a classroom will usually support each other against trouble in a school yard, or play together because they share what is common. The same is true at the work place where people work closely together they will support each other. Like other families, Christians everywhere are bonded together through a common faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Overall, families tend to be exclusive in their behaviour. Members of families first tender to their own kind before considering any outsider. This is certainly true when wedding guests are considered and especially those who will be invited to the wedding banquet. Parents and Grandparents are invited and they certainly expect an invitation. Some uncles and aunties will be there too. Not all the cousins will expect an invitation. It all depends on who they are. After the important relatives have been invited there are some places for good friends as well. Picking and choosing who to invite can produce quite a tension amongst family members.
Families remain strong while there is a continual, giving of self, caring and forgiving each other. Things go wrong in the family when we abandon others to only care for ourselves. When that happens, the alliance between members of the family becomes shaky and the meaning of family becomes blurred. Simply, self-centredness destroys relationships.
Self-centredness, whether at home, in the classroom, workplace or church can tear the relative family apart. In all these areas it can often appear as spiritual piety. That is, an attitude towards the other that says, “I’m better than you.” It is pride, a misplaced pride that brings such an attitude forth. It is an offensive attitude that forces others to stay outside of your exclusive group.