8: Wedding Clothes
Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014Print
About The Bride Is Ready Series
Who is the Bride of Christ, and how does she make herself ready? These questions and more are explored in this piercing series as Martha digs deep into the blessings AND requirements of Christ's own Bride.
Reading: Matthew 22:1-14 NIV
The mysteries of Bridal preparation are strewn throughout scripture, by clear symbol. Jesus freely gave the secrets that gain a place at His Table at the Marriage Feast. Jesus turned to the hidden truths of the parable when the Jewish religious leaders rejected Him.
On this occasion, the chief priests and the Pharisees were so angry with Jesus that they were plotting His arrest. The parable of the vineyard had clearly indicted them as murderers of the Son…and they knew it (Mt. 21:33-46).
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The Kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son… Then he (the king) said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’”
The invitation to the Wedding banquet was extended first to the Jewish family of God. With the exception of a few, all refused so the invitation was opened to all the world. Out of the religious place and into the common street – to the ordinary person, to all, to ‘every’ goes the invitation.
The servant stands for the Holy Spirit who searches with the Father’s good pleasure to find a willing one, one who has a hunger for God, for His world of joy. And on that one, to lavish the invitation, now without restriction. Such was God’s always-plan, to include all of humanity in the opportunity to unite with His Son.
So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Now, there being no discrimination, no restrictions (note this: neither birth into Jewish heritage, nor even the keeping of the Law), it was of no matter if the people were good or bad. Good does not qualify you and Bad does not exclude you.
A good life, a moral character? You are invited.
A wretched record, a sordid past? You are welcome.
“Good and bad” have passed away. The invitation is equal, based not on anything in humanity, whether noble or base, sensible or foolish. Jesus punctured mankind’s common view that people fall into categories based on what they do and who they seem…”good and bad.” The honorable and the corrupt, the noble and the ignoble. All are sent for, wanted. For the Wedding Feast of history’s pinnacle, the invited guests are all one lump of plain and everyday humanity, with no segments, no sections.
We arrogant humans believe we know God and His way of viewing, and by that misconception we decide who is worthy and who is out. We believe God views as we would, by worthy and unworthy, “good and bad.” This criterion for the Marriage of the Lamb, deliberately destroyed by the parable of Jesus. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are irrelevant categories that have no bearing on the invitation.
This story moves from the street-side invitation into the very scene of that Incredible Feast, future joy of Eternity’s culmination.
But when the king came in to view the guests, he looked intently at a man there who had on no wedding garment. And he said, Friend, how did you come in here without putting on the (appropriate) wedding garment?
It does not matter what you are, but what you wear determines if you remain for the Great Feast. When the King of kings looks over His vast Feast of Union, He will consider each one by his clothes. In significance for Eternity, you will not be judged by what you have been or have not been, but by what you wear as you stand before God.
This legitimate guest was called ‘friend,’1 a saved believer else he would not have been present. The man had answered the invitation, and he had entered. Addressed as ‘friend’ of the King but found unacceptable, he is stricken silent by the awesome presence of the King.
His real nakedness is suddenly apparent as unanswerable by being inexcusable.
And he was speechless (muzzled, gagged). Then the king said to the attendants, Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the darkness outside2; there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.3
Mt. 22:13 AMP
The believer’s hand (his soulish performance) and his foot (his independent decisions) were bound and cast from the place where Christ’s Life Alone is celebrated. Nothing out from humanity will sit at the Table. No flesh. No effort. No nobility. No achievements of individual strength.
One who hopes in his/her own faithfulness and service will be erased by one glance of the Holy One in whose Impeccable Presence, flesh is shamed and decimated. There is a place of conscious regret, a sorrow agonizing in its irredeemable loss. ‘Outside.’ Taken away from the blazing celebration of the believers’ union with the Son of God…one would weep and writhe for such a failure. How could it not be so?
That mysterious union called Marriage of the Lamb requires Wedding Clothes. The Bridal covering is a ‘garment’ subject entirely to the standard the Husband-King demands of His Everlasting Companion. Nothing less. No substitute. No copy. Wear the real clothing or suffer rejection from the Banquet.
Joseph Dillow writes:
“’Outside the relative light of the banquet hall.’ In the ancient Near East such festivity normally took place at night. The banquet hall is brilliantly lit up but, by contrast, the gardens around them are in black darkness. All that is meant is ‘darkness which is without, outside the house.'”4
I am indebted to the writings of Watchman Nee and Joseph Dillow, among others, for insight into these mysteries. Yet the Holy Spirit is able to take the least of God’s children into “all things” (John 14:26) as we surrender to Him for the revelation of true truth. Even as a young believer I understood these things about the Marriage Supper by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, as He revealed the clear and simple truths from the fullness of scripture.
1Friend: Greek: HETAIROS – a comrade, companion, partner. Not a term of endearment (as philos) but infers “belonging.”
2Note: the Amplified Bible renders it correctly as ‘the darkness outside.’
3The meaning is not a description of hell but regret for missing the mark.
4 Joseph C. Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings (Hayesville, NC: Shoettle Publishing, 2002), 347-348.
Copyright © 2001 Martha Kilpatrick, The Bride Is Ready