'The rebellious guest'

Monday Reflection

12th October 2020

'about the treatment of the man who...'

"Friend, how did you come in here
  without a wedding garment?"

(Matthew 22:12)

Did you read yesterday's story,
of the Wedding feast, in Matthew 22?

If so, were you concerned about
the treatment of the man who arrived
at the wedding without wedding clothes?

It does seem out of character, for a God
who welcomes all and when I first read it,
I wondered, does that mean me,
I'm not sure I'm ready?
But, as with most Biblical stories,
we need to look at the customs of the day,
to really understand it.

The custom in those days was for the one
hosting the wedding feast -
in this case, the king -
to provide garments for the wedding guests.
These wedding garments were simple,
nondescript robes that all attendees wore.
In this way, rank or station was covered,
so everyone at the feast could mingle as equals.

So, when the king entered the wedding hall,
and noticed that one guest clearly stood out
from all the others because
he was not wearing a wedding garment
he asked:

"Friend, how did you come in here
  without a wedding garment?"

(Matthew 22:12)

The sense of his question is one of incredulity.
It might be better phrased,

"Why are you not wearing a wedding garment,
  even though one was provided for you?"

The man was plainly not dressed
correctly for this occasion.
His lack of a wedding garment
showed extreme disrespect for both
the king and his son.
The wording,

"And he was speechless," (22:12)

indicates that he was without excuse.

It was not just that
he lacked a wedding garment,
he had defiantly refused to put one on.
This is why the king reacts
so swiftly and harshly:

"Bind him hand and foot,
  take him away,
  and cast him into outer darkness;
  there will be weeping
  and gnashing of teeth"


His judgment is not against the man's lack
of a wedding garment, per se,
but his refusal to wear one.
The man desired the honour
of attending the wedding feast,
but he did not want to follow
the custom of the king.
He wanted to do things his own way.
His lack of proper dress
revealed his inner rebellion
against the king and his instructions,
so he was ejected as a rebel.

Then we have that
puzzling phrase from Jesus,

"For many are called,
  but few are chosen"


The king's invitation represents
God's calling indeed,
the invitation went out to both
the original guest list,
Israel and Judah,
whose people were killed in war
and whose city, Jerusalem
was burned, (22:7)
and then to all peoples.

While God calls us all,
those who respond to His invitation
and who will wear a wedding garment
are far fewer.

How do we come before God?
Clothed in humility
and ready to listen,
or wanting to do things our own way?

Let us accept God's generous invitation.