Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
There’s this concept of grace that is thrown around in churches and Bible studies and classrooms. I’ve written about grace here on the blog. Sermons are preached on grace. People say “Give yourself some grace.”
Wait. How do I even grasp this idea of grace? How do I know if I’m living in grace?
Well, grace should change you. After having experienced real grace – unearned favor and acceptance – you should walk away changed. How do I know this? I read the story told by Jesus in Matthew 22.
Yes, it’s a story about a wedding and some guests. It’s brutal in parts, like maybe I wouldn’t read this story to a child before bedtime. But that last line – “for many are invited, but few are chosen” – speaks to the importance of this parable.
It tells us that grace changes us.
Verses 11-13 talk about a man who was welcomed into the wedding feast because the invited guests decided not to show up. There must have been quite a bit of extra food at this feast, because the king tells his servants to “invite anyone you can find.” And they invite a man from the streets – a man without the proper clothing.
Now, if you were going to a wedding you would change out of your street clothes, right? Goodness, I hope so.
That’s because you have been honorably invited to the wedding. You then want to honor the bride and groom by respecting their ceremony with formal, nice clothing.
Jesus invites us to the biggest and best wedding of all. Just like the king in this parable – he invites anyone he can find. BUT, after being invited, should be wear our dirty work clothes and our muddied boots? No. We should wear our finest, our most honorable, our most beautiful.
Why? Because the gift of grace should cause us to change. We should long to step out of the old & dirty and into the lovely & new.
The street man who was invited to the wedding feast was not changed. He was invited to a heck of a party – maybe the best party he’d ever be invited to attend – and still he did not change.
My friends, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus and a receiver of His gift of grace, have you allowed grace to change you?
J. Bowers at DesiringGod.org says, “Everyone is welcome at the table, but the table changes us. To keep with the imagery of the parable, it changes our clothes. If it doesn’t, then we aren’t truly guests.” (Don’t Be a Wedding Crasher)
How do you know if grace has changed you?
By the fruit of your life. [Galatians 5:22-23]
Do you practice love? Or do you harbor bitterness after a fight?
Do you wait in patience? Or easily allow irritations to flow?
Do you strive to be gentle? Or do you speak freely and uninhibited?
Please don’t hear me say that emotions don’t matter, and that you always have to be in a good mood with a happy attitude.
But what you do need to hear me say is that grace should change your heart – the core of your person-hood. And the core of your person-hood should strive to be like Jesus, and to practice the fruits of the Spirit.
Why does Jesus say “for many are invited, but few are chosen”? Well, I think He means that many are invited to that huge wedding feast – the best one you’ll ever be invited to attend – but few will change their clothes to attend.
Has grace changed you? How do you see the implications of grace in your life? Do you strive to live like Jesus?
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All pictures in this post were taken by Selah Photography. All rights reserved.