Then he 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.’ 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. – Matthew 22:8-10
Have you ever crashed a wedding? If you have, you are in good company. Imagine the shock that John and Frances Canning had when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip decided to crash their wedding and join the 40 other guests at their wedding ceremony at the Manchester Town Hall. The queen was in Manchester at the town hall celebrating her Diamond Jubilee (her 60 year anniversary of being the Britain’s monarch) and decided to drop in and bless the couple.
This morning I was reading Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22:1-14 and had to stop and reread it several times. Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a royal wedding party. I mean when a prince gets married it’s time to celebrate, right? When Prince William and Catherine Middleton got married on Friday, April 29, 2011 at the Westminster Abbey it was world news. According to Bloomberg 1 million people stood for hours along the streets just to catch a glimpse of the royal couple and 2 billion people watched the royal wedding on television. An invitation to this wedding was one of the hottest tickets in the world. My guess is that unless folks were in the hospital or were dying, everyone who received a personal invitation to the royal wedding cleared their schedules and went. I also bet that the lucky ones who attended the wedding let the world know about it through their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Contrast the response of the world to Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding to the response that the people had to the royal wedding described in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 22. Jesus said that when it comes to the Kingdom of God, many people are just too busy. The marriage of Jesus to the church is the most glorious event in eternity. So why are people too busy to care or to celebrate? Jesus said that God has invited everyone to attend the wedding banquet of all wedding banquets. Even the bad apples. There is just one condition. We have to wear wedding clothes (Matthew 22:11-14).
Not many people would show up to an ordinary wedding wearing ripped jeans and a faded tee shirt. It would be disrespectful to the bride and groom. But I don’t think that Jesus was talking about clothes in His parable. I think that He was talking about something very different… The wedding clothes that Jesus was talking about is His precious blood. All are invited but none deserve it. Only those whose sins are washed clean by the precious blood of Jesus will see and enter the Kingdom of God. Tuxedos of good works and sparkling gowns of pride will not cut it… only the blood of the Lamb.
You are invited into the Kingdom of God and the Great Wedding Banquet. What will you wear? My prayer is that you will join me and crash the Wedding of all weddings wearing the blood of the Prince of all princes. Jesus is the way.