Daily Devotionals

Readying Ourselves for the Wedding Banquet

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Scripture: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come…. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad, so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” – Matthew 22: 1-3, 8-13

Today’s parable from Matthew looks at the Parousia, the day of salvation and judgment. Matthew 22 says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a wedding banquet a king holds for his son. It is the big banquet day, and everything is ready, the calves have been slaughtered, the tables are set, and the wine is uncorked. But there’s just one problem: there’s no one there to participate in the celebration. Not one on the guest list bothers to show up. When the king sees no one is there, he sends out his workers to go and find these invited guests to see what’s going on. Rather than seeing the error of their ways, these guests reject the invitation.

Through this parable, Jesus is teaching that both Jewish and Christian communities have turned from God and God’s messengers. All the way back from the prophets and judges, to the early Christian missionaries, God’s people had heard the invitation from God; but instead of showing up for the banquet, they turned their backs and walked away. Do we turn our backs to God’s invitations today? 

Jesus continues his parable. The king finds all sorts of people to come to the wedding– the good and the bad, no one was left out, to fill the banquet hall. Not just the rich, religiously upright, or just. All were gathered in for the celebration the king was holding.

To bring it closer to home, in the mainline church, we are really good at welcoming in those whom we deem as good enough, but we are not so good at welcoming in those seen otherwise.

Christ challenges the crowd listening to his parable that day, and he challenges us here on this Thursday morning. He wants us all to see that the Kingdom of Heaven is not what we think it is, but what God deems it to be. The Kingdom of Heaven is a place where God’s radical and expansive love flows without bounds for all people.

Returning to the parable: What is the meaning behind the man not properly dressed for the banquet? Jesus is not giving a social commentary about what is acceptable to wear to a wedding. He is not saying we need to be nicely dressed in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, or even the church on Sundays; but he is challenging us to look at our hearts and see how they are dressed. Are our hearts dressed for the occasion? Are they ready for the Kingdom of Heaven to come? 

Our hearts must be transformed into the likeness of Christ’s, so that we may be ready for the day of salvation.

Prayer: Gracious God, please examine our hearts and help us see what needs transformation. We want our hearts to be clothed in righteousness, so we can effectively spread the love we have received from God with all of our neighbors. Father, help us ready ourselves for the coming of our Lord, whenever that day might be. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Nicholas Demuynck

(This devotional is comprised of excerpts from Pastor Nick’s sermon, originally delivered on Sunday, July 24, 2022.)