A few weeks ago Isaura and I were in Arizona where I was officiating a wedding for a Marine friend. The ceremony was held at a popular resort, using as a backdrop a mountain range that encircles a portion of the Phoenix area.
Later during the reception I had one of those “Bible Moments.” What I mean by Bible Moments is those moments in life where you remember a similar story or teaching that is found in the Bible. That’s what I had at this reception.
The reception had been rolling on for a while with folks dancing and visiting and generally having a good time, when I noticed two guys walk into the banquet room who were, from their appearance, looking for some action. They were all smiles, but they stopped a few feet inside to assess the party, and whether this was something they could or should join. I watched as they were figuring out just what sort of gathering this was. They quickly determined that this was not a party they were likely to be invited to join, so, disappointedly, they turned and exited the building.
Our party/reception was for a wedding, so the people in attendance were dressed accordingly – tuxedoes, gowns, and the like. There was one unique aspect to this wedding and that was the theme of the wedding – Western. This may have been what initially puzzled our would-be party-crashers. The bridesmaids wore formal, knee high dresses – and cowboy boots! The bride, beautiful in her white full-length gown wore – you guessed it – cowboy boots! The groomsmen in their tuxedoes wore cowboy boots. The groom and I, having previously served together, were in full military dress, and no, we did not wear cowboy boots!
Now here was my Bible Moment: In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 22, there is a parable told by Jesus of a man who arrives at a wedding banquet held by a king in honor of his son’s wedding. Yet the man was not clothed properly, signifying he had not received the memo, or had simply chosen not to wear the required wedding garments provided by the king. His clothing was totally inappropriate for the occasion, and was an insult to the king. For this breech of etiquette the improperly clothed miscreant was summarily dispatched from the wedding banquet. In short: the man did not belong.
In the time of Jesus, kings would spare no expense when it came to the wedding of a son, because the son was the heir to the throne of the kingdom. Special garments would be prepared at the king’s command for the invited guests. This was traditionally done so as to make matters simpler for the invited guests to arrive and then change into the proper wedding clothes. It eliminated having to travel with fine clothing and all the necessary accoutrements.
Here’s a quick picture of what this parable is saying. The king is God the Father. The son to be married is Jesus. The invited guests are the Jews, and the others invited later are the Gentiles. The proper wedding clothing is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This refers to anyone who has received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. When a person has done this they are then clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Those are the only wedding garments suitable for heaven.
The wedding banquet is the marriage of Jesus, the groom, to his bride, the church. So then if you have not accepted Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins then you are not prepared for heaven. You are not clothed properly in the garments offered by the king – in this case, God the Father. When this parable is fully understood there can be only one conclusion: Jesus is the only means by which a person can make it to heaven.
Back to our two fellows in search of a party to crash. They had the good sense to see this was a private affair. Their clothing was hardly appropriate for our gathering, however, they also knew they had not been invited, and would most likely have been asked to leave if they had been foolish enough to try and join our fun. A number of the groomsmen and others who were in attendance were Marines, most of whom had many years of service. The hapless pair would have been bodily removed if necessary.
My question to you then is to ask you if you have asked Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. That is the only way to heaven. Just to make sure we understand this Jesus declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.”
So, are you properly dressed for the Son’s wedding? If not, ask him into your heart right now.