Commentary on "The Wedding Garment"
Day 3: Monday, June 6, 2011 - The King's Invitation
Today’s lesson looks at how the king’s invitation to his son’s wedding feast was a great honor, and how it was rejected. The king has made all the preparations for this feast and sent out the message, “All things are ready, come unto the marriage.” All the people had to do was accept the invitation, but they would not. Many did not take the invitation seriously, the Lesson says, while others became hostile and persecuted the messengers. The king said that those who rejected the invitation “were not worthy.” The Lesson asks how we are to understand this, knowing that none of us is worthy to be invited to the Kingdom. The Lesson author states that in this story, we shall see that our “worthiness” is what we allow God to do for us—and in us.
In this parable, the king’s invitation represents nothing less than the gospel of God, first preached by the prophets, then John the Baptist, and then by Jesus, saying,
“The time fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15
The kingdom of heaven was at hand because the King was there to declare His rule. He had just announced in Nazareth’s synagogue that He was fulfilling Isaiah 61 as the Anointed One to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. The Nazarenes knew the great significance of His announcement, and yet they did not believe His report. They resisted the idea of repentance and loyalty to this humble son of Joseph. Like the invitees in the parable, His own subjects tried to kill Him.
So in the parable, the king sends out the proclamation that all things are ready, come to the marriage feast. The first group he invites would be his prominent, chosen citizens, the ones expected to be grateful to their generous king and show their loyalty. They should drop everything and come celebrate with Him. He is their king, His joy is their joy, and their celebration should come from the heart. But they do not feel any joy or believe his report (Is. 53:1), and their refusal is taken as an act of treason. The punishment for treason here is very severe.
Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast called up a prophecy of Zephaniah, where Israel was warned of coming judgment on their disloyalty and idolatry. Here, Judgment Day also takes the form of a feast, where sacrifices have been made and guests invited.
“Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is near; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests. And on that day of the Lord’s sacrifice—“I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire.” Zephaniah 1:7,8
Failing to celebrate with the king, partake in His sacrifices, or wear His appointed garments, showed a lack of trust in His goodness, provision, and His sovereignty. Wearing foreign garments demonstrated loyalties to foreign kings and foreign gods, and that was treason. From this prophecy we can see what was at stake for that man in Jesus’ parable with no wedding garment. The Pharisees listening to His parable were probably familiar with Zephaniah, and saw how Jesus applied its warnings to them. In rejecting His message, they showed themselves as disloyal subjects. Instead of wearing the King’s garments, they had “arrayed themselves in foreign attire,” the garments of pretense and idolatry. They were ignorant of the righteousness of God and tried to establish their own righteousness (Rom. 10:2). “Hypocrite” was a very serious charge, and it is no wonder they wanted to kill Him.
The message from Jesus’ parable is His proclamation of the gospel to repent and rejoice in His kingdom. It is a gospel of completed warfare, of a finished work of salvation and rescue. This invitation is good news worth shouting about, for in it, we find that all the needed sacrifices and preparations have already been made. Jesus’ righteousness makes us worthy and complete to stand before the King. It is especially good news for the afflicted, for He will bind up their broken hearts and set them free from whatever prison holds them. Our King has proclaimed both the day of His favor for His people, and a day of vengeance on evil.
Taking hold of this invitation is what grants us gladness and a “garment of praise” (Is. 61:3). The King’s report has been repeated many times throughout the Old and New Testaments. We are to receive it with joy and without hesitation. Tomorrow, we will look at when this feast, this day of the Lord’s favor, happens to us. On Wednesday, we’ll look at just what His garment of praise is, how we obtain it, and how we keep it on.
Copyright 2011 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised June 6, 2011. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
The Sabbath School Bible Study Guide and the corresponding E.G. White Notes are published by Pacific Press Publishing Association, which is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church. The current quarter's editions are pictured above.
Official Adventist Resources
Please Support This Project