March 2012


And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Matt 22:12  KJV

 

Marlene recently asked me a question about the man that was thrown from the wedding feast that Jesus tells about in Matthew chapter twenty-two. Her probing also got me to mulling over this seemingly strange incident.

 

The background in this Parable that Jesus told is about a king who made a sumptuous feast to celebrate the nuptials of his son. When the servants were sent to retrieve the invited guests they were met with a variety of excuses and outright disdain. After dealing with the first invitees, the king commanded the servants into the hinterlands for a no-holds-barred effort to fill his house. Why then, after all this activity, would a guest be humiliated before the other guests and thrown out for the seemingly minor offence of not being properly dressed? The answer begs us to dig deeper.

 

In the Ancient Near East what one was wearing was considered very important. The people classes were extremely stratified and instantly recognized by their apparel. A beggar dressed like a beggar, and a harlot like a harlot. Bridegrooms and brides; married women and virgins were easily identified as well as merchants, farmers, political leaders, lawyers, tax collectors, scribes and Pharisees. Dressing out of your class was looked upon as an attempt to deceive and viewed with disdain. When the king invited his guests he added the proviso that all should abandon their positions. The humble were exalted and the high were made low. The garments included in the invitation specified that all should arrive at the feast classless, with no other status than to be the honored guest of the bride and groom.

 

Understanding this, we might more easily understand the disdain shown by the first invitees. Can’t you just imagine the reaction a scribe might have when shown the garment he was expected to wear? “Well who does that king think he is? For sixty-five long years I’ve been the head of the royal library. I have carefully copied, filed and maintained His Majesties’ documents and he expects me to show up dressed no differently than one of his lowly stable hands. I’m telling you, he can just take his silly invitation, and the robe with it, and shove it.”

 

This brings us to the man that did show up. While we’re imagining, perhaps we might divine the following exchange also.

 

“I have heard that the king places a special emphasis on humility If I show up dressed as a pauper he would most likely extend special recognition and honor my self righteous attempts at pleasing him.”

 

The Great King has always been a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  He hates pride, and recognizes it in all of its many disguises. He began his cleansing career by banishing the Angel of Light from his presence. We should not marvel about the actions implied in this parable.

 

I AM COVERED OVER

 

I AM COVERED OVER WITH THE ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT 
JESUS GIVES TO ME, GIVES TO ME,
I AM COVERED OVER WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS 
AND HE LIVES IN ME, LIVES IN ME,
WHAT A JOY IT IS TO KNOW MY HEAVENLY FATHER LOVES ME SO, 
HE GIVES TO ME, MY JESUS,
WHEN HE LOOKS AT ME HE SEES NOT WHAT I USED TO BE,
BUT HE SEES JESUS, JESUS
 
                                 By Unlisted
 
 
Jonas Borntreger

The other day Marlene and I were driving through some of our old haunts. As we approached a certain spot of the road, she reminded me about what is probably the most bizarre experience I ever encountered.

When Marlene and I were courting we were in a fever and stretched ourselves far beyond propriety and what was physically good for us. I would often get off from work, drive thirty-five miles, pick her up and drive another twenty miles to some church activity. Afterward, I would retrace the miles and often had a harrowing drive, late in the evening, for the last leg home. On one such night I kept drifting onto the gravel shoulder, waking up and correcting my course for the next several miles and then do it again. Finally, I was on the shoulder, approaching a concrete bridge banister, and not waking up. At the last moment a voice in the back seat sharply called my name. It was so real that I pulled onto the shoulder and got out of the car to check for someone in the backseat. The highway has been rebuilt and the banister replaced with a culvert, but forty-five years later I still feel a strong sense of awe as I approach that spot on the road.

I’m convinced that repentance was appropriate; I should not have tested the grace of God by my actions. I am however grateful that he looked beyond my faults and provided for my needs. This experience also confirms to me that He had his intention for me and for my family in mind and determined beforehand to bring it to pass for His purposes.

It’s ‘show-and-tell time. Tell of a time when you witnessed the supernatural providence of a merciful God in your life.