Rags to Righteousness

“For many are called, but few are chosen”.  These words were spoken by Jesus after relating a parable that compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding feast thrown by a king for his son. When the feast was ready, the king’s servants went out to gather all those who were invited.  But they all refused to come, not once but twice. Not only did some refuse, but they murdered the servants whom the king had sent.  So the king sent more servants out to invite anyone they could find and the banquet hall was filled.  Upon greeting his guests, the king found one man who was not properly attired for the occasion.  Having no reply when asked why, this guest was bound up and thrown out of the banquet into outer darkness.  This particular part of the scripture has always baffled me.  On the surface, one might think that was pretty severe treatment for an invited guest, especially if we think about how people dress for weddings these days. But the crux here  of the story needs a little more detail than what we find in this parable.  The custom of the day was that, upon arrival, each guest would have been presented with festival garments to wear, a special robe, and to refuse to wear it was an expression of highest contempt and disrespect for the host. The analogy here to the Kingdom of God is that Jesus has provided to us His royal robe of righteousness so that we can enter into God’s Kingdom.  Our own filthy garments of self righteousness are not sufficient to gain us entrance.  And to refuse Jesus’ royal robe is a slap in His face, especially considering the great price He paid to provide it for us.  Thinking we can gain entrance into God’s Kingdom wearing only our own garments is telling God we don’t need Jesus.  The Kingdom is open to anyone.  But to enter, we must be properly dressed (spiritually), not in our own self-righteous rags, but in Jesus’ royal robe of righteousness which is offered free to anyone who will accept!

1 Jesus also told them other parables. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. ……….’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  Matthew 22:1-14 (NLT)

4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”  Zechariah 3:4 (NIV)

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6 (NIV)

10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness….. Isaiah 61:10 (NIV)