19th Sunday after Pentecost | Parable of the Wedding Feast (Mt. 22.1-14)



If you’re wondering what the Kingdom of Heaven is like,

Jesus says it’s a lot like a King who gave a wedding feast for His Son.

And invited a whole bunch of folks,

And sent His servants with an enticing, flavorful announcement:

It’s ready!

All is prepared!

We have prime rib for some,

A beautifully marbled filet mignon for others,

And an endless supply of the choicest vintage wine for everyone.

The only thing missing is…you.

So get over here!


It sounds even better than our Oktoberfest.


But they were very busy.

Some thought the yard-work was more important,

Another had to go stock the shelves at the store,

And some were just so mad that it wasn’t their wedding, that they killed the messengers.


They were, as Jesus says, unworthy.

The point is clear, I think.

The Kingdom of God is like the best party there has ever been or ever will be,

It costs you nothing,

You’re on the guest list,

And the Host wans you there, and not somewhere else.


This is the usual time where the pastor goes on a rant about church attendance.

And I could do that, but there are a few problems.

For starters, you’re expecting it;

Secondly, you’re actually here, so it might seem a bit out of line;

But mostly, it’s not really Jesus’ point.


Jesus is first addressing Israel, as they have been refusing to acknowledge their Messiah,

The King’s Son, come to proclaim His Kingdom.


As long as they live, they are invited; But so is everyone else

And so the King sends the invite to everyone!


Go to the market! Go to the highways!

Canvass Patriot Place and Rt. 138!

Go to the breweries and the Wal-Marts!

I want this place full.

And would you believe, it worked!

Here you are!

The wedding hall is filled with guests.


Those first guests weren’t worthy.

But neither are the second guests.


For “when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness.”


What made someone worthy to be in the wedding feast?

It wasn’t the invite, per se.

By the end of the story, the King’s invited everyone.

Instead, being worthy is being dressed for the occasion.


This is also one of those moments where I’d love to make a pitch for dressing up for church.

That’s still a good idea, but, alas, not the point.


Jesus is saying that the King has a dress code.

He wants you in a wedding garment.

And not just any garment, whatever you think looks nice and hides the Christmas cookies.

He wants you wearing the garment He provides.


In the ancient world, if a King were going to throw a feast of this measure,

He provided the wedding garment.


It’s very practical.

Not only can the King be sure that everyone is dressed well,

But nobody can tell who is rich or who is poor.

They are all provided for;

They are all given to;

And so everyone can just enjoy the party.


The point is that the King doesn’t want anyone trying to get in on his or her own.

It may be that the man found not wearing a wedding garment had a very nice outfit.

But the King wants you wearing His outfit.

And the King has provided you with it.


In the waters of Baptism, the King has clothed you with the beautiful, clean, white garment.

You went into the water with your own righteousness,

But you came out of the water with Christ’s righteousness.

You went into the water with your own clothes,

But you came out with royal garments.


This alone is what makes you worthy:

The King’s free, gracious, generous, and glorious provision for you,

A beautiful, clean, royal gown, purchased with the life of His Son –

Something for your wedding day.

This white robe, your baptism, is your wedding garment.

You, the Church, are the Bride of Christ.

And so you not being here makes as much sense as a bride not showing up on the big day.


You, the Church, are the Bride of Christ.

And like every bride on her wedding day, you wear white,

Because you are covered by the righteousness of your Bridegroom.


Not because all your husbands are perfect;

We all know better than that;

But because marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church.


Which makes this place a wedding hall,

A place for feasting and celebration, and joy.

You’re dressed for the occasion, after all.

And if you’re not, come see me after– we’ll get you all set up.


In the meantime, let the celebration go on.

The wedding hall is full;

The Paschal Lamb has been sacrificed;

The Feast is prepared;

Christ has come to forgive and to bless.


And so as you approach the altar,

To receive the Body and Blood of Christ,

To taste the heavenly feast of Him who has swallowed up death forever,

Meditate on the words of the Prophet Isaiah from this morning’s OT reading:


“Behold, this is our God;

We have waited for Him,

That He might save us.

This is the LORD; we have waited for Him;

Let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”





About Pastor Hopkins