October 11

Matthew 22:8-14

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless.” vss.11-12

Pastors love passages like this! On the surface the king’s response to the man’s breach of wedding etiquette seems heavy-handed, and a violation of the Jesus kindness principle. So preachers get to do a little research into Palestinian wedding practices, throw in a Greek word or two–and everyone goes home happy. But still we wonder! The parable is straightforward and predictable. The invited guests refuse to come so the banquet hall is filled with people off the streets, both good and bad–end of story and the Pharisees would get the point. But then there’s this quirky little verse–and it sounds very much like a warning to the early church. “Yes, you did get into the banquet even though you didn’t deserve it, but!!!!! You could still get thrown out!” Folks don’t much like that interpretation because it  implies that grace isn’t enough! Could that really be what Jesus is getting at? Such a conclusion is really a stretch because it goes against the whole of the gospel–but what other conclusion is there? Maybe it’s no more than this: Just because we have a place at the banquet doesn’t mean that anything goes! We might not like to hear that, but it is most certainly true! And Jesus says, “Live with it!”

Thought for the Day: What could get me thrown out of the banquet hall?

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