THE Lord Jesus Christ gave many parables concerning the Kingdom of God. He portrayed the Kingdom in its present form; sometimes in its spiritual form and at other times, in its final, eternal and complete form. In the parable of the marriage feast, Jesus likened the Almighty God to a king with absolute authority. Like the king in the parable, God the Father, had at creation, and at redemption, staged a great feast by providing for man everything he needs and will ever need, everything that pertains to life and godliness. As the king in the parable sent out invitation to all his subjects, so does the Lord call to salvation the religious and irreligious. He has provided everything we need for our spirit, soul and body. The aberrant guest in the parable knew that it was his fault that he did not wear the wedding garment. Hence, when confronted, he was speechless.
In this parable, the Lord uses the word “garment” in a figurative sense. What garment is to the body, righteousness is to the soul. As the garment covers a man’s body, so does righteousness the soul. As the naked cannot be freely allowed to roam the streets of a civilized society, so will souls not covered with the robe of righteousness not allowed into God’s Kingdom. We need, therefore, to put on the robe of righteousness, holiness, purity and humility so that we will not be found spiritually naked in God’s sight. (Revelation 16:15; 3:17,18).
The robe is not something you can obtain from your mother, pastor or church. It is something only God can provide for you. The point of the parable is that the Lord wants us to be clothed with God-kind of righteousness, which is, righteousness by faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. As dirty and unclean clothes are usually not allowed at the marriage ceremony of a king’s son, so will uncleanness and moral defilement not allowed in God’s Kingdom. A strange garment or apparel is an allegory for a kind of righteousness or spiritual covering originating from false religion and, from the ingenuities and philosophies of men. All that “are clothed with strange apparel” will not be allowed into God’s Kingdom (Zephaniah 1:7-9).
The question you need to ask yourself is: are you clothed with Christ’s righteousness? What’s the origin of your own righteousness? Are you attired in strange apparel? There are people, whose claim to righteousness, are marked only by the observation of religious festivities and ceremonies. But “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). A life characterised by sins such as lying, deceit, hypocrisy and wickedness is a life not clothed with the right garment. The parable of the marriage feast shows that the Lord will cut off from His kingdom people who do not have the appropriate robe of righteousness. They shall not be with Him in eternity (Psalm 101:6-8). It bears repeating that there is a necessity for the robe of righteousness for all those who hope to make heaven.
‘And when the King came in to see the guests, he saw there a man, who had not on a wedding garment.” On the face of it, you may conclude that this man, though not properly attired, was better than those who outrightly rejected the king’s invitation. Was he not better than those who ridiculed the marriage feast? Was he not better than people who beat up and killed the king’s servants sent to invite them to the marriage feast? He was indeed better. The fact that he was seated quietly at the marriage feast also shows that he was not a troublemaker.
The problem with him was that without the wedding garment, no moral decorum was good enough. Likewise today, it is not enough to respect and honour the Lord, to believe and read the Bible, to know and believe in the doctrines of the Bible; it is not enough to be gentle, honest and orderly. It is not enough to know all the answers to Bible quiz or questions and to dress appropriately. It is not enough to stop smoking cigarette or consuming alcohol and hard drugs. It is not enough to go through the ritual of water baptism by immersion, to regularly come early to church, to look nice, neat and elegant. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”