Saturday, January 05, 2008
Trading In Your Garments
OK, first things first. There is a lot here and MUCH MUCH more within these passages that will go un-discussed in this post, but for now, stop and read Luke 14:16-24, (The "Parable of the Dinner").
A quick synopsis for all of you that were too lazy to actually read the Scripture: A "certain man" is having a dinner, a large feast, and the invited guests had no time for their host who invited them. They make excuses and in the end the Host declares that none of them shall "taste (Gr. geuomai - experience) of my dinner (Gr. deipnon - chief meal, feast)." (vs. 24)
Now jump over to Matthew 22's wedding feast (those interested read 1-14). Verse 3 refers to the invited guests and the occasion as this: "those who had been invited (Gr. kaleo - called forth) to the wedding feast (Gr. gamos - marriage, wedding)". Again we find that everyone invited was not interested in attending the kings wedding feast. Verse 5 goes on to say that "they paid no attention" to the invitation from the king, even after he sent for them twice (vs.4). As if that weren't enough, verse 6 states that the invited guests "seized his slaves and mistreated (Gr. hubrizo – overbearing, abusive, insulting) them and killed them". (Parable of the positional modern day church system, anyone?)
Just as the host in Luke, the king in Matthew tells his servants to take to the streets (after the king is "enraged" and destroys the murderers and sets their city on fire", but we won't get into that today.) Both the "evil and the good (possibly representative of Gentile and Jew) were gathered together and the wedding hall was filled with guests" (vs. 10). In verse 11, "the king came in to look over the dinner guests and he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes." – interesting. Were the clothes that this guy was wearing really so important that the king would take notice? You'd better believe it as verse 13 shows us that the man was bound and "cast into the outer darkness". You see, the guest had been given, by the host, the necessary garments to attend this special occasion. All he had to do was trade in his old filthy garments for the wedding clothes, yet for reasons unstated, he chose not to. Perhaps he was convinced that the king wouldn't notice him. Or maybe he didn't think his old dirty clothes were so bad after all (see Isaiah 64:6 and Revelation 3:18 for a bit more on this).
Let's jump over to Zechariah 3:3&4 and get some specifics to all of this. Here the Scriptures talk about Joshua being "clothed with filthy garments". The Angel of the Lord says to those standing before Joshua, "Remove the filthy garments… I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes." Reading further through verse 7, we find that after Joshua has been clothed with these new "clean" garments, the Lord of Hosts says to Joshua, "If you will walk in My ways and perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here." I believe that this helps wrap up the aforementioned parables with great clarity (I could stay on this verse alone for days).
Let's make this personal. We are the invited guests, we are the man at the table - we too are Joshua. There must come a point where I must stand in the presence of the Lord and allow Him to remove my filthy garments. My dirty rags of iniquity keep me from partaking in His wedding feast. He has called us out, invited us – invited us all to the event of the ages. You were created for this moment and it's not enough for you to show up and sit down covered in worldly filth. The dirty garments must be removed and we must choose to be clothed with the white garments (Rev. 3:18) that He has provided - I cannot clothe myself. It is the only way I can remain at His table. It is a holy feast, a banquet where only those who have laid down their filthy rags are welcome. Friend, I encourage you, lay it all down - be clothed in His "festal robes". The Lord Himself is today saying to you Matthew 22:8, "the wedding is ready". Verse 4 says that He has prepared it all – everything is ready for us to come to the table. (Also see Isaiah 63:1-3). Will you be found worthy? There is only one way to sit at this table, through Christ alone, our Host, our King.