Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 24: Without a Wedding Garment
Based on Matt. 22:1-14
< Prev T. of C.
The parable of the wedding garment opens before us a
lesson of the highest consequence. By the marriage
is represented the union of humanity with divinity; the
wedding garment represents the character which all must
possess who shall be accounted fit guests for the wedding.
|Without a Wedding Garment.—Davis Collection.
In this parable, as in that of the great supper, are
illustrated the gospel invitation, its rejection by the Jewish
people, and the call of mercy to the Gentiles. But on the
part of those who reject the invitation, this parable brings
to view a deeper insult and a more dreadful punishment.
The call to the feast is a king's invitation. It proceeds from
one who is vested with power to command. It confers
high honor. Yet the honor is unappreciated. The king's
authority is despised. While the householder's invitation
was regarded with indifference, the king's is met with
insult and murder. They treated his servants with scorn,
despitefully using them and slaying them.
The householder, on seeing his invitation slighted,
declared that none of the men who are bidden should
taste of his supper. But for those who had done despite [p. 308] to the king, more than exclusion from his presence and his
table is decreed. "He sent forth his armies, and destroyed
those murderers, and burned up their city."
In both parables the feast is provided with guests, but
the second shows that there is a preparation to be made by
all who attend the feast. Those who neglect this preparation
are cast out. "The king came in to see the guests," and
"saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment;
and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither
not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and
foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness;
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The call to the feast had been given by Christ's disciples.
Our Lord had sent out the twelve and afterward the
seventy, proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand,
and calling upon men to repent and believe the gospel. But
the call was not heeded. Those who are bidden to the
feast did not come. The servants were sent out later to
say, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and
my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto
the marriage." This was the message borne to the Jewish
nation after the crucifixion of Christ; but the nation that
claimed to be God's peculiar people rejected the gospel
brought to them in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many
did this in the most scornful manner. Others were so
exasperated by the offer of salvation, the offer of pardon
for rejecting the Lord of glory, that they turned upon the
bearers of the message. There was "a great persecution."
Acts 8:1. Many both of men and women were thrust into
prison, and some of the Lord's messengers, as Stephen and
James, were put to death.
Thus the Jewish people sealed their rejection of God's [p. 309] mercy. The result was foretold by Christ in the parable.
The king "sent forth his armies, and destroyed those
murderers, and burned up their city." The judgment
pronounced came upon the Jews in the destruction of
Jerusalem and the scattering of the nation.
The third call to the feast represents the giving of the
gospel to the Gentiles. The king said, "The wedding is
ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go
ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall
find, bid to the marriage."
The king's servants who went out into the highways
"gathered together all as many as they found, both bad
and good." It was a mixed company. Some of them had
no more real regard for the giver of the feast than had the
ones who rejected the call. The class first bidden could
not afford, they thought, to sacrifice any worldly advantage
for the sake of attending the king's banquet. And of those
who accepted the invitation, there were some who thought
only of benefiting themselves. They came to share the
provisions of the feast, but had no desire to honor the king.
When the king came in to view the guests, the real
character of all was revealed. For every guest at the feast
there had been provided a wedding garment. This garment
was a gift from the king. By wearing it the guests showed
their respect for the giver of the feast. But one man was
clothed in his common citizen dress. He had refused to
make the preparation required by the king. The garment
provided for him at great cost he disdained to wear. Thus
he insulted his lord. To the king's demand, "How camest
thou in hither not having a wedding garment?" he could
answer nothing. He was self-condemned. Then the king
said, "Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and
cast him into outer darkness." [p. 310]
By the king's examination of the guests at the feast is
represented a work of judgment. The guests at the gospel
feast are those who profess to serve God, those whose
names are written in the book of life. But not all who
profess to be Christians are true disciples. Before the
final reward is given, it must be decided who are fitted to
share the inheritance of the righteous. This decision must
be made prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds
of heaven; for when He comes, His reward is with Him,
"to give every man according as his work shall be." Rev.
22:12. Before His coming, then, the character of every
man's work will have been determined, and to every one
of Christ's followers the reward will have been apportioned
according to his deeds.
< Prev T. of C.