Jesus Met the Standard: Matthew 22:1-14

Focus Passage: Matthew 22:1-14 (NIV)

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Read Matthew 22:1-14 in context and/or in other translations on!

Have you ever wondered if God expects us to measure up to a standard?

Or, have you ever thought that Jesus came, met God’s standard, and because of this, we don’t have to think about standards, or how we live anymore?

In Jesus’ parable within this entry’s passage, we find an answer to these questions. The parable here in Matthew shares a similar storyline with another one of Jesus’ parables recorded in Luke 14:7-24. However, since the setting Jesus was in was different when He shared Luke’s version, and because the punch-line conclusion is also different, we will look at Matthew’s version of this parable separately from Luke’s. Also, Matthew’s version includes the character we will be focusing on in this entry.

After the banquet hall is full, the king decides to mingle with the last-minute guests attending, and to His disbelief, He finds one who is not wearing wedding clothes. How disrespectful is that!?

However, what happens when we look deeper at the other details about these attendees.

The original invitees rejected their invitation, so the King sent servants out to gather anyone who wanted to come. These last-minute invitees would not have had time to go home to get changed; some might not have even known where the King was hosting this party.

So the implied conclusion is the King had wedding clothes ready for those who came who did not have any. Not only was the invitation free, so was the attire. The barrier to entry into this feast is really simply just showing up and getting dressed.

But somehow, a guest gets inside who is not wearing wedding clothes. Perhaps he rejected the gift of the clothes, or perhaps he simply thought they were unnecessary and that his current clothes were good enough, but in the end, he is thrown out.

Who is at fault here: the king for throwing out a guest who wouldn’t conform or the guest who rejects the free gift and singles himself out?

Many might point to this parable and say the guest is at fault, but if this is the case, then these people are also admitting God has a standard, and that not everyone’s perspective about God is correct. This guest had the perspective that wedding clothes were not necessary, but with this choice, he also made the choice to be thrown out.

Some people might live with the thought that everyone will be included in the banquet, and it doesn’t matter what someone believes, thinks, or does. In this line of thinking, the King is at fault for being unreasonable: He invites people at the last minute, but then requires something from them. However, this belief clearly misses not only the reality that everything needed to enter the banquet was free and provided, but also that even before the banquet hall filled up, there were a number of people who rejected the invitation and who were also excluded.

In this parable, Jesus teaches us there is a standard, but also that Jesus met the standard, and He gives us the results of His success – free wedding clothes. But we still have the choice whether to accept His gift, or reject it.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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