The Banquet
Imagine refusing an invitation to attend a royal wedding! This would be the biggest party of your life, with all expenses paid! Why would anybody turn down such an invitation? But the parable is telling us about ourselves. Sometimes, we’re just too full of ourselves to be willing to accept God’s invitation. Not to worry, though: the King has a plan: "...the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled...

Yes, both the good and the bad are invited to the wedding (no surprise: both are represented in churches, too! -- see also The Weeds  or The Net ). The King offers places at his banquet to everyone. No one is too young, or too ugly, or too stupid, or too broken, or too hurting. But the King does not ignore the fact that one of the guests was not wearing a wedding robe. And that person appears shocked to discover that such a generous King -- one who would invite anyone and everyone to his feast -- should challenge a guest for wearing the wrong thing!

So what, exactly, is required of those who wish to attend the King’s feast? Simply to wear the king’s clothes! The ancient tradition was to supply festive clothing to one's wedding guests. The only folks not wearing the appropriate clothes were either wedding crashers – those who snuck into the party – or those who refused to wear the clothes that the King provided. But the King had invited absolutely everyone -- there couldn’t be any wedding crashers! So this person had simply decided that his own clothes were good enough. Fair warning: we need something from God to be acceptable to him. If we figure we can make it on our own, we are only kidding ourselves.

Matthew 22:2 (ESV) “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4 “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.’
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 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.” (see also Luke 14:15-24)