Wilfulness Spoiling Our Blessings
Matthew 22:12
And he said to him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

Not having a wedding garment. The incident is a distinctly Eastern one. So motley a crowd would be very out of place in a king's palace. It was not only kindly consideration which provided an all-covering, handsome robe for guests whose own clothes were shabby; it was a sense of appropriateness which required all the guests to be suitably arrayed. In treating this parable it should be kept in mind that he who gave the feast was a king, and so sent his invitations, and made his arrangements and conditions, with an authority which all were bound to respect. As illustration of this custom, it may be mentioned that, "every guest invited to the wedding at the royal marriage of Sultan Mahmoud, had made expressly for him, at the expense of the sultan, a wedding garment. No one, however dignified his station, was permitted to enter into the presence-chamber of that sovereign without a change of raiment. This was formerly the universal custom in the East."

I. THE REASON FOR BRINGING IN THIS PARTICULAR MAN. It is an unexpected addition to the parable, and at first one does not see how its point of teaching bears on, or runs in harmony with, the things our Lord is enforcing. It seems as if it suddenly struck our Lord that what he had been saying was open to misconstruction. "The perception of the absolute, unconditioned freedom of entrance, the sense borne in on their mind that they were the objects of God's love and invitation, might possibly lead them to overlook the great moral change requisite in all who enter God's presence and propose to hold intercourse with him." It is true that salvation is freely offered, but a man must be in a certain frame of mind to receive it. One so unresponsive to the kindness and authority of the king as this man, who would not have the wedding garment, was clearly unfitted for and unable to receive the king's grace.

II. THE REASON FOR THE BEHAVIOUR OF THIS PARTICULAR MAN. Nothing explains his act but the uppishness of self-will. He was not going to be ordered about - to be made to do what somebody else wished. If the king wanted him at the feast, he must take him just as he was. See in this no sense of gratitude for the king's kindness; no sense of submissive obedience to the king's will; no lowly estimates of his own unfitness. So the man who was just upon getting a big blessing lost it altogether through his own stubborn wilfulness. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

WEB: and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here not wearing wedding clothing?' He was speechless.

The Wedding Garment: the Maker and the Materials
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