Matthew 22:11
But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes.
ExcusesMarcus Dods Matthew 22:1-13
The Invitations of the GospelJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 22:1-14
The Marriage FeastW.F. Adeney Matthew 22:1-14
Called, But not ChosenJ. Vaughan, M. A.Matthew 22:11-13
False Pretences in ReligionS. Clarke.Matthew 22:11-13
Grace a GarmentT. Manton.Matthew 22:11-13
Highways and HedgesMatthew 22:11-13
Lack of the Wedding GarmentMarcus Dods, D. D.Matthew 22:11-13
Personal Dealings with IndividualsJ. T. Woodhouse.Matthew 22:11-13
Piety Outwardly ManifestedR. Davey.Matthew 22:11-13
Providing Festal GarmentsDean Plumptre.Matthew 22:11-13
Refusal of the Wedding GarmentMarcus Dods, D. D.Matthew 22:11-13
SpeechlessA. Gilmour.Matthew 22:11-13
Speechless At the JudgmentH. Melvill, B. D.Matthew 22:11-13
The Dreadful Consequence of Being Found At Last Without the Wedding GarmentT. Drummond.Matthew 22:11-13
The Garment of LifeMorgan Dix, D. D.Matthew 22:11-13
The Hypocrite Self-CondemnedStudiesMatthew 22:11-13
The Rejected GuestC. J. P. Eyre, M. A.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding GarmentJ. Burns, LL. D.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding GarmentR. Griffin.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding GarmentA. Weston.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding GarmentD. Moore, M. A.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding GarmentC. Bradley.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding GarmentMatthew 22:11-13
The Wedding GarmentC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding Garment a Festive RobeW. Archer Butler, M. A.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding Garment GivenAmerican Paper.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding Garment is Essentially a Habit of Holiness and RighteousnessMorgan Dix, D. D.Matthew 22:11-13
The Wedding Garment: the Maker and the MaterialsMorgan Dix, D. D.Matthew 22:11-13

There is an immediate reference to those whom our Lord addressed in this parable. He was speaking to men who prided themselves on being in the special favour of God - God's invited guests. Our Lord was bringing home to their hearts the consequences of the Jewish neglect of God's last invitation.

1. The Jews, as a nation, must be destroyed.

2. The Gentiles, as individuals, must be drawn into the Divine favour. Those Jews had conceived that the Divine favour was held in strict limitations. It belonged exclusively to those who were of Abraham's seed. And this idea had led them to presume; and in their pride they even rejected God's Son. They felt as if they might do as they pleased even with the invitation to the feast. Compare the way in which St. Paul found it necessary to turn away from the Jews, and give free offer of eternal life to the Gentiles.

I. THE GOSPEL IS OFFERED TO THOSE WHO HAVE NO NATURAL CLAIM TO IT. These folk in the highways had no claims of birth, or education, or fitness. They were just men who wanted food; and to them the offer of food was made. The gospel goes beyond all the special claims and rights that men think they have, and just deals with men as men - with men as sinful men; with men as having lost by their sin even their natural rights to the favour of God. It is not until we can give up all confidence in our own merit that we are prepared to hear the gospel message, "Whosoever will, let him come."

II. THE GOSPEL IS OFFERED TO THOSE WHO HAVE NO DISPOSITION TOWARD IT. These folk in the highway, perhaps, had not even heard of the king's marriage feast. If they had, it never entered their heads that they would like to be guests at it. It was no place for such as they were. Some of them were beggars at the wayside. All of them were in their workday clothes. A comfortable meal at home they would enjoy muck more than a grand feast at the palace. It was even needful to use forceful persuasions, and compel them to come in. Still, we are confronted by this difficulty - so many have to be made to want and welcome the gospel; to be taught their need, and to be persuaded that the fulness of Divine provision is really opened to them. The gospel is offered freely to whosoever will, but the work is committed to Christ's servants of making men will to receive the gospel. "We persuade men." - R.T.

He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.
We must consider what we are to understand.

I. BY THE WEDDING GARMENT. It is the costume or spiritual dress necessary for the enjoyment of heaven — holiness often described as a garment (Job 29:14; Isaiah 61:10; Psalm 45:13; Revelation 3:18;. 7:9).


1. Was Divine.

2. Was personal, Religion is a personal concern.

III. THE AWFUL DETECTION. We may form three conjectureS as to this robeless character.

1. It might have resulted from carelessness. He did not attend to the requirements of the king, etc. How many like him, etc. 2.:From procrastination. How many Such are always in God's house.

3. From proud and wicked preference. Perhaps thought it not essential; had other views; would trust in the mercy of the king, or his own beautiful habiliments. How many of this class are there!


1. It was public. Before all the guests. The enemies of Christ will be publicly confounded at the last day; clothed with shame and contempt.

2. It was reasonable. It gave an opportunity for the exhibition of righteousness. God will allow the sinner to plead.

3. It was overwhelming. He had no reason to assign, hence he was confounded.


1. The removal.

2. The sentence.

3. The misery.Application.

1. Now, all that is necessary for heaven may be obtained, and that by all.

2. Let professors examine themselves, etc.

3. Let sinners be entreated. Listen to the voice of the gospel and live.

(J. Burns, LL. D.)

I. AT THIS FEAST THERE WAS BUT ONE CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE — the wearing of a particular garment, Faith in Christ.

1. The wedding garment had no merit in itself: faith has no intrinsic worth.

2. It was all-important because commanded by the king: the fact that faith, as the instrument of justification, is ordained of God endows it with importance.

3. It was no arbitrary symbol.

4. It was highly significant.


1. He was in the guest-chamber.

2. He desired to eat of the feast.

3. He remained in the guest-chamber until the king came.

4. He may have been highly esteemed by the rest.

III. THE PROBABLE REASONS OF HIS NON-COMPLIANCE. Pride, self-deception, pride of intellect.

(R. Griffin.)

The guest referred to was speechless because —

I. He could not plead ignorance of the will of the king who had invited him to the feast.

II. He could not plead that in his case the wedding garment was not necessary.

III. He could not plead that a wedding garment was not placed within his reach.

IV. He had despised the wedding garment.

V. He was overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. Learn the worthlessness of mere profession, and the necessity of being prepared for coming judgment.


Between this man and the other guests there are some points of resemblance, and some of difference. Let us trace —

I. The points of RESEMBLANCE.

1. He Was an invited guest. We are all called to the great feast.

2. He was a needy guest. All equally needy.

3. He was an expectant guest.

II. The points of DIFFERENCE.

1. They differed in their appearances.

2. They not only differed in appearances, but in their principles, in their states, in their conduct. He had neglected to observe the conditions on which admission was granted, etc.

III. THE CAUSES OF THE DIFFERENCE. Perhaps it was carelessness, pride, mind pre-occupied, etc.

IV. The consequences to which it led.

1. Detection.

2. Overwhelming confusion.

3. Destruction.

(A. Weston.)


1. The manner of his discovery. He was not discovered till the king came in. Though the Lord knoweth them that are His, they that are His do not always know each other.

2. The language of the address, "Friend," etc. God's judgments proceed upon our self-assumed character. The man was not obliged to accept the king's invitation. "Not having a wedding garment." This was the affront.

II. THE CONFUSION OF THE CRIMINAL "He was speechless." There was no excuse. Conscious guilt struck him dumb. Before the bar of God man will not be able to plead — the soul's inborn sin. He could not plead inability to procure the garment.

(D. Moore, M. A.)


1. He was an invited guest.

2. He was a needy guest.

3. He was an expecting guest.

II. THE POINT OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MAN HERE SPOKEN OF AND THE OTHER GUESTS. The wedding garment is, in short, a wedding spirit.


1. Perhaps carelessness, mere inconsideration, led to his refusal.

2. It may have been pride.

3. There was great irreverence in his conduct.


1. Detection.

2. Confusion.

3. Destruction.

(C. Bradley.)




(T. Drummond.)

1. The folly of the human heart as seen in the way in which men attempt to impose upon God.

2. Though only one rejected, the guests admitted far less numerous than those invited.

3. It was the man's own fault that he had not the wedding garment.

4. The wedding garment is something more than outward conduct, for it escaped human observation. It was something which the king could alone discover.

(C. J. P. Eyre, M. A.)

1. You cannot say that the gospel plan is unworthy of your acceptance as a rational and immortal being.

2. You will be speechless because you cannot plead ignorance of the plan of salvation.

3. You cannot plead as an excuse for your wickedness the necessity of an irreligious life from the decrees of God.

(A. Gilmour.)

Old stories and strange chronicles of other days come into the thoughts as we listen to the words of Christ. For instance, they tell us of one who sat, day after day, in her fair house, past which a strong river flowed toward the sea, and she ever wove and wove, and never looked up, nor heeded aught beyond that task; till, on one fatal day, there came by a vision of the pride and beauty of this world: then she looked up, and left her work, and was lost, and undone. And so may it be in many a life: there is work for us to do, and do it we must; here is a garment to be woven, and God has told us what is coming, and has set us at the task, here beside the great river of time, which shall become for each, ere long, the river of death. What are we at? Are our hearts in the task? Or are the eyes wandering, and is the thing like to be left for ever undone?

(Morgan Dix, D. D.)

It differs, specifically, from those vanities in which we take so much delight, in the following respects:

1. It is a clothing of humility; no robe of pride to dress up the sinner.

2. It truly corresponds to what the wearer is; no masquerade dress disguising the idle reveller or the stealthy conspirator.

3. It is a habit of the inner as well as of the outer man. A dress of the soul, the everyday costume of the devout and religious spirit, the inner habit which goes together with the outer, orderly, and sober life.

(Morgan Dix, D. D.)

I. THE MAKER. It must be woven by our own hands, if ever woven at all. No such thing as getting it made for you. Every man is his own artisan: there are no workshops, and no workmen, here or elsewhere, to fit for heaven the souls of those who will not make themselves ready. We can buy, according to our means, sufficient, or more than sufficient, of lavish or gorgeous apparel, for this world and this life; but not one thread or one finger's breadth of that which we need for the life to come.

II. THE MATERIALS. These are from God. They are the redeeming work of Christ, His perfect righteousness, and absolute holiness, His merits, the benefits of His cross and passion, His mighty resurrection and glorious ascension. To weave these materials into a garment, skilled and industrious fingers are needed: faith, hope, love. We must weave a true Christian habit by Christian acts; we must take what the Lord has done for us, and of it we must work a holy life; we must become like Him.

III. WE SHALL HAVE HIS HELP IF WE WORK HARD. If we do our best, God will supply all the defects in our work, and make it good; sufficient for every need. Such garment as the child of God tries to make, in accordance with God's will, may need much altering and setting right; it shall need to be shaped, and washed, and made white, till it become that radiant dress which the King shall see with pleasure.

(Morgan Dix, D. D.)

The garment must, surely, from the very nature of the image, have been intended to signify something public and visible, in which each wearer harmonises with all, and all with the spirit of the peculiar scene into which they are introduced, and to which the dress is appropriate. I would say, then, that by this remarkable symbol our Lord did not intend merely the inward principle of faith exclusively considered, nor yet merely the mysterious imputation of righteousness through identification with Christ (though these are, no doubt, necessary conditions and first steps to its possession); for apparel is, of all things, the most manifest and visible, and the wedding apparel is especially the apparel of joy. This festal garment of heaven, then, which each man must bring with him into the high presence of God, seems to be no other than that celestial temper which manifests itself by the infallible indications of a holy joy — that spiritual sympathy with the things of the spiritual world, which exhibits itself in cordial, irrepressible demonstration of the blessedness within; holy happiness, public and expressed; the "joy in the Holy Ghost" — no longer a secret, timid, half-uttered delight, but sparkling in the eye, and fearless in the voice; the "life" no longer "hid with Christ in God," but "apparent with Him in glory." I repeat it- inward, spiritual happiness, developed by the presence of God, and the consciousness of heaven, into visible manifestation — this is the wedding garment which Christ beholds and approves in "the saved."

(W. Archer Butler, M. A.)

'Tis usual in Scripture to set forth sin by nakedness, and grace by a garment. Graces are a beautiful ornament to the soul as garments are to the body.

(T. Manton.)

I. THE ORIGINAL AND GROUND OF THIS FIGURATIVE EXPRESSION, of having on the wedding garment. The constant and prevailing temper or disposition of any man's spirit, can no way be Set forth more expressively than under the similitude of bodily garments, so investing the person as to be his proper and distinguishing attire.


1. How absolutely and indispensably God expects and requires, that every man who hopes to be admitted into the kingdom of heaven, should have his mind endued, and as it were clothed, with those habitual virtuous qualifications, which can no otherwise be acquired than by righteous practice.

2. There is such a thing as a false or ill-grounded hope; there are deceitful expectations, which may betray men into perdition.

3. The judgment of God will be according to right, in the sense that we understand just and right; in the sense, that even the wickedest of men shall not be able to deny, is according to righteousness and justice. The man convicted was speechless.

4. The reality of the concern God has for the salvation of men.

5. A very moving admonition, how dreadful at last will be the state of those whom the great goodness and long-suffering of God have not been able to bring to repentance, and to effectual amendment of life and manners.

(S. Clarke.)

The professors of the gospel will be personally examined.

1. There is a personal visit, "When the king came."

2. There is a personal scrutiny, "He saw a man."

3. There is a personal interrogation, "'Friend, how camest thou in?"

4. There is a personal conviction, "He was speechless."

5. There is a personal bondage, "Bind him."

6. There is a personal exclusion, "Cast him into outer darkness."

7. There is a personal torment, "Weeping and gnashing of teeth."

(J. T. Woodhouse.)

The framework of the parable probably pre-supposes the Oriental custom of providing garments for the guests who were invited to a royal feast. Wardrobes tilled with many thousand garments formed part of the wealth of every Eastern prince (Matthew 6:19; James 5:2), and it was part of his glory, as in the case of the assembly which Jehu held for the worshippers of Baal (2 Kings 10:22), to bring -them out for use on state occasions. On this assumption, the act of the man who was found " not having a wedding garment" was one of wilful insult. He came in the "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6), of his old life, instead of putting on the "white linen " meet for a kingly feast (Ecclesiastes 9:8; Revelation 3:4, 5), which had been freely offered him.

(Dean Plumptre.)

A coloured minister was once discoursing on salvation, which he illustrated as follows: — "Suppose," said he, "any of you wanted a coat, and should go to a white gentleman to purchase one. Well, he has one that exactly fits you, and in all respects is just what you need. You ask the price; but, when told, find that you have not enough money, and shake your head — 'No, massa; I am too poor; must go without,' — and turn away. But he says, 'I know you cannot pay me; I have concluded to give it you. Will you have it?' What would you do in that case? Would you stop to hem and haw, and say, 'Oh! he's just laughing at me; he don't mean it?' No such thing. There is not one of you who would not take the coat, and say, 'Yes, massa, and thank you, too.' Now, my dear friends, God's salvation is offered to you as freely as that. Why won't you take it as freely? You are lost, undone sinners, and feel that you need a covering from His wrath. If you could keep His holy law blameless, you might purchase it by good works; but ah! you are full of sin. Prayers and tears are worthless. You are poor indeed, and if this is all your dependence I don't wonder that you are turning off in despair. But stop! look here! God speaks now, and offers you the perfect robe of Christ's righteousness that will cover all your sins, and fit all your wants, and He says that you may have it without money and without price."

(American Paper.)

We might do better if we went further afield. Our invitations to Christ, which fall so feebly on the ears of those who regularly hear us, would be welcomed by those to whom we never deliver them. We are fools to waste time in the shallows of our churches and chapels, when the deep outside teems with waiting fishes. We need fresh hearers: the newer the news to any man, the more likely is he to regard it as good news. Music-hall work, out-door preaching, house-to-house visitation have virgin soil to deal with, and there is none like it. Invite the oft-invited — certainly; but do not forget that those who have never been invited as yet cannot have been hardened by refusals. Beggars in the highways had never been bidden to a marriage-feast before; and so, when they were surprised with an invitation, they raised no questions, but gladly hastened to the banquet.

Is there any common way of dealing with God's invitation than that which this man adopted? He had no deep love for his king, no grateful and humbling sense of his kindness, no perception of what was due to him; but with the blundering stupidity of godlessness, thought selfishness would carry him through, and ran right upon his doom. What is commoner than this self-complacency, this utter blindness to the fact that God is holy, and that holiness must therefore be the rule everywhere; what is commoner than the feeling that we are well enough, that we shall somehow pass muster, that as we mean to take our places among the heavenly guests we shall surely not be rejected? How hard it is for any of us fully to grasp the radical nature of the inward change that is required if we are to be meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Conformity to God, ability to rejoice with God and in God, humble and devoted reverence, a real willingness to do honour to the King's Son — these are great attainments; but these constitute our wedding garment, without which we cannot remain in His presence nor abide His searching gaze. It is the heart that you bear towards Him that will determine your destiny. No mere appearance of accepting His invitation, no associating of yourself with those who love Him, no outward entrance into His presence, no making use of the right language is anything to the purpose. What is wanted is a profound sympathy with God, a real delight in what is holy, a radical acceptance of His will — in other words, and as the most untutored conscience might see, what is wanted is a state of mind in you which God can delight in, and approve of, and hold fellowship with.

(Marcus Dods, D. D.)

Had the man any means of obtaining a dress more in keeping with the occasion? Was he not perhaps so poor that he could afford no preparation of any kind? Had this been so, it would have been pleaded in excuse. But no doubt the parable supposes that the not unusual custom of providing for the guests the needed garment had been adopted; a provision which this guest had despised and refused; he had pushed past the officious servants who would have clothed him. It is this that constituted the man's audacity and guilt. Similar audacity in entering the king's presence without putting on the robe sent by The king for that purpose, has been known to cost a prime minister his life. A traveller who was invited, with the ambassadors he accompanied, to the table of the Persian king, says: "We were told by the officer that we, according to their usage, must hang the splendid vests that were sent us from the king over our dresses, and so appear in his presence. The ambassadors at first refused, but the officer urged it" so earnestly, alleging, as also did others, that the omission would greatly displease the king, since all other envoys observed such a custom, that at last they consented, and hanged, as did we also, the splendid vests over their shoulders." So at this, marriage, dresses had been provided by the king. The guests who had been picked off the streets were not told to go home and do the best they could for their dress, but in the palace, in the vestibule of the banquet-hall, each man was arrayed in the dress the king wished to see worn. Possibly the man who declined the offered garment had a dress of his own he grudged to cover. Possibly be thought he was as well dressed as need be. He would stroll in superciliously as a patron or spectator, thinking it very fit for those poor, coarse-clothed and dirty people to make use of the king's wardrobe, but conscious of no speck or uncleanliness in his own raiment that should cause him to make any alteration of it.

(Marcus Dods, D. D.)

I. The multitude of guests.

II. The unfitted one.

III. The merciless end.

All organized beings are sustained by an inner economy of life, which is made manifest by an outer life. There is in us an inner life of thoughts, opinions, beliefs, emotions, and desires. These should be brought in conformity with the mind and Spirit of Christ. They correspond with the root of the tree, or with the seed which you hide end bury in the ground. Now, you are not satisfied with the root and the sap of the tree, or the germ power in the seed that you have hid in the earth. These hidden, buried, and unrevealed powers do not suffice. You want them to come forth and put on their gay garments, that your eye may be delighted and gladdened by their beauty. And you cut down the tree, you plough up the seed, if it puts on no wedding garment of blossom and fruit. So, say not my faith is right, my opinions are correct, my emotions are warm; for God wants more than these. He looks for fruit, for the beautiful wed. ding garment of a pure, sweet, loving, unselfish, and Christ-like life. The outward beauty, it is true, grows out of the hidden life. It is not put on. ,The beauty of the lily is not put on the flower, as a man puts on his coat. It grows out of the lily-like nature of the flower, many put on the manners of the Christian; but when they are only put on they drop off and expose the nakedness of the wearer when temptation comes, or when there is no end to be answered by keeping them on. Let us train ourselves, day by day, into the habit and feeling of the Christian spirit and temper, so that acts of Christian love, nobleness, and self-denial may grow out of us, as the beautiful form and colour grow out of the lily, and the sweet fragrance out of the rose.

(R. Davey.)

1. An enemy at the feast.

2. The king at the feast.

3. The judge at the feast.

4. The criminal at the feast.

5. The executioner.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

There is no speechlessness at present, when we ply men with questions as to their being unprepared for eternity: they have all some specious excuse to plead, or some empty promise to make. But there will be no death-like silence hereafter, throughout the company of those who come up from the grave unclothed for eternity. Every particular of their lives will have crowded in upon the memory, and the consciousness of what they might have been will repress all murmuring at what they are. I have read the singular account of some who have been recovered from apparent death by drowning, and they say, that, as life went away, every action, every occurrence from infancy upwards, presented itself to the mind with overpowering vividness, so that the close was as it were the resurrection of their existence; they seemed to themselves to have lived the whole of life over again, in those fearful moments when they were grappling with death, so energetically and with so marvellous an accuracy did long-forgotten things pass before them, and the picture of their every day, and every week, and every hour, paint itself on the mental retina. And if there is to come at last this resuscitation of memory, oh! we cannot wonder at the speechlessness of those who are condemned at the judgment.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

What of necessity must be the character of that man who has put on that robe?

1. He must be a humble man.

2. He may walk into the feast boldly in his confidence.

3. He must be joyous. It is a feast.

4. He must be loving. It is a feast to commemorate love.

5. The Christ that is on him will be the Christ that is in him.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

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