What do you make of the parable of the Wedding Banquet? It is told in the waning hours of Jesus’ ministry. The invitations had been sent. Come to the Wedding Banquet! But those invited did not come. This is a story about the coming of God’s Kingdom and the arrival of the Messiah. Come to the banquet!
But they refused. Galilee refused and now Jerusalem was refusing. This was a party that God had been planning for a long time. The Messiah was present. The time had come, but the people didn’t want to know. They ignored the prophets who announced his coming. John the Baptist had been killed. And in 70 AD the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed.
But wait, there is Good News! God sent out new messengers to invite others to the banquet and who arrived? The blind and lame, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, people who everyone else had forgotten, even children. And they were glad to be there. The last will be first and the first will be last. Yay! The wedding banquet is now filled with people.
The message of the Gospel is that all are welcome. Not everyone who is invited will choose to come, but God will keep inviting and even those who least expect an invitation will be welcomed. Everyone is welcome at the banquet. God loves everyone. But God’s love wants the best for people, and best does not mean we stay where we are. If you are involved in behavior or practices that are displeasing to God, God’s love remains. But God wants the best which means lives transformed, healed, changed. We can’t remain at the party forever without being changed.
There are new clothes to be wore at the party. Everyone who heard the story knew that such clothes were provided at a wedding banquet. If the clothes are provided, why not put them on? If you refuse to put on the clothes, you are saying you don’t want to come to the party.
Later, Jesus describes these clothes in the words of the Greatest Commandment – love. Come to the banquet! Be changed!