Friday, October 05, 2007

Clothed with Christ

Jesus, at the end of Matthew 21, is confronted by the chief priests and elders, and he is asked, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" Jesus demands that they answer his own question first, "The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?" The religious leaders are stumped. They cannot offer a satisfactory answer, and thus Jesus gives them no answer to their question.

In light of this, Jesus begins to tell a few parables. The parable of the two sons describes the responses and actions of two sons to the command of their father. One refuses at first, yet repents and obeys. The other complies with his lips, yet chooses not to obey. Jesus compares the repentance of the tax-collectors and prostitutes with the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.

Jesus further condemns the chief priests and Pharisees in the parable of the tenants. The father placed the vineyard in the hands of the tenants and over time they rejected his ownership of the vineyard. They beat and killed his messengers, and finally they murdered his son, the heir. Jesus concludes this parable by declaring judgment on the religious leaders for their failure to produce fruit, and he shows them from the Scriptures that this was the Lord's marvelous doings; they would be condemned and new tenants would inhabit the vineyard--ones that would produce fruit.

This brings me to Matthew 22:1-14, a passage I read in my devotional time today. Here, Jesus tells the final parable in this particular confrontation, the parable of the wedding feast. A king throws a wedding feast, and the invited either casually or violently reject the king's invitation. The violent rejectors were executed swiftly, and the king sent invitations to anyone his servants met on the roads. Finally, the king has a full house to celebrate the wedding feast, yet he finds someone that has attempted to sneak into the feast without wearing appropriate attire. The king has extended his invitation to the "bad and good." Why then is this man rejected by the king?

Because the man was pretending to be something he was not, because he was not adorned with the "wedding garment" provided for all the official guests, he was bound and ejected from the wedding feast.

I saw so very clearly today that Jesus Christ, by means of his atoning sacrifice and imputed righteousness, has brought his people from the dirty roads, cleaned us up, and given us acceptable attire for heaven. For us to remain in the presence of the King, and to enjoy the wedding of the Son, we must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. We cannot sneak in with our own best clothes; they are unacceptable. We must be clothed with Christ.

So, what are you wearing to the wedding feast? Armani? Gucci? J. C. Penney? Good works? Helping the poor?

I'm going to choose Christ.


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