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Invited and Robed
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The parable of the Wedding Garment reminds us that those who reject God's invitation of salvation and those who would come without being dressed properly will be cast out and thrown away from the Lord. He has no use for those who despise Him and His grace. On the other hand, there is the beautiful and majestic picture Isaiah gives us: that the Lord invites us to come and to feast. He invites those who have sinned and turned away to once again cling to Him and return to Him in repentance, to know that their sins have been forgiven. Those who are sinners, who cannot save themselves, who have no hope of earning such an invitation, are brought into Christ's kingdom and made a part of this eternal celebration.
The King sends His servants out to tell people, “The feast is prepared!” Those servants who have gone out were the holy prophets of the Old Testament who called God's people to repentance and faith in His promises. Now those servants are the preachers who call us to repentance and faith. The feast that is prepared is the feast of salvation. Jesus is the Lamb, slaughtered for our celebration. It is the feast prepared the day our Lord gave His life into death for the sins of the world.
Hear the Lord's warning. There are those who despised that invitation; some assaulted the messengers and even killed them! The King will have justice. He musters his army to kill those murderers and burn their city! This is a prophecy. For centuries, the Lord sent His prophets to remind His people, the physical children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that their Savior was coming. He reminded them to turn away from false gods. But when that time finally came, rather than welcoming their Savior, they crucified Him. And even when He had been raised from the dead, those people still persecuted and killed the apostles who preached Christ. What was the result of their rejection? In the year AD 70, the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem. Oh, it's there today, but can there be any greater insult to the Jewish people than that a Muslim mosque sits where their temple used to be? This is a warning, dear Christians, of what happens to those who despise the Lord’s gracious invitation and want nothing to do with Him.
The Wedding Feast of God's Son is the feast of salvation given on the day that our Lord meets with His Bride, the Church. It is the banquet in which the Son of God is main course, who gives us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. It is this feast of which we have a foretaste in the Holy Supper of our Lord. Brothers and sisters in Christ, you are invited. You have been brought to the feast, to Christ's kingdom and church. He has invited you, the good and the bad, all of us who are sinners and unworthy to be here. We don't have to earn our place. We don't have to create some kind of holiness. All is prepared by the Lord Himself. He offers His Son as the sacrifice. His Son gives Himself as the main course. And yet the Son is the Bridegroom for whom the Feast is given! You don't have to cook or clean or get your life straightened out in order to be in attendance! The Lord has brought you here to celebrate with Him the marriage feast of His Son, your Savior. Our Lord gives His church the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation for free! You don't have to earn it. You don't have to pay for it. There aren't any conditions or qualifications. He's accomplished your salvation on Calvary. He brings you into His church to receive and enjoy His salvation. He prepares you for the Last Day when the final and eternal Wedding Feast begins. There is nothing for you to do but live in it.
When you were baptized, you were brought into the Lord's kingdom and given a wedding garment. But there was a man at the wedding who wasn't wearing one. There's no reason he shouldn't have had one on. But he didn't. Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord gives us everything! Only in our sin would we cast off the baptismal robe of Christ’s righteousness. The Church on earth is full of people who have been brought in but who refuse to wear their wedding garment. They want to be members of the Church, but they don't want to learn God's Word, receive the Sacrament often, confess their sins and trust in Jesus. On the Last Day, the Lord will ask them and they'll have nothing to say, no confession to make. The Lord doesn’t make anyone wear the righteousness He died to give them. But He gives it freely. The wedding garment is already yours! Don't ever take it off or throw it away! Rejoice to stand before you heavenly Father dressed as Christ!
Everything is ready! The Lord all prepared. Come and eat and drink without cost! Come and receive Jesus and the forgiveness of sins! Come and rejoice to be the Bride of Christ. Come and receive all of the gifts Christ has for you with no strings attached. You've been given the invitation. You've been brought to the Wedding Feast of Christ! Rejoice! You are welcome here. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.