– a modern rendering of the parable in Matthew 22:1-14
There was a tycoon who threw a party at a swanky restaurant. He issued an invitation in the local press that “whomsoever” wanted to come was invited. The only proviso was that they had to be dressed properly in the dinner jacket that he provided. His Son had gone out and, at much cost to himself, bought enough jackets to provide for all possible attendees.
Well, the poor beggar man was only too pleased to exchange his raggedy coat for the fancy dinner jacket and go into the party. He was overflowing with gratitude and couldn’t believe his good fortune.
Likewise the scantily clad woman who was cold in her fashionable but inadequate outfit, happily traded in her crop top for the lovely jacket and didn’t care whether it matched her denim skirt or not. She knew she could never have afforded such a beautifully cut piece of cloth.
The businessman, however, was rather offended that his suit jacket wasn’t good enough for the party and argued that he should be able to get in as is. His clothes were clean, expensive and just as good as anything the tycoon offered, he maintained.
When the doorman insisted that no other jacket would do but those provided, the businessman insisted he would pay for it or not accept it at all. When he heard the astronomical price, he went off to try and earn enough money to pay for the jacket, because he was too proud to accept it as a free gift.
The man in cultural robes was offended too – how dare the tycoon insist that he conform to the tycoon’s tastes and manner of dress! Didn’t he know that this man’s ancestors had been dressing like this for thousands of years and that his robes held symbolic and sentimental meaning for him? It would be denying his whole people group to exchange his robe for that dinner jacket! He flatly refused.
And the runway model, when offered the expensive and well-made jacket, scorned that it was “so last season”, of an outdated cut and “not very fashion forward”. It also didn’t match her outfit and “advanced outmoded patriarchal ideas by expecting everyone to dress as a man”. So she refused.
The religious man took the proffered jacket but, before he went into the party, decided he would add his own adornments to it – a few sequins and bows and a tassel or two, maybe a nice big symbol. There, that looked more impressive. The tycoon couldn’t object – after all it was the same jacket! But as he was taking his seat at the table, the tycoon came by and asked him why his jacket had been embellished. The religious man, ashamed, had no answer for him and was thrown out of the venue.
God, (the tycoon) has prepared an eternal feast and invited all humanity to attend. Jesus, His Son, has acquired for us robes of righteousness that we could never earn ourselves. He is willing to give them to us, free of charge, if we are humble enough to admit our need and to exchange our self-made morality and independence for His holiness. It requires us to conform to God’s rules and to change, but it is the only way into the party of heaven.