My daughter and I had the opportunity to hear Eva Kor speak at a local college this week. If you are not familiar with Mrs. Kor here is a brief summary of her story
“Eva is a survivor of the Holocaust. In 1944 Eva along with her mother, father, and four sisters were loaded into a cattle car packed with other Jewish prisoners and transported to an Auschwitz death camp. Eva who was only 10 years old and her twin sister were separated from her family and under the direction of Dr. Joseph Mengele used as human guinea pigs in genetic experiments. Thousands of twins were subjected to these experiments, most died. Eva became extremely ill during this time but she fought to stay alive and help her sister survive”.
The tickets were free but it is the policy of the college where Mrs. Kor was to speak to give priority seating to students first. Any seats that are left are made available to the general public. It was our hope to be able to get two of those seats. I didn’t expect a large turnout but was pleasantly surprised at quite a number of students who began to arrive well in advance of the 7 pm starting time. The number of students continued to grow, at 6:55 it was announced the auditorium was full but there might be seats available in the balcony. There wasn’t.
It was disappointing not getting in.
Especially when you are standing by the door watching all those who had the right invitation walk right in.
Being told at the last minute “Sorry all the seats are taken, sold out”
As I thought about our missed opportunity today I was reminded of a time in the future another event I don’t want to miss, a celebration. Unlike the event at the college there will be room for everyone at this celebration.
“The king organized a great feast, a huge wedding banquet.
He invited everyone he knew.” Matthew 22:1
What a party it will be. A wedding, a feast, a homecoming, a reunion, all the happy events we have ever known and better still….
Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:
“Praise the Lord!
For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice,
and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” Revelation 19:6-9
The King had invited everyone to a great celebration and it looked as if it was headed to a happy ending until verse 11-13 Matthew 22
Let me set the stage
The first guests invited refused to come.
The second invitation is issued with attention called to all that has gone into the preparing the feast
The invited guests refuse to come a second time and this time they mistreat and kill the messengers
The king enraged by their disrespect destroys the city and the people in it
He instructs his servants to go out and invite anyone they find
The party is filled with guests the king is happy until he spots the one person improperly dressed, without a wedding garment
“The king looked around the wedding party with glee, but he spotted one man
who was not dressed appropriately. In fact, he was dressed rather plainly,
in clothes not at all fitting for a fine nuptial feast.
King: Kind sir, how did you get in here without a proper suit of wedding clothes?
The man was speechless. He had been invited in off the street, after all!
Getting no response, the king told his servants,
King: Tie him up, and throw him out into the outer darkness,
where there is weeping and grinding of teeth.”
Not a happy ending for this guy. What is the importance of the clothes, the wedding garment? The parable closes with the general statement v.14, “many are invited but few are chosen”. To understand this and connect the “wedding garment’ to it we can read it this way.
Many are called or invited out of this world, but few out of this world are chosen by God to be part of the feast, the celebration. The invitation to the celebration and the choice of who gets to stay are not identical. The invitation comes to all and it may be outwardly accepted, even a choice made to sit down at the party as with the man without the proper clothes. But without the wedding garment of grace, that clothes us with the righteousness we could never provide for ourselves we cannot stay, we are not chosen.**
It has always been through His grace, His righteousness that we are invited into His kingdom, to the celebration. The one in the parable who arrived in his own clothes could have experienced grace and acceptance had he asked “what should I do, where do I find the proper garment?”
In the time to come we can have assurance of our place at the celebration by knowing we have been brought near by His grace……
Ephesians 1:4-8 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:16-18 I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Luke 5:32 I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.”
**from “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” Alfred Edersheim