May 09, 2022

Properly Dressed

 Devotion for the Week...

Last weekend we bought Zach's suit for his graduation next month. Paul needed a new suit, too, so we bought his at the same time. Somehow in the midst of picking out everything for them, I managed to forget that Nathan needs a new dress shirt to wear, so we're still not done shopping for grad. As for me, the fabric has arrived for me to make myself a new dress so I just have to actually get that bit of sewing done before grad arrives.

As I was thinking about the clothes we all need to be properly dressed for grad, it made me think of a parable Jesus told about a man who prepared a wedding feast, but then the invited guests wouldn't come. Some were too busy and others actually assaulted the messengers the man had sent to tell them the feast was prepared. In response, the man sends his servants out to bring in anyone they can find. The parable, found in Matthew 22:1-13, shows that the kingdom of heaven is open to everyone, not only to the Jews (represented by the invited guests).

There was one guest who got himself thrown out of the banquet, though. "But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?' But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, 'Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'" (vv. 11-13).

In this parable, the 'proper clothes for a wedding' refers to the righteousness that comes from God through faith in Jesus. As part of his prophecy, Isaiah wrote, "I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10). Our faith in Jesus is what makes us properly dressed to enter the kingdom of heaven, because we are clothed in His righteousness.

The man not wearing the proper clothes at the wedding feast represents those who try to get into heaven on their own righteousness. About our own righteousness, Isaiah wrote, "We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). The words we read translated as 'filthy rags' are more accurately described as 'used feminine hygiene products'. That's rather graphic, isn't it? No matter how good we try to be, that's what our attempts at righteousness look like to God. 
All we need do is trust Jesus as our Savior |
Fortunately, getting properly dressed doesn't mean we have to become more righteous on our own. Good thing, because we can't anyway! All we need do is put out trust in Jesus as our Savior and then we will be like Isaiah - "overwhelmed with joy in the Lord [our] God! For he has dressed [us] with the clothing of salvation and draped [us] in a robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10). 

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