Many Get Invited; Only a Few Make it.
My daughter is reading William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet in her 9th grade English class. She’s having a hard time understanding it and so she came to me for help. “Don’t look at me, kid,” was my first thought. I remember reading the play in my 9th grade English class. Every time the teacher called on me to interpret what the class just read, I’d give her the deer-in-the-headlights look. What? You want me to understand what I just read? I’d give it a shot and then she’d smile and respond politely with something that felt like an undertone of “There, there. At least you’re pretty.”
I often think about that 9th grade English class when I read Jesus’ parables in the Bible. On one hand, I’d like to believe that I would have loved the opportunity to hear, first-hand, one of Jesus’ parables. But on the other hand, maybe He saved me from giving Him the ol’ head-light deer look. Or, even better, perhaps it’s too bad I WASN’T there as maybe Jesus would have cut me some slack and dumbed it down for me. In any event, I think I relate to those dumbfounded people who had the privilege of hearing His parables first-hand.
Let me explain: I read Matthew 22:1-14, where he wrote about Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet. Basically, this king wants to throw a big wedding for his son. He sent out all these invitations to come to the party and there was a big no-show. Not only that, but some of the invited folks killed the messengers who were extending the king’s invitation. That upset the king to no end, so he sent out more messengers to invite anybody and everybody. They filled the hall but the king didn’t like the way one guy was dressed, so he had the guy’s wrists and ankles bound and then tossed out on the street. Jesus then ended the parable by saying, “Many get invited; only a few make it.” (The Message)
So here I was, setting out to read this parable, all ready to have that deer/headlights face once again. I had to do a few Google searches to figure out what the whole clothing thing was all about. My immediate thought was, “Who cares what the guy was wearing? So the guy either had no money to pay for decent clothes…or he had no fashion sense…was that enough to BIND him and throw him out on the streets?“ From what I found, back then, the king GAVE people specific wedding clothes to wear. It was a big hoopla and he wanted everything just right (I can’t help but think bridezilla). So, I’ve been thinking about this for a bit and here’s what I think Jesus was trying to teach:
The King = God
The Son = Jesus
Messenger’s = Jesus’ disciples
Invitees = People on Earth, not listening to God’s call
The guy who was tossed out on the street for not wearing the proper wedding clothes = This guy heard God’s call. He showed up, but he couldn’t get over his own self-righteousness and fully commit to God’s salvation through Jesus.
So, here I sit, with a similar deer/headlights look, but it’s a bit of a panic with the realization that I may SAY I’m a follower of Jesus, but am I really THAT committed? What am I going to do to straighten my pathway to Jesus’ salvation? Yeah, I’m a good person. I do good things. But can I get over myself to fully commit to God’s salvation that He wants to cover all over me?
Go read the parable for yourself and see what you think…but I think I’ve got this one. Oh, how my adult self would love to go back to that 9th grade English class and study once again. I bet I’d nail it.