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Today is Holy Tuesday, a blessed day in Holy Week as we continue our walk to the cross and eventually the Resurrected Body of our Lord, Jesus the Christ. A good reading for today is Matthew 22 which reads,
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
As Jesus continues to preach and heal people in Jerusalem, He proclaimed this parable. You have the Wedding Feast and you have many people who were invited coming up with excuses that prevent them from attending. They focus on worldly things, on their own sinful pleasures, and stress about the worries of the world. Their sin and the thoughts of the world prevent them from hearing the Lord's invitation. They reject the King's invitation and continue to live in their own little worlds. The Master then says to go out into the highways and byways. To got out into the alleys and the back roads and get all the degenerates, the losers, the outcasts and bring them to the wedding feast. The King's feast was prepared, no work needed to be done. He burned with anger and His wrath was kindled against those who rejected his invitation. However, his wrath was not his driving force, but rather the desire for the feast to be filled. And by his mercy, the wedding hall was filled with guests.
This text shows us the great mercy of God in Christ Jesus. On the cross, Jesus Christ has prepared the feast for us, the feast of our salvation. We can't answer why people reject this gracious invitation, but some do. However, we do know why others are invited, and it is not based on their merit and worthiness. No. We are invited, brought to the feast to receive the bounty of God's gracious forgiveness based on His mercy and love toward us. We don't come to receive because we are worthy, but because God is faithful and loving toward us. This is what Holy Week is all about. It is all about God, in His mercy, sending His Son to die for you, to prepare your salvation, and seal your fate of eternal life in His resurrection from the dead. You don't merit eternal life by your good works and progress in righteousness. No. You are gifted eternal life according to the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. You have a seat at the table of God forever because Jesus has finished all the preparation and called you by name in the waters of Holy Baptism. And now, unlike the unclothed wedding guest who didn't have a garment on, you are robed in Christ's righteousness that covers all your sins. You are not naked in your transgressions. No. You are clothed in Jesus holiness and righteousness, bestowed on you in the waters of Holy Baptism, and washed and renewed every time you hear the Gospel and receive the blessed sacrament.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adan be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I love you. I forgive you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.