Jesus describes God’s kingdom as a wedding feast, and all of Israel invited. The celebration promised to be spectacular, “my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered and everything is ready” (Matthew 22:4). One condition, however, proved to be an obstacle: the required attire was a particular wedding garment. The invitees took offense, preferring their own fancy clothes, and refused the invitation–”they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business” (Matthew 22:5).
There is an attitude in those who “make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues” (Matthew 23:5-6). They dress for success and exalt themselves, but Jesus exposes their woefulness with the harshest of words, “you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence; you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones; you serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell” (Matthew 23:25, 27, 33). That’s quite a rampage over clothes.
Jesus reveals what the clothes cover up, our hearts. “They do all their deeds to be seen by others” (Matthew 23:5), but seen by God, “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 23:5), like filthy rags. Thus, the need for a wedding garment–”he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). You don’t wear filthy rags to God’s party.
Holy God, remove from my heart all that stains who I am. Clean me from the inside-out. Dying for my sins, Your Son made me new again, then clothed me in his righteousness. I wear these clothes with pride, not because they make make me look good (which they do), but because they show off Your glory.
May I wear your righteousness every day, so that people see You in me.