Today we have come to the first part of Jesus giving us the Readers Digest version of the faith-walk God wants from each of us. It took the Pharisees 613 commands to summarize God’s law (the Decalogue); it took Jesus two commands, with a total of five parts, to spell out our purpose as Christians. This passage in Matt 22 is called the Great Commandment. (Matt 28 is the Great Commission.) Jesus took one piece of his Great Commandment from Deut 6:4-5, to love God. The other part is from Lev 19:18b, to love our neighbor.
I love the irony in the Isaiah passage. God anointed Cyrus, empowered him to defeat his enemies, calls him by name. Cyrus was the king of Persia. He defeated the Babylonian empire, and allowed the exiled Israelites to return to their homeland. God was the source of the power that enabled Cyrus to defeat Babylon. Our God is the god of all creation; not just of Israel; speaking today, not just the god of the people who worship Him. Cyrus didn’t know God, but God called him by name, and used him to accomplish God’s purpose.
“Being ready” is what Jesus was telling the church leaders was necessary, through his story of the king inviting everyone to the wedding banquet. The point of his parable was to wear the right garment; to be ready to respond to God’s invitation, whenever it happens.
So what is this garment we should be wearing?
Reverend Ardyss talked about walking humbly with God, and rooting for good.
When I started work as an electrical engineer I was teamed up with a senior engineer, working as his assistant. As we began working on projects together, it didn’t take long to learn what it meant to be a ‘go-fer’. But pretty quickly I caught onto the job of project engineering; and I began making suggestions, and taking initiative. It wasn’t received well. I was the young boy in the department, and I had to earn my way into a position of responsibility. I had to earn my credentials for the authority I wanted so badly.
Jesus was teaching a lesson in authority and responsibility.