By Robin Sam
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:19-23).
GREETINGS to you in the Name of Jesus Christ who fills all in all! God has opened the door to another month for us. Even as you read this, VBS meetings in Chennai, Hosur and Madhya Pradesh have come to an end. We give all glory to God who encourages us to move forward in His ministry.
This year’s VBS theme is ‘Be among the Chosen’. The theme verse is Matthew 22:14 where Jesus Christ said: ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’
That was not the first time, Jesus Christ said it. Earlier, while trying to make His disciples understand God’s Kingdom, He had told them another parable and summed it up by saying: ‘So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.’
In Matthew 20, the householder went out to hire labourers for his vineyard early in the morning. He recruited them for the job for a penny a day. He must have got the best in the business and the hardworking chaps because those are the ones who hit the market early in the morning. Diligent employers know where to find them and when! But the householder went out to the marketplace in the third hour, the sixth and the ninth and put some more guys on the job. He hired the second and the third best and even those whom nobody would hire. And, then he went out at the 11th hour and recruited a few more.
Only those who were roped in for the task of tending the vineyard early in the morning were told what their wages would be. To all the others, the householder merely said they would receive whatsoever was right. Again, when it was time to pay them off, the householder called the latest appointees first. The parable in Matthew 20 is not about salvation because salvation is by grace and not by works. The parable, then, speaks about God’s rewards for those who labour in His vineyard. Jesus Christ wanted to impress upon His disciples that when it comes to rewards, His yardstick is quite different from that of the world’s. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD’ (Isaiah 55:8).
However, the parable in Matthew 22 talks about salvation. It’s about a king who got his son married off. Here in this parable, the King is God the Father, the son is Jesus Christ and the bride is the church. We are the church as well as the invited guests.
The parable in Matthew 22 tells us three things:
Take every effort to make it to the wedding feast.
The one condition to make it to the wedding feast is accept the invitation and wear the wedding garment. The wedding garment is not something that you can pick from your wardrobe. It is provided by the king himself. It is the robe of righteousness. It is the garment of salvation. You cannot knit it. You cannot buy it. You cannot rent it from anyone. It is custom made for you and the king has the garments in plenty for anyone who wants to be at the wedding feast.
Charles Spurgeon the great orator once said in one of his sermons that the wedding garment is a distinguishing mark of grace, a symbol of respect for the king, a sign of honour for the Prince and an attire that conforms to the requirements of the occasion.
Let that sink into our hearts. Have you accepted the invitation of the king to be at his wedding feast? Have you said yes to see the glory of the Prince of Peace? Have you dressed yourself up in the wedding garment yet? The time’s running out. The wedding feast may begin any time soon.