By Kevin Burton
On this, the fifth installment of our 10 Questions from the Bible series, you get two for the price of one, sort of.
The first question is perhaps the most important in all the Bible. It is asked by a jailer to those noted earthquake singers Paul and Silas. The two were beaten, then imprisoned for teaching in the name of Jesus.
That charge was made against them after they cast a demon out of a woman, thus ending the financial gain for some men who were charging people to see and hear the woman’s soothsaying.
Here is Acts 16: 25-34 in the KJV.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”
“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.”
“Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
“And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.’ And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
“And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
There you have it, happy ending in plain English (or Greek, translated into English), “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Paul and Silas’s invitation was accepted. But what if the invitation is not accepted?
Saying no to God has consequences which become clear when you read the parable of the wedding feast from Matthew 22. Here’s where your second question comes in. But it’s sort of an un-question.
The question is asked by the king, of one of the would-be wedding guests: “But when the king came in to look over thedinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’”
“And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet, and throw him into the outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place.’ (Matt. 22: 11-13)
For an explanation of the feast and what’s going on here, we turn to www.gotquestions.org.
“In Jewish society, the parents of the betrothed generally drew up the marriage contract. The bride and groom would meet, perhaps for the first time, when this contract was signed. The couple was considered married at this point, but would separate until the time of the ceremony.”
“The bride would remain with her parents, and the groom would leave to prepare their home. When the home was ready the groom would return for his bride without notice. The marriage ceremony would then take place, and the wedding banquet would follow.”
“In His parable, Jesus compares heaven to a wedding banquet that a king had prepared for his son.”
“Many people had been invited, but when the time for the banquet came, those invited refused to come (verses 4-5). In fact, the king’s servants who brought the joyful message were mistreated and even killed (verse 6).”
“The king, enraged at the response of those who had been invited, sent his army to avenge the death of his servants (verse 7). He then sent invitations to anyone his servants could find, with the result that the wedding hall was filled (verses 8-10).
“During the feast the king noticed a man “who was not wearing wedding clothes” (verse 11). When asked how he came to be there without the furnished attire, the man had no answer and was promptly ejected from the feast “outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verses 12-13).
The “how did you get in here” question is an un-question because it’s not meant to draw a response. There is no discussion.
God through His grace, gives us that wedding garment, salvation, through our belief in Christ. Without that garment, you face eternal judgment.
How will you answer God’s invitation of grace through Jesus?