Religion Magazine

How Can I Be Worthy Enough for God? Matthew 22.1-14

By Malcolmdrogers

Matthew 22.1-14

‘Those invited were not worthy?’

What does it mean to be worthy – to be worthy of God?

There is the L'Oréal advert: ‘Because you are worthy’

The reason why that catches is because many of us do not think that we are worthy – worthy of anything? We try to make ourselves worthy.

I was hearing a chaplain speak about the people she works with at Cambridge University. She said, there were so many people she met – from college principals, to professors, to students (and college chaplains!) – who had a sense of imposter syndrome: there was that feeling that I’m not really worthy to be here.

So what does it mean to be worthy of God – of God’s love, of God’s invitation?

I mean this is a big thing.

The King sends out invitations to the guests to come to the wedding of his son.

God sends out invitations to his guests to come to the wedding of his Son.

How can I be worthy enough for God? Matthew 22.1-14

It is an astonishing invitation.

It is an invitation to spend time with God, to share his joy in the wedding of his son

We’ve just had the wedding of our son. It was a bit different. We didn’t send out the invitations. Peter and Amy did. But they were saying to the people they invited, ‘You are important to us. Come and share our joy with us.

And God is saying, ‘You are important to me. Come and be with me. Be my guest. Share my joy with me’.

What do we need to do to be worthy of that?

Three things. One negative. Two positive.

1.It is not about morality. To be worthy of God’s invitation is not about whether you are good or bad.

Notice how we are specifically told that the slaves go into the streets to gather all who they find, ‘both good and bad’.

Jesus could so easily have said, ‘The slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found; … so the wedding hall was filled with guests’.

God’s invitation is for all people. For good people and for bad people.

So no, you don’t have to be good to receive an invitation.

2.To be worthy of God’s invitation is to hear the invitation and to receive it.

The people first invited at best ignore the invitation and, at worst, treat it as an opportunity to declare their hatred of their King and their independence from him. They kill his slaves.

That is very similar to the previous story we heard about last week, where they kill the servants and ultimately kill the son.

The King passes judgment on the rebels, and now sends his slaves out into the streets:

in other words, the invitation which was initially for a chosen few becomes global. It is now for anyone and everyone.

Of course, it is not because we are morally worthy, good enough, to receive that invitation. It is not because we are rich enough or important enough or poor enough or humble enough to receive the invitation.

It is all God’s gift – God’s grace

But we become worthy of that invitation when we receive the invitation as an invitation from our king and our God and fchoose to allow our lives to be interrupted by the voice of God, and for us to come into the presence of God.

We become worthy when we choose to put aside time in the day, to be with God, to pray morning or evening prayer, or simply the Lords Prayer and to read some of the bible.

We become worthy when we meet with God’s people to pray and study together.

We become worthy when we come together to worship and come forward to receive communion.

3.To be worthy of God’s invitation is to receive the wedding robe that he would give us.

It is not just enough to hear the invitation and to come into the wedding feast.

It is about being willing to let God change you – to give us a new identity, to put us in a new set of relationships, to transform us

When you put on a uniform you can become a different person

We’re working with the Community of St Anselm, with people aged 20-35 from all over the world, who have come to put aside a year of their life for God. It is sort of semi-monastic, where monastic means to be focussed on the one thing. And when they make their commitments, they are given a robe, which they wear in prayers – a symbol of the new life which God is giving.

And the uniform of God is a wedding robe.

It is described elsewhere as the robe of righteousness. Paul speaks about clothing yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. It is about clothing ourselves with love (Colossians 3.12ff)

This is not stuff that is in us that comes out of us. This is the gift that God offers us

And we invite the Holy Spirit to come and clothe us with this wedding robe.

Of course, we are not worthy to receive God’s invitation.

What made us even think that we might be worthy of it?

But we can become worthy of the invitation if we hear it as it is: the invitation of our God and King to spend time with him, to share his joy, and to be transformed by him.

One final thought about this story.

We hear of the groom, the Son of the King. But we do not hear of the bride. Who is she?

She is usually the one who is wearing the wedding dress, the wedding robe.

And who here is wearing the robe?

Perhaps, just perhaps, in telling us this story, Jesus is telling us that God the Father is inviting us to come not just to the wedding of his Son, but to come to our own wedding – the wedding of the people of God – with his beloved Son.

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