In the Gospel this week, we are presented with a paradox in the story of the Prince’s wedding. First, the people who were invited, made excuses and did not turn up. They even went to the extent of mistreating the servants and the envoys who were sent. This incurred the king’s wrath who sent troops to destroy these towns. Second, the king decides to open the invitation to everyone else. We see that “these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” (Matthew 22:10) So if the hall, at the king’s request were filled with guests at his command, one would expect that there would be people who could not afford to dress up for the ceremony. It thus comes as a surprise, that the king would see someone who is not dressed in a wedding garment and bind him up and throw him out. Why invite everyone, and then impose an expectation that they must dress well, or be kicked out. Isn’t that unfair? It does not make sense.

We need to turn to Jewish tradition and culture to understand this.

In the time of Jesus, it was customary for the Groom to provide the wedding garments for the guests.  This tradition has evolved and has been retained to some degree today. If we attend a Jewish wedding ceremony now, a kippah is given to us. This is a brimless and usually woven hat that is worn by males. It is gifted by the wedding couple, because guests are not expected to have kippahs of their own (, n.d.; Lerner, n.d.).

Thus guests would be invited, and with the invitation would come a selection of wedding garments that the groom would have specially curated for the guests. This tradition is reflected in some other cultures as well. For example in Chennai, the bride and groom would provide saris for the women of the village that were invited to their wedding.

Understanding this, gives the crucial context as to why the King commanded that guest who was not found in a wedding garment, to be bound up and thrown out. He was not a legitimate guest, but a gatecrasher. On one hand he was not dressed for the occasion, and on the other, in reality he was not really an invited guest, who would have been dressed in the garments gifted by the Groom.

For the Jews, a wedding feast was an important event. According to the Talmud, the sages and scholars would also set aside time from their unceasing study to entertain a new couple with revelry, dancing, and singing. While each guest who was present, would be considered as a part of a larger Jewish continuity and community, spanning every Jewish soul throughout the generations. A Jewish wedding feast creates a link between the generations past and the future generations and becomes a historic and revolutionary event for the Jewish community. In accordance to Jewish belief, a wedding day is a personal Yom Kippur (The holiest day in the Jewish calendar) and an enactment of the covenant between God and His people on Mount Sinai (, n.d. b).

With this background, we can now understand why the motif of the Wedding Feast is to be found throughout Scripture. At the Wedding of the Lamb, all generations in Salvation history will be gathered together in great rejoicing, to celebrate the ultimate fulfilment of the Covenant that God made time and time again with his people.

For Christians, we have already been gifted this Wedding Garment. This was gifted to us at our Baptism, in the form of our Baptismal robes or stoles. We have no excuse that we have nothing to wear at the Feast.

By the Grace of God,

Brian Bartholomew Tan


References (n.d.). The Jewish Pre-Marriage Shopping List. Retrieved October 14, 2023 from (n.d. b). Jewish Wedding Ceremony & Traditions. Retrieved October 14, 2023 from

Lerner, R. (n.d.). Being a Guest at a Jewish Wedding: A Guide. My Jewish Learning. Retrieved October 14, 2023 from