Recall in this parable that as the wedding was filled with both evil and good who had been gathered to recline at the king’s table and dine with him, he noticed a man “not dressed in wedding clothes”, which we understand to be “the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev 19:8). What is the significance that it was the king himself who noticed that he was not dressed in wedding clothes? I.e., why had the king’s slaves who had gathered them or the other guests who were gathered in evidently not noticed? Was it the case that he was entirely naked? With what was he clothed that perhaps gave others the appearance that he belonged but that the king quickly noticed as inappropriate for the occasion? Cf. Gen 3:7-10, Isa 48:1-2, 58:1-3, Eze 33:30-32, Mat 23:27-28, Mar 7:5-8, Col 2:20-23, 2Ti 3:1-5. What should this teach those who are insincere in their faith about who they are really fooling? Although they may for a time fool others who are gathered for the feast, are they fooling God? What should this also teach each one of us about the importance of preparing our hearts for the Lord’s scrutiny on that day when He will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts (1Co 4:5)? Cf. 2Co 13:5. What part of man is it by which the Lord discerns the true nature of his heart? See Pro 20:27, 1Co 2:11. What does this teach us about the nature of the wedding clothes that those who are invited to the wedding feast are given to wear: are they for man’s flesh or for his spirit? And again, by what means is one’s spirit clothed in righteousness? See Rom 8:11.
Consider again that what was readily apparent to the king in regard to the man not being dressed in wedding clothes for the feast was not as apparent to the others guests who had been gathered. What does this remind us about the nature of God’s kingdom (see again Mat 22:2) from our perspective as it expands and grows? Cf. Mat 13:24-25. Is it immediately obvious that someone doesn’t ultimately belong? Cf. Mat 13:20-22. Are all who are at first gathered necessarily all who will join in the feast? Cf. Mat 13:47-50. Is everything that is first gathered in the harvest also what is then gathered into the barn? Cf. Mat 3:12. In these terms, what is it that makes plain who belongs at the feast and who doesn’t, and how is this related to the wedding clothes that the king noticed were missing in this parable? See Mat 13:26; cf. Rev 19:8. What practical application does Paul recommend to Timothy because of this reality? See 1Ti 5:22,24-25. How does this same principle also apply in regard to those preparing for marriage?
What did the king say to the man who was not dressed in wedding clothes? See Mat 22:12. What is the significance that he calls him “friend”? Note that “friend” is a close acquaintance, one that would dine with another and come to his aid. Cf. 2Sa 16:16-17, 1Ki 4:5, Mat 20:13. What does this again indicate about the supposed relationship of the man to the king that was not at first discerned by the king’s slaves or the other guests who came to the feast? What example do we have in Scripture of a supposed friend of our Lord who ended up not belonging? See Mat 26:49-50; cf. Psa 41:9. Although in hindsight we demonize Judas as the one who betrayed Jesus, what appearance did he have throughout Jesus’ ministry so that he was counted among the apostles? See Mar 6:7,12-13, Joh 13:21-22, Act 1:17,20 and notice in Act 1:20 that the NAS “office” is literally “position as overseer”, the qualifications for which Paul writes about in 1Ti 3:1-7. Consider also that although Jesus refers to one of the twelve in Joh 6:70 as a devil that John in hindsight comments as referring to Judas who would betray Him, we should also remember that Jesus also addressed Peter as Satan in Mat 16:21-23, and it was Peter who denied Jesus three times with an oath and a curse (Mat 26:74), while Judas arguably supposed he was helping Jesus establish His kingdom by “betraying” Him as an occasion for Jesus to manifest His power. Are we to suppose that Judas was not himself deceived by his own heart to suppose that he belonged and was not as surprised as the others that he would ultimately be cast out? See Mat 26:21-25, 27:3-5. In the same way, what does the king’s use of the word “friend” indicate about the man’s belief that he belonged there in spite of the fact that he had no wedding clothes? Should we assume that because only one man is mentioned in this parable as not belonging who believed that he did, that it is necessarily a rare occurrence that we need not fear could happen to us? See Mat 7:21-23, Luk 13:23-30.