One of my friends recently told me about her cousin’s spectacular wedding. Her family had both the desire and the ability to go all out, so they spent over $100,000 on their daughter’s wedding. Every aspect was the best it could be. Then my friend dropped the punchline. The couple was divorced within the month. Yowch.
Still, we’re talking about weddings not marriages. When we had our last Royal Wedding in 2011, nearly two billion people watched William and Kate get married in London. Two billion! That was 35% of the world’s population.
I found a helpful and amusing infographic that estimates the cost of various components of the Royal Wedding and then compares them with the cost of an average wedding. The average wedding cake costs $540, but William and Kate’s ran around $80,000. The average dress will cost $1099, but Kate’s came out at $434,000. The average ring will run you about $5,392, but Kate’s was free! It was the one from Princess Diana, William’s mother. The average spent on weddings in the United States is $24,066. The Royal Wedding piled up a price tag estimated at over $16 million. However, author Richard Darell reports that in 2004 Vanisha Mittal married Amit Bhatia. Their six-day wedding for over 1000 guests in various cities in France with private jets cost over $60 million. They spent $1.5 million in wine!
This wasn’t quite how our wedding was. I’m not sure what our cake, cheese and crackers tab ended up being, because I’m not sure what Sam’s Club prices were in 1994. But we’re still married!
Your wedding doesn’t have to be spectacular, but if you’re royalty then you can expect the royal treatment for sure. It’s great to go to great weddings. It’s great to be treated well when you have the opportunity. It’s great to eat and dance and rejoice like this. Weddings are capture our hearts and won’t go away.
One of Jesus’ parables features just such a royal wedding. Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” (Matthew 22:2) The king is throwing a tremendous, multi-day ceremony and party for his son and his bride. That means you can expect the king to pull out all the stops to make this a wonderful day for everyone. He’ll spare no expense. Everyone is invited! The whole world will be watching.
So many opt out. Few are chosen. Few accept the invitation. They’d rather be excluded. They’d rather wear their own clothes outside of the party. After all, this Jesus seems to even be promoting tax collectors and prostitutes. He’s a friend of sinners. Do I want to associate with a God like that?
Paul writes, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) You have to be in Christ Jesus. You have to accept his sacrifice, that he is the sacrifice. He is the righteousness. It’s his garments of salvation, not yours. He gets your stained clothes, however they got stained. They may smell putrid from grime and grease and guts. Or they may reek because of self-righteousness, seething hatred and nasty pride. However, they got that way, they’re not going to work. Yet in faith, as he takes yours on himself, he gives you his. You wear his righteousness, his salvation. They’re his wedding clothes for you.
The Pharisees were invited but they didn’t attend. They didn’t think this king had it right. They wanted to wait, and in a sense they’re still waiting. Many others have let the king’s son’s wedding pass too. Some are angry about it. Some too busy. Some think it’s unseemly to join with people like this.
But Jesus was the son. And his church is the bride. And we’re invited to attend the party, all of us. In fact, the party is for us. If we are united with Christ, the Bible describes us as the bride herself.
At the end of the Bible, we read about the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. There is woe for those who are not a part of the party. And there is rejoicing for all those who have God’s love and mercy, for all whom have come into the feasting and taken his salvation to wear for themselves, which is all of and only of grace. At the very end in Revelation 22, we read, “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (22:17)
Will you come? Will you answer the invitation of the king for the wedding? Will you wear his clothes? Will you take his hand? Will you let him buy you drinks? Will you let him feed you?
All of it cost him a great price. The wedding wasn’t free. It’s worth everything. It’s expense is beyond measure. You can only begin to see and wonder. But you’re invited into it. You’re included. You’re a part. You’re desired. You’ve been pursued to attend. He’s got wedding clothes for you. He’s got a spot for you to be truly loved forever.