Wedding Party Etiquette
Wedding Party Etiquette
Words of Faith 4-17-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.  But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
 Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
 They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking."
 Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."
 He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.  And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.  And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.' "
What is the core truth for us here? Are we supposed to throw a constant party? Are we banned from using old beverage containers? Exhorted to buy new clothes rather than repair the old ones? Of course, there was something much bigger going on here.
Jesus really came to announce the beginning of a party called the Kingdom of God. He created a kind of joy among people that is quite contagious. The party at Levi's house was an expression of that Kingdom. It was joyous and included people who needed the Lord. But the same spirit of religion that had choked the joy out of worship in Israel came around knocking. Jesus will have nothing of it. In essence Jesus said: "Hey, this is my wedding feast. These people are my bride. Don't insult my bride by saying 'He eats with tax collectors and sinners'. And don't ask the people be mournful while the guest of honor is still here."
In the simplest of terms, Jesus was describing the wedding etiquette for His Kingdom party and for His church. We are familiar with modern wedding etiquette-- don't seat yourself after the mother of the bride, stand when the bride enters, don't leave before the bridal party and family. Jesus set down some clear instruction regarding the etiquette of the Kingdom feast. Here is how we as Christians are to respond:
1st) RESPOND TO THE INVITATION. In Luke 14 and Matthew 22 there are parables of the Wedding Feast. In each case there were people who did the unpardonable. They made excuses not to attend. It is very clear that religious Jews were the first invited, but then declined. Then an open invitation was given to the poor, crippled, blind, and lame. That, frankly, is my category. How ever I can get there is fine. But our first response is to be sure we respond to the invitation.
2nd) DRESS APPROPRIATELY. It was unpardonable to not wear festive clothing to a wedding. Wearing sad clothing was an insult. We might receive an invitation to an event and say: "But I don't have anything to wear." We might well say that but actually we have the righteousness of Christ as our clothing. And this is the only appropriate clothing. Romans 13:14.
3rd) HONOR THE BRIDEGROOM. In ancient times the wedding party honored the Bridegroom. It was His party. In modern times we honor the bride, but in that day honor was given to the Bridegroom as he honored his bride. The party was festive, but orderly. The Best man led the honoring with toasts of blessing and then led the dancing, singing, and the telling of stories that honored the couple. It was inappropriate for the Best man, or any guest, to draw undue attention to himself. There were no sad faces among the wedding party. If you were inclined to be sad or in the middle of a religious fast, that was put on hold! The best friend of the bridegroom was the Worship Leader of the event. We need to follow that leadership in honoring the Bridegroom.
Where are you today?
Perhaps you realize that you have never responded to the invitation to the party. You have friends there. But you have never actually come into the party for yourself. Now is the time to respond.
Perhaps you have been standing outside looking in feeling concerned as to whether a gathering full of sinners is appropriate. Come on in. There is room for one more! Don't stand outside and be offended because God is working with such people.
Perhaps you have arrived and don't know how to conduct yourself. Just honor the Bridegroom Jesus, avoid somber religion, don't insult the Bride (other folks in church), and don't draw much attention to yourself. It's not about you. It's about Jesus. You will be fine.
Perhaps you would like to come to the party but you have realized "I have NOTHING to wear!" He will clothe you with His righteousness (Romans 13:14). Come join the party.
Jesus, thank You for the invitation to the party. Thank You for the new wedding clothes, the righteousness of Christ. Thank You for Your spirit of joy. Forgive me if I have cast any insult upon Your bride. I am ready to enjoy the party. In Jesus' name.