“[The king] said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.” Matthew 22:12 Nobody wears a tank-top to a prom or a tweed jacket when water skiing. What you’re doing and where you’re doing it clues you in on proper attire. And when you don’t wear what the occasion calls for, you might end up red-faced, or far worse.
The man in Jesus’ parable who was at the wedding without the proper attire—he was not only shamed but kicked out. Foolishly, he thought he could wear what he wanted, instead of what was acceptable for guests to wear. And he paid the price.
This wrongly dressed man, who is he? He is everyone who thinks they can slip into the heavenly banquet wearing their own merits. For since our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa 64:6), it will land us only with the man in the parable—weeping and gnashing our teeth.
What we need is what Jesus himself has provided: His robe of righteousness that covers our filthy garments. The cloak of His holy flesh and blood is draped over us in Baptism; we wear the clothing of Christ. More than dressed to the nines, we are dressed, quite literally, for heaven itself.