Wang is the name of a Chinese man who pulled a serious prank on his would-be in-laws. This did not occur in the Fourteenth Century. It happened in the month of April 2017. Mr Wang paid almost 200 ‘guests’ to attend his wedding as his family and friends. It does not startle me that the trick worked. Imagine being told to identify faces of 200 Chinese!
According to the BBC, quoting a local Chinese media, the family of the wife became suspicious when they were having a conversation with some of the purported friends from the groom’s side. They could not tell how they knew the groom but kept saying they were ‘just friends’.
The ceremony would then start but there were no signs of the groom’s parents. When things went south, the guests confessed that they had been paid 12 US dollars to appear as groom’s family and friends.
It is reported that the couple had been together for three years but had a different circle of friends and this could have been the reason why she failed to notice the unfolding fabulous fake.
This reminds me of high school days when one would go to the street and pay a hobo to appear at the school as a parent. This was a norm mainly in matters where indiscipline was involved. The paid up ‘parent’ would put up a bold front and pose as a no-nonsense parent and at the same time defend ‘his’ son vehemently. He would accuse the disciplinary master of picking on his son.
It also reminds me of one Ferdinand Waldo Demara, perhaps the Father of pranks. Demara was not just a heavyweight in the real sense – reaching the height of 6 feet and weighing 150Kg – but in deception too. Demara was a doctor of psychology, a dean of philosophy, a law student, a Trappist monk, a zoology graduate, a career researcher, a surgeon in the Royal Canadian Navy, a teacher at a junior college and an assistant warden at a Texas prison. He would always take on the names and credentials of living people. He inspired Hollywood to come up with the film, ‘The Great Imposter’.
His crafty exploits would result in fraud, forgery, theft, embezzlement, resisting arrest, vagrancy and public drunkenness charges. It is said that Demara was a very miserable man in his later years and wished that he could ‘die and go to heaven’.
Hats off to this gigantic man who pulled off a daring trick as a Canadian Navy Surgeon during the Korean War and managed to successfully suture wounds and perform some surgery. In one case, he removed a bullet in chest surgery. Shockingly he had never been to a medical school
The wedding banquet
The Gospel according to Matthew 22:1-14, gives an account of one of the many parables that Jesus narrated. The Parable of the Wedding Banquet was given at a time when Jesus’ three-year ministry was in the homestretch. This text should be understood from this backdrop, and exegesis of the same should take this into account.
Those listening to the parable of Jesus must have understood what he meant considering that His teachings homed in prevailing cultural contexts.
There are several pertinent lessons that can be gleaned from the parable. However, I would want to straightaway pinpoint the object of interest and narrow on it, instead of thoroughly snaking through the entire Parable.
I want us to score our jackpot in the man with the wrong wedding attire. Bible scholars and historians tell us that it was an ancient Middle Eastern custom for the organiser of a party to come and greet the guests but not necessarily sit at the meal with them. He would just appear to check on them, and this is what happened at this time. The Bible tells us that the centre and the circumference of this party (Wedding parties in Ancient Israel could last up to one week) was a King. He had given orders that guests be brought in from streets, alleys and neighbourhood so that his chambers could be full. But there was one guy who happened to get in without a wedding attire. It is not clear how he got in. It seems that the fact he was lacking in dressing did not bother him. He was contented. Obviously, he knew the dressing code, even if he did not know at least he saw how other guests had dressed. We can also stretch our imaginations far and wide and assume he was blind. Anyway, this would be a far-fetched explanation and the most unlikely one.
No Wedding Attire
It is quite surprising and uncomfortable that the man was contentedly seated despite the fact that he was offbeat. Could he have been an imposter? A Damare of a kind? So what can we learn from him?
- Odd conditions in our lives are impermanent. A time is coming when the King will cast them out.
No blemish can outlast the Blood of Jesus.
No stain can stand the steadfastness of Jesus
No storm can steal the stillness of Jesus
No stench can stop the steps of Jesus
- Do not worry about fake friends and imposters in your life. Do what God has called you to do and leave it to the King to throw them out. Know when to mind your own business.
- The rules of the Kingdom game are meant to help us stay on the pitch till the final whistle is blown. Bending and breaking them only serves to shorten our stint in the field. Soon you find out that faking is tedious. Do not fake to be a servant of God. Do not pretend to be a born again Christian. Do not fake wholesomeness. Be real; we are humans. All these fakenesses cannot outlive His Kingdom Principals.
- It is not only the inner garment that is important. Even the outer garment must show that we are part of the King’s guests. The argument that ‘what matters is the heart’ is fallacious as we are supposed to be a Sermon in the Flesh. A non-believer cannot see what is in my heart but can observe my daily conduct and make inferences. Remember the words of D.L. Moody, “Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian’.
- Asking questions and seeking clarifications does not diminish our worth. It is better to ask questions and look silly in the process but amass vital wisdom nuggets. This can save a lifetime embarrassment.
- There is only one doorway to the King’s banquet. It is in the form of a person: Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Possibly the man with the wrong attire outsmarted the doorkeepers. Or perhaps he climbed the fence. All this hard labour brought forth wind. Things are easier when you use the Right Door.
- An invitation is necessary but not sufficient. Sufficiency is reached when choices are made. An invitation can be public, but choices are personal.
It is vitally crucial to ensure that we have the wedding garment. It is one thing to be among the guests, and it is another thing to have wedding garments.