15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.
17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.
24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.“
Prior to the parable of the great banquet (Luke 14:15-24), Jesus is eating dinner at the home of a prominent Pharisee, where He was being watched closely (Luke 14:1). While at the dinner, Jesus notices a man in front of Him, suffering from abnormal body swelling (Luke 14:2). Jesus then asks the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath or not?” But, they remained silent, so Jesus healed the man, and sent him on his way (Luke 14:3-4). Jesus then proceeds to ask the question of those in attendance of the dinner, ” If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” Still no reply. (Luke 14:5-6).
Jesus noticed how the guests were picking places of honor at the table, so He told them a parable (Luke 14:7). Do not take the seat of honor, for someone more distinguished then yourself, or the host may ask you to move, then you will feel humiliated by having to sit in a place of lesser importance. (Luke 14:8-9). That would be like being invited to a wedding feast, and taking a seat at the table of honor, alongside the bride and groom. You may have been invited to the wedding feast, but you are not part of those chosen, to be part of the ceremony.
For when you are invited somewhere, take the place of least importance, so your host may come to you and say, ‘Friend move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:10-11).
Jesus then said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite back and so you will be repaid. when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14
The Parable of the Great Banquet
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 14:15). Jesus then replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. When the banquet feast was ready, the man sent a servant to tell everyone that had been invited. ‘Come, the banquet feast is now ready’. (Luke 14:16-17).
When the people who were invited to the banquet heard it was ready, they started to make excuses, as to why they all of a sudden could not attend. ( Luke 14:18-20). Can you imagine being invited to a wedding ceremony, but when the reception occurs, all of a sudden, everyone has better things to do. I can’t! And some of the excuses mentioned in Luke, I mean really!
Think about this, what if someone you knew was having a really nice banquet, and you were invited. Now, you’re not for sure, but there was a really good possibility that Jesus would be there. Would you go? Or would you have excuses as to why you either could not, or did not want to attend? I’d like to think there was no way, I would ever miss an opportunity to have a seat at the table with Jesus.
Unfortunately, many times we do make excuses as to why we can’t spend time with Jesus. I’m too busy, my kids have activities, I have an appointment, there’s dinner to make, and the list goes on. Jesus extends His hands of grace to all of us. Jesus wants each and every one of us to be at His banquet table. However, we have been given free will. God allows us to decide for ourselves, if we want to dine with Jesus or not.
Jesus wishes for all of His children to be saved and at His table. Jesus has saved everyone a seat, who wishes to come to the feast. Jews and gentiles alike. The inclusion of everyone is found in Hosea 2:23, “I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.” The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9), and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Again, Jesus wishes for all of us to know Him, and be saved. Not just some of us. However, the choice is ours to make. Jesus is knocking on the door to your heart. Will you answer, and let Him in? Or, will you open the door, and then slam it in the face of Jesus? Jesus that laid down His life for you and me. (John 15:13) Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. My friends, Jesus laid down His life for you! He is knocking! But, it’s up to you to open your heart and let Him in. Will you choose Jesus today? There is a love like no other!