Awkward moments! Jesus had created one! His remarks in the home of the prominent Pharisee had rather obviously been directed to both the host and his guests. They stung. They hit home. Awkward!
How do you break the silence? Well, one of the guests blurts out (14:15) a pious remark, 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.”
Who is going to argue with that? Everyone there would agree with this blessing; everyone there was destined for the Kingdom of God, right? But inadvertently he simply gives Jesus another launching pad into even more convicting rhetoric.
The ensuing parable involves a man who prepares a great banquet and invites many guests through his servant. This was a sort of RSVP system, alerting the guests that a feast was in preparation. Soon after would come the word that it was ready, so there were two invitations.
God is the host of the banquet = the Kingdom. The invitation first went out through the prophets, and now with the presence of Jesus, the time had arrived.
But all of the expected guests began to make excuses.
The first excuse was needing to go look at a field just purchased. Really? You buy something like this without seeing it first? Even so, it could be done another day. This was a person possessed by possessions.
The second excuse was of a person buying five yoke of oxen that needed to be tested. Really? This couldn’t wait for another time? Anyone with this number of oxen was surely a big-time farmer. Here was a person of busyness with business.
The third excuse was of a person who just got married. Really? Didn’t he previously RSVP and know of the probable date conflict? The generous host would have surely welcomed the wife as well. This was a person prioritizing personal pleasures.
The bottom line is that none of the three truly wanted to give up their own agendas for that of the host. This pictured the religious leaders in Israel.
So the host says to invite the lower classes of people in the city – the poor, crippled, blind and lame. This had indeed been done and yet there was more room at the feast. These invitees would represent the nation of Israel.
Finally, the call is sent out to the far reaches of the countryside, the host desiring his house to be full. This predicted the mission that was to soon go out to the Gentiles and the nations. And again, as we see so frequently in the gospels (especially in Luke), there is an emphasis on the message of truth going out to all peoples in accordance with God’s heart for the lost.
So where are we in the story? Well, we’re the country bumpkins coming into the house near the time of the great feast beginning. And until it begins, we also are servants tasked with telling others of their invitation. Who can you tell today? No excuses!
Luke 14:16 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.’”