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.” Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “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.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ “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.’ “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “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. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14:15-24 NIV

Have you ever been invited to a lavish wedding? Remember the food, the flowers, the people dressed in their best clothes and the spirit of joy that pervades the whole occasion? The parable Jesus taught in Luke 14:15-24 has a similar setting. Except – the guests who had received their invitations, who had responded they would love to attend, then at the last minute gave lame excuses for why they could not attend. In Jesus’ parable the host is of course visibly upset with his invited guests’ last minute decision to snub him and his invitation. In this parable, God is the host, the Jewish nation are the invited guests, and the gentiles and sinners are the lame, the poor, and the blind who are invited to fill the banquet hall.

Would you want to get one of these last-minute invitations? Remember, this is a lavish banquet, a feast that everyone will be talking about and remembering for the rest of time. The feast Jesus is talking about will happen in heaven and it will include everyone who has accepted Jesus’ invitation to become a part of God’s family. Wealth, social status, physical abilities, skin color, nationality and gender will not matter at this banquet. The guest who says, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God,” Luke 14:15a, assumes all Jewish people will be at this feast. Jesus teaches in this parable that not all who are invited will actually want to attend.

How about you? Read these verses and understand that God is inviting you to his banquet feast.

“I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.” Hosea 2:23 NIV

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:12-13 NIV

“Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9b. NIV

Watch and listen to this video of “Come to the Table” by Sidewalk Prophets and think about its message.

By Grace Hunter

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