LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke
PART 4 - JESUS' MINISTRY DURING HIS JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM (Luke 9:51 - 19:27)
19. Christ at a Pharisee's House (Luke 14:1-24)
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”
Have you ever received an invitation to a feast from important people in your town? He who spoke in Jesus’ presence during the feast thought that the invitation to heaven’s feast was secure for him. But Jesus explained to the proud Pharisee that not everyone invited for many obstacles stand in the way of choosing to have fellowship with God. All Jews were invited, but only a few of them came to Jesus, and consequently the kingdom of heaven was given to the Gentiles.
In Christ’s parable, we read about four different invitations: First, the master of the house announced to everyone that he would give a great supper, and suggested to many that they should not forget the date of this feast. As such Christ invites you with many other people to prepare to become the guest of God.
Second, a servant was directed to those invited, when meat was prepared, and the table was set with spices, kebab, cooked food, fruits, sweets, and all delicious food. Here we read the well-known statement: “Come, for all things are now ready.” It was not necessary for the guests to bring any food with them, for the host had prepared every thing in abundance. This picture indicates the sacrifice of Christ on the cross who finished the salvation of the whole world. The writers of the gospel tell you to come, for all things are now ready. It is not necessary to bring with you any of your own works, prayers, rites, fasting, or excuses, to become worthy of entering into the fellowship of God. The Lord has fulfilled all requirements which qualify you to enter into his fellowship. Then come, for all things are now ready. This is the gist of the gospel, and the image of unconditional mercy.
How strange! All those who were invited did not come, but made superficial excuses. They were all busy with themselves, and therefore despised, neglected, and pretended to have forgotten the Lord’s invitation. They, being full, satisfied and self-conceited rudely refused the Lord’s invitation. The first loved his riches and possessions, and sought insurance of his future. The second desired to buy strong oxen to work hard to produce good, plentiful crop, and great returns. The third fell in love. He loved himself in his lusts, and had no time for God and men. In these three, we see the attractive temptations, which are about to carry us away in their current. Every one longs for possessions, riches, social security, and high esteem. Many people long to have a brand-new car with a powerful engine to drive it speedily and crazily that people may applaud. In this way, the world is becoming more and more ugly, absorbed in lust and movies, heedless and dissolute. How astonishing! No one spends time with his Lord, and they all know in their innermost beings something about God’s invitation. They do not refuse it, but at the critical moment, when the Lord invites them to meet him and leave their trivialities, they turn away, and pay no attention to him, considering money, success, and passion are more important. Such a decision suggests disrespect for God. As a result of refusing his fellowship, the Lord in his wrath will definitely refuse every guest who heard God’s invitation and did not respond to it.
The host refused those who turned away from him indifferently, and instead invited the despised poor to his great supper. So be careful! The third time he invited the poor, the sick, blind, and weak who are unable to walk. The master’s servant carried the poor, helped them to reach the palace, carpeted the floor for them, and placed them on soft beds that they might find rest. The Lord preferred the lowly to the notable. He valued them highly because they obeyed his invitation. They were probably ashamed of entering into the light and glory, but the servants encouraged them to enter with kind words. This makes clear to us that those who will experience and join God’s fellowship are not the teachers of the law, the self-righteous, the respected, the clever, and the great, but the disqualified, the despised, the sinful, and those who are unable to wear the garment of salvation. To which group do you belong?
God’s house is spacious. The fourth time, the master invited strangers, the unclean, and passers-by to share his joy. If the host at this feast had been living in our time, he would have sent cars, planes, and vessels to bring all those who long for this global feast. But who will accept this invitation? Every one may enter without condition, without price, and without effort, to eat and enjoy this meal. As such God sends a general invitation to every single person to enter into his kingdom. The Lord commanded his messengers to convince the self-willed and the doubtful, and drag them if possible, for God himself is waiting for them. It is to be noted here that the aim of our hope is not food and drink, but glorious fellowship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The gospel tells you that all things are now ready. So come on!
PRAYER: We worship you Father, for you have perfected our salvation through the death of your Son, and invited us through the word of your gospel to participate in the glorious Lord’s Supper that we may be strengthened with the bread of life, and purified with the blood of Christ. We glorify your name, thank you for your invitation, and ask you to tell our neighbors and relatives to come to you.
QUESTION 98: What was the strange problem about the divine banquet?