February 27, 2020 – Thursday
Luke 14:15-24 NKJV
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.’”
My plan was to bring you another few verses from Psalm 119, but tonight at Bible study we covered the verses above and our discussion was such that I got excited with the idea of sharing these verses and some of the discussion.
So first a bit of context for the verses. Jesus is sitting or reclining at a dinner table, likely a virtual banquet given by one of leaders of the Pharisees (see verse 1). Jesus had just finished speaking boldly warning those in attendance – primarily Pharisees – against their traditions, their pride, and their belief in a special place for them in the kingdom of God. Now one of those at the table possibly sought to break the tension following Jesus’ words and said Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God. According to David Guzik the man was speaking of the goodness and blessedness of the great banquet with the Messiah that was spoken of many times in the Old Testament, and is known in the New Testament as the marriage supper of the Lamb: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! (Revelation 19:9)
If he was seeking to break the tension, he was in for a surprise if you read Jesus’ words in verses 16-23 the rebukes to Pharisees just kept on coming. Jesus tells a parable of a man giving a great feast with a great many invitations which had been accepted. In Jesus’ time, while the date of a banquet would be known well in advance, the actual time would only be announced on the day of the banquet. Guzik quotes Barclay To accept the invitation beforehand and then to refuse it when the day came was a grave insult and adds By analogy, we can say that God has made it so all things are now ready for men to come and receive from Him. We come to God and find that He has been ready for us. (boldface in original) Thus all the excuses in the verses above are not well received!
As a result the man putting on the banquet told his servant to Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. So who were the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame? They would have been recognized as sinners or the children of sinners per current Jewish beliefs at the time, deserving of their condition. But Jesus was making a point, He had come to save sinners and all were sinners. In fact the parable goes on with the master telling his servant Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.
Jesus is making clear to the Pharisees present, sinners will be sharing in the feast in the kingdom of God, but will they be ready or will they make excuses not willing to admit they would be sharing the table with redeemed sinners. Especially when God is going to compel them (sinners) to come in. They are to be compelled by God’s love as all would eventually find out His love is so great His Son would pay the price for the sins of all mankind.
Now why did I get excited about these verses? Let’s look again at this one verse Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. It turns out that we have a member of our church and Bible study who was involved in doing just that. She and the team she was part of, World Mission Outreach (wmoutreach.org), in Costa Rica and Honduras out in the country away from the cities doing Billy Graham evangelical outreaches with and without electrical power and simply meeting people as they walked along the roads. And people got saved! There were 54 salvations and 17 recommitments with more to surely follow in a ripple effect from those as well. So at least 71 more will be joining us at the Great Feast with God!
A few of the surprising things that happened along those roads: They came upon an older man on an empty road driving to the top of a mountain who was in his words ‘the black sheep of the family’ – he got saved in the middle of the road and is now ‘a white sheep of the family.’ Meeting a transvestite who showed up on all three days of outreach in his town who wanted to wait for ‘some other day’ to get saved. However, they came across him and three of his friends/family members on their last night there – that was when he and those with him received salvation that night.
There is truly something to be said about permitting God to use us as his ambassadors to the lost. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5). As a result we bring the fragrance of Christ and the aroma of life to those who will accept His incredible loving mercy. For those who refuse His wonderful gift we are the aroma of death leading to death (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
Let us continue to share the Good News of Christ for there are many places still open at the feast table in the kingdom of God.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton