The Great Banquet | Luke 14:15-24

The Great Banquet | Luke 14:15-24

I am sure that you have been invited to a couple of banquets at some time or the other. People count the invitation as a privilege and make it a priority to attend the great banquet. Do you know that God is inviting into his Kingdom? God’s invitation for mankind into his Kingdom is picturized as the great banquet in the Bible.

The Great Banquet

Luke 14:15-24

15When 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.” 16Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17At 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 yokes 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. 24I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

In Luke 14, Luke beautifully brings out the principle of God’s Kingdom. In this passage, Jesus is talking about the resurrection of the dead and the coming of God’s kingdom in this world.

Well, it is a Sabbath day. Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee. Some Pharisees were present and they wanted to trick Jesus into doing some healing on the sabbath, and thereby accusing him of breaking the law. There was a man who was suffering from swelling in his body. Probably he had some problems with his kidneys or water retention in his body. Jesus healed the man.

Knowing that the Pharisees were thinking in their mind to accuse Jesus, Jesus asked them two questions: Firstly, if they had an ox that fell into a well, they’d pull it out on a Sabbath because it meant money. Secondly, if they had a son that fell into a ditch, they’d pull him out because of love. The Pharisees really were hypocrites. They forced others to keep the sabbath but when it came to their own life, they would even break the sabbath. Jesus is giving us the first key about His kingdom.

Hypocrites Will Not Enter The Kingdom Of God

Remember, He is invited for lunch and He saw that the guests picked special places of honor. Jesus then spoke a parable about humility. He based his story on a wedding feast. The Pharisees loved places of honor at any feast. Jesus told them that when they are invited they must not take the place of honor. If someone more distinguished than them come, the host will take away that seat. Jesus said to take the lowest seat so that when the host comes, they will elevate them to a better honorable place.

Luke 14:11

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Proud Will Not Enter The Kingdom Of God

Then Jesus talks to the host about how he has to host a lunch or dinner. Usually, people invite their friends, brothers, relatives, or rich neighbors for a meal. See what Jesus says:

Luke 14:13-14

13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Kingdom People Are Marked With Generosity

See the context of this chapter: The resurrection of the righteous is the context of this chapter.

Now I want you to understand the Jewish expectation resurrection and the Kingdom of God. The Jews expected a Messiah to come and resurrect the dead. The Messiah will forgive sins. The Messiah is expected to redeem the earth to its original beauty. Finally, they expected their Messiah to reign as a political power, defeating their enemies and bringing peace upon the earth.

What did Jesus do? The ministry of Jesus in Galilee begins with the announcement of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15)

Kingdom Conflict - Seers See Ministries

The Kingdom of God has already been inaugurated in the ministry of Jesus Christ. The miracles and the resurrection that Jesus did was a foretaste of the fullness of the kingdom which will be established at his second coming. So the Kingdom of God is already here. How does one enter the kingdom? Repent and believe the good news.

The Jewish expectation of the kingdom of God will be realized at the second coming of Jesus Christ. Then, there will be the resurrection and the redemption of everything. In the meantime, the invitation is open for everyone to enter the Kingdom of God.

Coming back, the Jews picturized the coming Kingdom of God as the joy of a great banquet. They saw it as a celebration and a banquet.

Isaiah 25:6-8

6On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.

See the phrases used for the kingdom: There will be a resurrection. A celebration is a part of it. God will wipe away every tear. He will reign over all nations.

Now, coming back to Luke 14. Jesus is having this lunch with the Pharisees. Jesus speaks two parables regarding the great banquet. Suddenly, one of the Pharisees related this to the blessings in the feast in the Kingdom of God.

Luke 14:15

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.”

This is a false affirmation that the Jews were guaranteed to be there in the Kingdom of God. They were confident that they would be in the kingdom because of their Abrahamic ancestry and by their adherence to the tradition. Even today there are people who say, “I am born in this family. I do good works and I will be in God’s kingdom. Anybody who lives under some kind of misguided assumption that they’re headed for heaven needs to know that this is not true from this parable. To be in God’s kingdom, one needs to respond to God’s invitation. Then Jesus said another parable.

The Parable Of the Great Banquet Of The Kingdom Of God

Invitation. Excuses. Inclusion. Exclusion.

1. Invitation

Luke 14:16

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.

See the words, “great banquet” and “many guests.” This is a huge event. This is a very wealthy man. He has dinner in mind that will be a grand event. He invites a large number of people.

The invitation would come in a very personal way. It was like any wedding invitation today. Today how do we invite someone for a wedding? We tell them when, where, and at what time the event is. In the ancient world, it wasn’t like that. The marriage would be some time in the future. So there were always two invitations. The first invitation identified you as one who is being invited as an honored guest. Then you waited to get the second invitation when the banquet was ready. See

Luke 14:17

At the time of the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

So we have the first invitation confirming the guests and the second invitation when everything was ready. The point is everybody accepted the first invitation. Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and the Jews and especially the Pharisees loved to be at banquets. They would never miss such a banquet with lots of honor. But when the final invitation comes something unusual happens.

Luke 14:18

But they all alike began to make excuses.

2. Excuses

They all came up with excuses. Now the Pharisees at the lunch are saying, this is ridiculous, nobody would do that. This kind of rude rejection for a great banquet would not happen. Some ancient tradition says when you do not go for an invitation for a feast it is a declaration of war. This is a refusal of friendship.

Here are three sample excuses. The first excuse:

Luke 14:18

The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

This is absurd. Nobody would do that. It’ is a lame excuse.

Second excuse:

Luke 14:19

Another said, ‘I have just bought five yokes of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

Third excuse:

Luke 18:20

Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

I would have come had I been single, but you understand I’m now married.

There were some provisions in the Old Testament law for the newly married. Deuteronomy 24 said that a newly married person can get leave for a year from military service and from long business trips. But a banquet? Nobody would make an excuse like that.

None of these make any excuse at all. We have a problem now. We have a massive banquet prepared and nobody to come.

So the slave comes back and reports to his master these excuses. None of them are going to come. The head of the household becomes angry. This is a tremendous effort. A great act of generosity and kindness is returned with indifference and disdain. That leads us to the inclusion.

3. Inclusion

Luke 14:21

“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.’

The preparations are made. The celebration will go on. We won’t cancel this event. Every seat will be filled, but it’s going to be filled by the most unlikely people.

Jesus had already told them in this chapter what they must do:

Luke 14:13-14

13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

See the inclusion. Remember, the crippled isn’t allowed in the OT worship. Here Jesus is including the crippled and deformed ones too. Who are the crippled? They are the outcasts, the tax collectors and sinners. All are invited. Now go to the crippled, the blind, the lame and go the poor sections of town and bring them in.

Neither of these would happen in Jewish society. The rich would not turn down an invitation and the poor or poor in spirit would never ever be invited. That is the attitude that Jesus wants people to attain. God wants everyone to receive this invitation and everyone to accept the invitation.

Even the poor is invited.

Luke 14:22

“Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

It’s a very big place, a very big dinner. That is the Kingdom of God.

Luke 14:23

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.

Bring the ones from the country lanes also. Those people don’t even have houses inside the city. They live outside the city. They’re scattered farther and you’re going to have to compel them to come in for the great banquet. There is room for people who are even far away.

Then the exclusion

4. Exclusion

Luke 14:24

I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.

The story has all along been in the third person. A man, giving a dinner, he sent his slave, and the people made excuses. It’s all in the third person. But all of a sudden in verse 24, we move into the first and second person. This is no longer the story. This is the application: “For I tell you.” And now he’s pointing the story at his audience, the Pharisees. You will be excluded from the heavenly banquet. This means those who reject the invitation will not be in the kingdom of God.

Jesus is pointing at the kingdom of God. He is talking about the heavenly celebration, salvation, eternal kingdom, resurrection, life. Jesus says the Jews will not get to taste the banquet because the rejected the invitation.

Application:

The host is God.

The invitation host, the rich man is God. God was giving a big dinner, a great banquet. It is salvation. It is the eternal kingdom. This is the resurrection of the righteous. The heavenly celebration at the return of Christ. It is picturized as the great banquet in glory.

The First invitees are the Jews.

God invited the Jews first through the prophets and finally through Jesus Christ. They all said yes. But, they had killed the prophets and stoned the divine messengers, Luke 12:34. They were waiting for the Messiah. But when Messiah, Jesus came, they rejected him. They all began to make excuses. God the host was angry and God judged them. In AD 70 the temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. That was the end of the Jewish religious and sacrificial system.

The Second Invitees are the Outcasts of the Jewish religion.

Go into the streets and lanes of the city and bring the poor. They were few Jewish people who believed in Jesus. Sinners and tax collectors were included in this list. Remember, Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. But the slave comes back and says to the master that there is still room for more people.

The third invitees are the gentiles.

So the masters said, “Go over to the countryside and bring more people.” This indicates Gentiles. Get outside of the confines of Judaism. This is the great commission. You are to compel them to come in for the banquet.

Finally, the exclusion:

Those who reject the invitation of the master will not be allowed into the banquet. Those who reject the invitation of Jesus will be cast out of the Kingdom of God.

Anyone who rejects Jesus Christ will never experience heaven. Those who reject Jesus Christ will never experience the celebration God has prepared in heaven for those that love His Son. And the gospel is God’s invitation now.

Conclusion:

Today the invitation to the banquet is open to you. God is calling you to be a part of His Kingdom. Do not give any excuses. Excuses will take you out of the kingdom. The three excuses were: Field, oxen, and family. What is the excuse that is keeping you away from the kingdom? The Kingdom of God must be your first priority. Everything else comes next.

God will punish you if you do not respond to the invitation.

2 Thessalonians 1:8-10

8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you because you believed our testimony to you.

If you have never responded to this invitation, God is calling you today. The invitation is open. Give your life to Jesus Christ and you will be in the group of the elect. If you are already a part of the invited, God needs you to respond to that invitation every day by obeying Him and having Him as the Lord of your life. Come out of your slumber. Wake up and prioritize the kingdom of God.

Life Application Points :

Hypocrites Will Not Enter The Kingdom Of God

The Proud Will Not Enter The Kingdom Of God

Generosity Is One Of The Kingdom Virtues

Everyone Is Invited To The Kingdom Of God

Rejection Means The Invitation Goes To Others

John 3:36

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Those who are excluded from the Kingdom of God is not because God excluded them, but they excluded themselves. They rejected the invitation to the great banquet.

The Kingdom Of God Will Come Regardless Of Your Response

The celebration comes regardless of the invitees’ response. The celebration will happen at the appointed time. Jesus Christ will come. Those who respond to him by accepting the invitation now will be included in the great banquet. Now is the time to respond.

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