TO CHEW ON: "'But they all, with one accord, began to make excuses…'" Luke 14:18
Have you ever made a meal for guests who never showed up? I have. I can understand the strong feelings of the man in Jesus' parable.
Apparently the custom at that time was to invite guests beforehand and then send notice that the meal was ready. So we can surmise that all these no-shows had previously said "Yes" to the host's invitation. But now that the meal was ready, it was inconvenient for each to come. One by one they gave their trivial excuses about why they wouldn't be there.
Of course the point of Jesus' parable wasn't to comment on social rudeness but to teach a spiritual lesson. My Bible commenter explains:
"Israel had accepted God's invitation to the kingdom given through the prophets. The arrival of Jesus signals the arrival of the kingdom, but in its rejection of Him, the nation is declining God's offer of grace. However, God's purpose will not be thwarted, so He will send His gracious invitation to the Gentiles" - J. Lyle Story, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1417.
Paul writes about this inclusion of the Gentiles in Romans 9-11. He quotes Hosea as proof that the Gentiles are in on God's invitation:
"'I will call them My people who were not My people
and her beloved who was not beloved …
There they shall be called sons of the living God - Romans 9:25,26, quoting Hosea 2:3 & 1:10.
And he later makes this sweeping statement:
"For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" - Romans 10:13 quoting Joel 2:32.
So the invitation to God's salvation banquet is meant for all of us. In His parable Jesus makes a point of naming who will be invited to replace those excuse-makers: the rejects of the city—the poor, maimed, lame and blind—and when there is still more room, those non-citizens from the "highways and hedges," the Gentiles.
Jesus' invitation to come to Him is still open to all. If you haven't accepted it, do it today and be one of those who fill up His house, not one of whom the host says: "'None of those … shall taste my supper.'"
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this invitation to Your banquet of grace. May all of us find ourselves at that heavenly celebration. Amen.
MORE: Bible Feasts:
- Wisdom's feast: Proverbs 9:2.
- God's international feast - Isaiah 25:6.
- Jesus' parable feasts - Matthew 22:4; Luke 14:16 (our reading).
- Jesus' last supper with His disciples - Mark 14:22.
- Marriage Supper of the Lamb - Revelation 19:9.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.