Gracious God, today I pray for listening ears, eager to hear Your Word, and then to obey.
Read Luke 14:12-34
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God” (Bob Pierce, Founder of World Vision).
Earlier Jesus healed a man and scolded the Pharisees (2-6). Now he publicly instructs the powerful host of the event (12-14). In so doing, he makes clear that radical inclusiveness is another core value in the Kingdom of God. He’s not talking about the politically correct inclusiveness of today. Instead, he’s challenging his listeners, then and now, to reach out to the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind (13,21). Jesus cared about the outcast, and so should we.
When it becomes clear, however, that the pious guests don’t really understand the Kingdom of God (15), Jesus tells another parable that must have made everyone squirm (16-24). The Pharisees assumed they would be in the front of the line at the resurrection of the righteous, but in fact they were in danger of missing the great banquet altogether (24).
What does this parable say to us today? The good news is that God has gone to great lengths to make us part of his Kingdom. He gave us his Word. He sent his Son. He surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses. We may never fully understand why, but the fact that he chose us to receive the Good News of salvation should be a continuing source of humility and thanksgiving. The bad news is that excuses for not responding to God make him angry (18-21), and there is a double edge to this. It’s clear that rejecting God’s invitation has devastating consequences, but imagine how the master would have reacted to a servant who said, “Come on, man, do we have to invite them?” Are we committed to making sure God’s “house will be full” today (23)? Or are we satisfied with a church that’s our own little club?
Who are the outcasts in your community or church? What could you do to show that God cares for them?
Ever-loving God, I thank You for Your amazing grace. Give me a heart of love for the marginalized and the disadvantaged I meet on life’s journey.
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