THE BIG INVITE
Lord, we have enthusiastically accepted Your invitation.
Read LUKE 14:12–24
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
The Parable of the Great Banquet
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.’”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“God invites. We decline. And because of that single foolhardy decision we spend the rest of our lives ‘declining.’” (Craig D. Lounsbrough)
After the challenge about service being more important than status, Jesus tells the host not to be exclusive about who he invites to the banquet – God’s kingdom is open to everyone. The rule is simple – if we give to gain a reward for our giving we will receive no reward, but if we give with no thought of reward, then our heavenly reward is certain. One way to ensure this is to invite or give to people who will never be able to repay us.
Jesus then changes the focus and tells a story about a great feast with many invitees who make excuses for not attending. Ultimately, this story is about the failure of the Jewish people to take the call and ministry of Jesus seriously, so that God must include Gentiles to bring in his kingdom. Perhaps today the message is also about being responsive to God’s invitations with no excuses. We may delay responding to God’s invitation or resist altogether – perhaps it’s our workload, family responsibilities, financial reasons, or simply bad timing.
It is significant that verses 1–24 focus upon feasts and banquets. Jesus often uses meals to illustrate God’s kingdom, where each person has a place at the table and enjoys the company of all the others. A meal becomes a feast when all feel welcome and each enjoys the food as an equal alongside the others. God is determined that his banqueting house be full. He compels us to exclude nobody but also to ensure that we ourselves respond to his invitation.
Are you making excuses to avoid responding to God’s call? God’s invitation is the most important event in your life, no matter how inconveniently it may be timed. Respond with a wholehearted “yes” today!
Lord, we rejoice over the thought that no human on earth is excluded from partaking of the great supper You have invited us to enjoy.
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