Mt. 7:21 π Mt. 7:23 π Mt. 13:15 π Mt. 13:22 π Mk. 8:23-25 π Lk. 14:1 π Lk. 14:2-6 π Lk. 14:7-11 π Lk. 14:12-14 π Lk. 14:15 π Lk. 14:16-24 π Lk. 14:18 π Lk. 14:19 π Lk. 14:20 π Lk. 14:21; 2nd π Lk. 14:23 π Lk. 14:24 π Lk. 16:13 π Jn. 7:17 π Jn. 7:38 π Jn. 8:33 π Jn. 9:3 π Jn. 13:35 π Acts 7:48 π Rom. 8:7 π Rom. 12:9-11 π 1 Cor. 3:12-17 π 1 Cor. 7:29-33 π 2 Cor. 6:17-18 π Phlp. 3:7-8 π 2 Ths. 2:11-12 π 1 Tim. 6:9 π 2 Tim. 2:19 π 1 Jn. 2:16 π 1 Jn. 4:8 π Rev. 2:6 π Rev. 2:15 π Rev. 18:4
When Jesus gave the parable of the great banquet, He was having dinner at the house of a highly placed, greatly respected “ruler of the Pharisees.” ( Lk. 14:1 ) This dinner took place on a Sabbath and Jesus confounded the lawyers and Pharisees present by healing a man with dropsy. ( Lk. 14:2-6 ) Jesus then speaks about exalting oneself and being humbled to “those who were invited” to this Sabbath meal and gathering when He noticed how they chose “the best places.” ( Lk. 14:7-11 ) Then He instructs them that whenever they gave a dinner or a supper, to not invite their friends, brothers, relations nor rich neighbors but rather to invite “the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind” because then God would repay them at “the resurrection of the just.” ( Lk. 14:12-14; top )
Either in an attempt to smooth things over to make points with the host or to derail the teaching from getting too intense and personal, “one of those who sat at the table with Him…said to Him, ‘Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!’” ( Lk. 14:15 ) This man , however, by pointing to the time when men will enjoy the eternal union with God under His direct rule, had raised the stakes of the conversation from merely human social gatherings. By implication, this man was saying that certainly this host, great man that he was, and all his wonderful guests (if for no other reason than that they were all Abraham’s children – Jn. 8:33 , etc.; top), would certainly be among those blessed guests at God’s feast. Whatever this man’s intentions were, Jesus then responds with the rather complex parable of the great banquet.
“Then He said him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still here is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’” ( Lk. 14:16-24; top )
It has been necessary to lay out all this groundwork so that we might see how well Jesus spoke prophetically and spiritually. The depth of this parable could not be delivered in such a simple, straightforward manner except it were revealed by God. There are some who see this as a veiled allusion to the gospel going out to the Gentiles (those in “the highways and hedges” or country roads) – and the parable can certainly be understood in that light – but those who think this is only about that have overlooked many things. Let us begin at the end where the mast (who represents God) tells his servant “Go out into the highways and country roads and compel [urge, persuade] them to come in, that my house may be filled.” ( Lk. 14:23; top )
It is to be noticed that Jesus chose the word “house” and did not choose the word that has been poorly rendered “church” in English. The word “house” here is oikos  and refers to the household or family (close, adopted, extended or even hired) members of one’s house. Jesus did not leave open even the possibility that He meant “church” as it is routinely practiced in today’s apostasy. In fact, this particular layer of meaning of this parable points to the time when those who hunger for truth and righteousness would flee the abominations of men’s traditions and practices and would then need to be compelled, urged and persuaded to rejoin themselves to God’s family. Let us carefully note from this very parable what that does and does not mean.
- Those who are more interested in their own priorities (those who “bought a field” – Lk. 14:18 ) than they are interested in the kingdom of God must reorder their priorities. Seeking the will of God – whether that means life or death, joy or pain and suffering, peace or persecution or relative ease or meager, laborious toil – is the only means to entering and remaining in God’s kingdom ( Mt. 7:21 ) and it is the only way to recognizing the source of the teachings we hear. ( Jn. 7:17 ) Those who intend to be in His kingdom must adhere to His priorities. ( 2 Tim. 2:19; top )
- The wealthy (those who can afford “five yoke of oxen” – most farmers then could only afford one or at the most two yoke of oxen – Lk. 14:19 ) are not necessarily excluded from the kingdom of God but these must recognize the opposing natures of mammon and God ( Lk. 16:13 , etc.), the spiritually lethal nature of desiring to be wealthy ( 1 Tim. 6:9 ) and the ensnaring nature of possessions that can choke out the life of Christ within. ( Mt. 13:22 , etc.; top) The wealthy must take care that the gospel they bring to the table isn’t a false “gospel” mutated by the false god mammon.
- Even the married (those who have “married a wife” – Lk. 14:20 ) must take care that their spouse (who indeed places many demands on one’s life) does not draw them away from the will of God. (see 1 Cor. 7:29-33 ) Anyone who allows their spouse to influence them or the people of Christ around them away from the will of God for all involved will pay a high price on judgment day. ( 1 Cor. 3:12-17; top )
- The poor ( Lk. 14:21; top ) are those who, in their pursuit of godliness and the will of God, simply have less than enough or less than their wealthy brothers in Christ. Being poor is no more a sign of sinfulness or of God’s judgment than is wealth a sign of God’s blessings. Poverty is simply the opportunity for those with wealth or abundance to lavish in physical, material ways the love of God on those who suffer some lack. The poor do not need (nor often want!) to be raised to the lifestyle standards of the wealthy but they do need to have enough to do God’s will for their lives. May God be merciful to the wealthy man whose hardened heart finds ways to excuse himself from helping the poor pursue the will of God for their lives!
- The maimed (those who suffer from some physical limitation, though by implication mental, emotional and even spiritual limitations could also be included – Lk. 14:21; top ) are, like the poor, entitled to receive (though never free to demand!) from those whom God has blessed with abundance whatever they need to pursue God’s will for their lives. (Note well the checks and balances built in here as well as the multiple opportunities, not for vicarious charity, but for genuine, humble interaction and true unity and unanimity!)
- The blind (not those who cannot see because they refuse to see and turn and be healed – Mt. 13:15 - but those who do not yet see because the day of the revealing of the glory of God in their lives has not yet come – Jn. 9:3 - or has not yet come in its fullness. – Mk. 8:23-25; top ) are supposed to be helped – if nothing else, they need led by the hand or brought into the light of truth and understanding. Spiritual blindness, if not perpetuated by stubborn and willful resistance and rebellion against God or proud and haughty refusal to confront self in all its deep-seated wickedness, is quite curable. All that is required is that one submit to the touch of the Master’s hand.
- The lame (those who require assistance to simply go from place to place) are also entitled to receive (but again never free to demand) physical assistance (from those who are able to give it) in their pursuit of God’s will. This is not to be merely a duty placed upon the able-bodied but it is to be a labor of divine love that reflects the love God has bestowed on the able-bodied.
With this “cast of characters” in view, let us solemnly examine the master’s final declaration: “None of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.” ( Lk. 14:24 ) This is where Jesus says to the many who speak of His Lordship (calling Him, “Lord, Lord,”) “Depart from Me – I never knew you.” ( Mt. 7:23; top ) These invitees did not submit in totality during their life and He is not now and will not on the last day be fooled by their words. These invitees, in complete rejection of all that the Middle Eastern culture regarded as polite and proper, after accepting the invitation and then at the last minute offering lame excuses and “apologies,” these rejected the host’s invitation, and finding all manner of things to be more important to them. When we recall that this feast dinner represents the time when some men will enjoy the eternal union with God under His direct reign, this vow to exclude the invitee’s on the basis of their preferred priorities takes on an ominous chill – or at least it should. This is why Paul writes, “And for this reason God will send them [those who constitute the apostasy, the great falling away, especially the “church”] strong delusion, that they should believe the lie [whatever lie they prefer], that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ( 2 Ths. 2:11-12; top ) Those who see no need whatsoever to examine their own lives on this score are those most likely already given over to strong delusion! Those who believe themselves already cured see no reason to all on the Doctor. Strong delusion indeed!
How do we compel those who have fled the “church” (that thing men deceitfully called “the house of God” – Acts 7:48 , also see Rev. 18:4 , 2 Cor. 6:17-18; top ) to come back to the real house of God? In a word - family. In a culture characterized by dysfunctional families – most of whom blindly refuse to see themselves as part of the dysfunctionality but who can clearly see it in others - leading others into God’s family is exceedingly difficult. As one brother said it so well, “None of us can impart to others what we fail to posses ourselves through Jesus Christ.”
Perhaps the most deep-seated attitude that must be crucified is the “me” and “mine” mentality that is deeply engrained in almost every member of an affluent culture. Our liberty from or bondage to this mentality is most clearly displayed when we have the opportunity to selflessly aid the poor, the maimed, the blind and the lame as they pursue the will of God for their lives. If we can aid them by expending our time, energy and resources with no strings attached and with no desire or requirement for public (or private) credit for our actions, we are free (at least for the moment) of this self-centered, “me” and “mine” mentality. But if we must control how our “gifts” are used or we can only “aid” those people whom we ourselves perceive as “doing the Lord’s work” in the way we think it ought to be done, we are still entrapped in the snares of our own self-centered lusts of the flesh.
Family is best practiced in love. Dysfunctionality enters in where one family member practices selfishness – especially when that member has deluded himself (or has been deceived by the demonic) to believe that he is not really being selfish or self-centered or haughty or arrogant, etc. Only where God is truly the Father and Christ is the true Head and the will of God is every individual’s highest priority in life will there be the divine Family that God intended. Where there is strife, division, sectarianism (denominationalism), lording over (Nicolaitanism – Rev. 2:6 , 15; top ) and deception, this is not Christ and God’s Family – this is only one more version of man’s and the devil’s “church.” Run, do not walk to the nearest exit!
Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ( Jn. 13:35; top ) The true gospel of Christ is a gospel of love – not a gospel of selfishness nor a gospel of greed nor a gospel of hate and violence nor a gospel of arrogant superiority over others nor a gospel of lies and deceptions. If we would compel anyone – the worst, raw “pagan heathen or hardened “church” refugee alike – to return to the real house of the Lord, we must first be the real house of the real God who is love ( 1 Jn. 4:8 ) where genuine, unfeigned love pours forth from our lives like rivers of living water. ( Rom. 12:9-11 , etc., Jn. 7:38; top ) When our love is genuine, sincere and divinely guided, we will see that it is only natural that those whom the Father has called will be persuaded to practice Family relations with us. But when our “Christianity” is tainted by the flesh in any manner, we ought not be surprised that the “church” refugees remain as aloof from us as they do from the apostate “church.” After all, if our “love” is merely some hypocritical, self-focused need to be something better than our neighbors (or our parents), then indeed we are only yet another carnal (or even demonized) version of “church.”
The man who had hosted the original Sabbath feast and gathering and his guests, those Pharisees and teachers who re.ied on their lineage with Abraham and their outward acts of obedience to Moses’ law (as they understood it), were confident they were the blessed ones who would eat bread in the coming kingdom of God. But Jesus came and told them that much more than this was required. In effect, Jesus was telling them that God had and would have no grandchildren – only sons were acceptable in His kingdom. And that any son who would not obey the Father but took interest in things contrary to and actually antagonistic to the interests of the Father’s kingdom was not a true son. Only true sons who had experienced the second new birth from above and who then pressed on in obedience to attain to the full measure of the likeness of the oldest brother, Christ Jesus, would be allowed to remain in God’s celebration “feast.”
It doesn’t matter what one was or did before entering into this sonship but continued disloyalty to the Family and to the Father, though forgivable to those who turn back to the Father in humble repentance, is still unacceptable. Those who had or brought much of themselves (their own personalities, talents, abilities or possessions) or of this world into their practice of being God’s sons are the ones who have the most to jettison and will have the hardest time “counting it all as dung.” ( Phlp. 3:7-8 ) Only those who can recognize their human failings, limitations, inadequacies, handicaps and even carnal enmity against God ( Rom. 8:7 ) can go on to be true mature sons of God. Those who build their own kingdoms and empires, even when done in the name of Christ and God, are only the enemies of God. There is only one Father and one Family – all else is mere worldly “church” built on the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life ( 1 Jn. 2:16; top ) practiced in the name of Christ and God.
Let he who has ears hear.
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