Summary: The story begins with a great supper prepared, and many guests are invited. It is agreed by all that this represents God's invitation to enter His kingdom.
An ancient Eastern story tells about a prince who fell in love with a very beautiful girl. All of the people rejoiced
to see them united in marriage. The whole life of the prince revolved around this girl of rare beauty, but one day
she sickened and died. So great was his grief that he became ill and lingered between life and death, but finally he
recovered. He determined to build a perfect memorial to express the great love he had for his wife. He sent
craftsman over all the world to find the best pieces of marble. On a wide plain surrounded by trees he built in its
center the most magnificent shrine his people had ever seen. Almost all of the working hours of his day he spent
outside this beautiful tomb thinking of his great love.
After some time passed he began to feel he had not done enough to express his love, and so around the tomb
he erected a beautiful shell of matching marble. People came and admired it, and they joined the prince in his
expression of grief at the loss of such a great love. Soon even the shell became even inadequate, and so over the
tomb and the shell he began construction of a magnificent circle temple. It took years and millions of dollars, and
the skill of the best craftsman to complete it. One day when it was finished the prince sat for days gazing at it.
People came from foreign lands to see this most beautiful expression of love on the earth.
The prince was still filled with despair, for he felt he had not done enough. He resolved that over the tomb,
shell and temple he would build the most marvelous building the world had ever seen. He impoverished himself,
and the vast resources he had were not enough to bring the most beautiful things he wanted to put into this
structure. At last when the prince was old the building was completed. The old prince climbed the high tower to
admire this memorial of unbelievable beauty. As he looked down he spied the tomb which held the beautiful girl
he had loved. It didn't fit into the total picture. It was a plot that marred the beauty of it all. In a fit of anger that
anything should be allowed to mar the beauty of his memorial, he sent his servants to remove that thing.
It is only a story, and we know that no man is such a fool that he would sacrifice the center of his life for the
sake of its fringes. We all know that no one gives up the essential for the trivial. Certainly nobody would ignore
the eternal to indulge in the temporal. Who would even dare to suggest it? Who would even dare to claim that intelligent creatures could be so blind that they would refuse glory and remain in gloom, or that they would trample on heaven and travel to hell.
Jesus not only dared to claim the truth of this folly, but He accused those who were
doing it right to their face. He did it to those Pharisees who had build such an elaborate religion with beautiful
ceremonies and volumes of pious wisdom, but left no room for the Messiah. Christ did not fit into their system.
He marred their perfect religion, and so they, like the foolish old prince, had that which was of central importance
removed in order to preserve their structure they considered of such beauty.
Who can cease to wonder at the folly of it all? No wonder Jesus wept over Jerusalem. As we look at his
parable of the great supper we begin to suspect that Jesus must continue to weep over the cities of the world, for
the folly He portrays here is as up to date as the calendar. We want to consider it in 3 sections: The expression of
God's invitation, the excuses for rejecting God's invitation, and the extension of God's invitation.
I. THE EXPRESSION OF GOD'S INVITATION. v. 16-17
Jesus was at the home of one of the chief Pharisees eating supper. In His conversation He spoke of the
resurrection of the just, and just like a Pharisee one of them thought that it was him and said, "Blessed is he that
shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." Jesus never did like pious prattle, or what William Taylor calls "Holy
humbug." He rebukes him by telling a story that says that he will be blessed who eats in the kingdom of God, but
are you sure you will be there? Let me tell you a story that shows how little some people really value in their heart
what they pretend to hold so highly with their tongue.