Summary: The invitation is still open but still being ignored by many who think they’re going anyway.
Are you going to the party? Luke 14:15-24
I heard about a rabbit and a snake meeting in the forest. The rabbit said, "We don’t know how we look. Why don’t we describe each other to the other so we’ll know how we look?" The snake said, "Good idea. You’ve got a pink nose, long ears, and a fluffy little tail." The rabbit liked that, and he said, "I’m a rabbit! I’m a rabbit! I’m a rabbit!" The snake said, "Okay, you describe me."
The rabbit said, "Well, you have a forked tongue, shifty eyes, and diamonds all over you." The snake said, "Oh no, I’m a televangelist."
“And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. 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 hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
Back in verse 1 we see the setting of the parable. It’s the Sabbath day and Jesus is having dinner at the home of a wealthy Pharisee. The guests seated around the table we assume are the Pharisee’s family, friends and rich neighbors. It seems from the wording of verse 1, “they watched Him” seems to imply that the reason they invited Jesus wasn’t to determine whether or not He was who He claimed to be but they were trying to find a reason to condemn Him. And rather than sitting around and waiting for their rejection Jesus uses the opportunity to point out how they were inconsistent, self-centered and totally unworthy of a place in God’s kingdom.
First, He healed a man with dropsy and then challenged their hypocrisy. Basically, He said, you people think it’s wrong to do something for someone else on the Sabbath but you certainly don’t mind doing things for yourself. And then He pointed out how they had more compassion on an injured animal than they had with a sick neighbor. In other words, He pointed out how they were totally inconsistent.
And that still happens today. I remember when we lived in Guelph and Sunday shopping was the hot topic of the day. As a matter of fact, all the Baptists would gather at the Swiss Chalet every Sunday and discuss how wrong it was. And I often wondered as I ate my chicken, what’s the difference between buying groceries in a store or buying dinner at a restaurant?
Then second, Jesus does the unspeakable when He started criticizing the manners of the guests. He pointed out how each one of them had jockeyed for the best seats around the table and then He told the host that he shouldn’t have invited any of them anyway. And then He told them that the purpose of extending hospitality was to share your resources with others and not just to make sure you’ll be invited to every party in town. He says, in verse 14, “For thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” That must have caused some tension!
Many, many years ago I was at a wedding rehearsal dinner at a home in West Toronto. It was a big buffet spread and everyone from both families of the couple who were getting married and a lot of prominent guests and everyone was dressed up and looking good. I mean, this was really hoity-toity.
The meal was held in a very large home and people were seated all around this room and the coffee pots and desert were set up in a side room. Well, everyone had finished eating and were having desert and I decided to go for another cup of coffee and as I entered this room I was joined by an obviously well-to-do lady in her mid-fifties. I was standing beside her waiting to get to the coffee pot when she let out a belch that would make any trucker proud. And then the whole room turned and looked at me.