Summary: There are many excuses we can offer for not accepting the invitation to come to the banquet which God has prepared, but none of our excuses are valid because Jesus deals with them all.

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Friends in the Lord,

One thing you can guarantee when you have Jesus over to your place for dinner is that the table conversation will always be very interesting. Which is exactly what is happening in our text. But the teachings of Jesus aren’t recorded just because they are “interesting”. The teachings of Jesus are recorded because they tell us something important about the sort of God we have. That’s what parables are:- stories … often based on real life … which have a hidden message about who God is ... what God is doing … and how we are to respond.

I’ll say that again … parables are stories with a hidden message about who God … what God is doing … and how we respond. We have to keep this in mind otherwise we are going to apply the parables in the wrong way. You see, when we first look at this parable we can quickly find many questions to ask about it.

• Why didn’t any of the original guests come to the banquet?

• Aren’t they being a little rude?

• I know the master of the house is angry at the rejection of the original guests but why would he bother inviting all these poor, cripple, lame and blind strangers into his house?

After many questions like this we can easily turn the parable into a "Days of our Lives" report about a man who had a very interesting banquet. But that is not the point is it. The point is to show us something about … what? … who God is and what God has done for us.

So, as we look at this parable, what are we being told about God? Well we are being shown that God is like the host who was preparing a great banquet and who invited many guests. God wants to have some sort of celebration with His people. That celebration will be like a banquet. And God’s banquet has taken much preparation to put into place. And celebration, joy, laughing, excitement, praise and happiness will be found at this banquet. And invitations have been issued to come to God’s banquet. It’s a special thing to get an invitation to such to this banquet. And, even though the Pharisees were often at odds with Jesus, they had to agree with Jesus about the feast with God. One of those dining with Jesus said, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God” (verse 15).

To be blessed is to be happy, thankful, and full of praise. To be blessed is about having peace even in the midst of chaos. Jesus knew it. The people who were eating with Jesus also knew it. It’s a blessed thing to have a close relationship with God. And this parable makes it clear that God wants us to be with Him and God is looking forward to that time. That’s an important truth we learn about who God is. God wants us to be with Him and God is looking forward to that time. So often, when people think about God, they start with a negative picture.

Often people start by picturing God as a God who quickly punishes people when they do wrong. They have a picture of this bald, stern God sitting behind the bench with the gavel in His hand always at the ready to pronounce people guilty.

Others see God as One who is always making demands – like a slave driver who continually pushes the slaves even though they are exhausted … and when they falter He has the whip at the ready to encourage them along.

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