Summary: A message to believers about the value of every person, and message to sinners of hope and acceptance in Jesus Christ.
All societies have their values — who is honored, who is looked up to, who is invited to great events. All week long I’ve heard on Detroit radio about an event tomorrow night that is going to feature “40 celebrities on stage,” and it sounds from the promotional material as if everybody who’s somebody in Detroit is going to be at Fox Theatre tomorrow night for a star-studded evening with people who matter.
Former Vice President Dan Quayle remembered a woman at a social event in Washington remarking, “Did you ever think you’d be around so many important people?” She expected him to be awed at the importance of the people around him.
In today’s passage, Jesus had been invited to a dinner with “people who mattered.” The community and religious leaders had gathered in a Pharisee’s house to meet with Jesus, and early in the dinner, Jesus saw the power of social standing.
He saw Pharisees clamoring for the best place in the house, the seats close to the really important people, and he called them out on it, saying that they should seek the least place at the dinner, until they are invited to be seated in a “better” area. In other words, don’t seek prominence for yourself.
Then, he began to teach them about the Kingdom of God, first by introducing practical teaching.
The Reward of a Generous Heart (Luke 14:12-14)
Jesus made a profound observation about human character here. He also gave insight into God’s perspective.
He told them that when they make a dinner or supper — when they held a feast — they were not to call those they wanted to gain favor with .. whether friends, family, or wealthy people. Those people, He said, would then have to reciprocate, and they would be invited back over, and you would have this cycle...
I invite you.
You feel obligated.
You invite me.
I feel obligated.
I invite you...
In other words, it deadens hospitality to invite with an expectation. But, he told them, “When thou makest a feast, call
-- the poor
-- the maimed
-- the lame
-- the blind”
And you will be blessed.
-- the rich
-- the athletic
-- the able
But, the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. Those are the people Jesus said to invite.
These were the very people that society excluded back then.
The poor couldn’t throw you a party in return.
The maimed and lame and blind couldn’t work and were dependent on the generosity of others.
Those with disabilities were looked on as people who “deserved” the disabilities.
They weren’t the people you invited to parties. They weren’t the people you tried to hang around. They weren’t people who could do you any good if you needed a city contract or help with a building permit. They didn’t get invited.
They couldn’t reciprocate. They didn’t have money or social status to throw a party of their own; they wouldn’t say, “Thanks for the great meal; let’s do this at my house next week.”