Summary: Are you missing out on something?
Luke 14:15-24 The Parable of the Great Banquet
Story: Do you remember the famous 1986 Guardian advert on TV
A skinhead runs down the street. He is filmed from three different points of view.
It looks as if he is going to mug a man carrying a leather briefcase.
Instead he shoves him out of the way of collapsing scaffolding – and saves his life.
And the message was: “Only when you get the whole picture can you really understand what is going on” (BRF Guidelines Sept- Dec 2004 p.144)
They say that one picture is worth a thousand words.
And Jesus was very skilful at painting pictures with words using parables to explain really quite deep concepts.
And today’s Gospel reading from Luke is no exception.
Have you ever stopped to ask the question:
Is there an afterlife and, if so, what’s heaven going to be like?
Well, Jesus gives us an insight in today’s parable from Luke 14.
The Kingdom of God (or if I use the words from a parallel passage in Matthew’s Gospel – the Kingdom of Heaven) is going to be like a banquet or a feast.
What image does that conjure up for you?
Perhaps a wedding banquet
Story: For me, it conjures up the image of the Patent Agents Dinner and Dance at the Savoy Hotel in London every year – where I had an excuse to get my Dinner Jacket out!
It was a great occasion, which Maddy and I and the rest of the Patent Department at Reckitt and Colman used to enjoy going to.
And we’d cancel everything to get to it
It was a time to meet old friends – and to talk – all about patents.
It is interesting to see that Jesus never said that the Kingdom of heaven was going to be like a Church Service! Perhaps if he had no one would be interested in heaven!
This morning, I’d like to look at three elements of Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Banquet
The three elements are
1. The banquet
2. The invitations and
3. The excuses.
1. The BANQUET
So what does the BANQUET illustrate?
For me, the BANQUET tells me something about our God
So many people think of God as an old man with a white beard saying NO. What a travesty!
Popular culture sees God (and the Church) as a kill joy
But , Jesus tells us that this is far from the Truth.
Quite the contrary, God is someone who wants to have fun .
A banquet is a joyful occasion. It is not a funeral.
Spending time with God is going to be a wonderful time.
God wants us to enjoy life. Jesus himself said:
“I have come so that you can have life and have it in abundance” (Jn 10:10)
Being a Christian should be something to be enjoyed – and not ENDURED!
The second element of Jesus’ parable that I would like to look at is:
2. The INVITATIONS.
In Jesus’ time they did not have printing presses. You didn’t get a written invitation by post.
Instead, the host of the banquet would send his servant around to the guest (perhaps a week or two before the day of the BANQUET) to ask the guests if they were coming.
As they did not have telephones in those days either, the host would send his servant around a second time when the meal was ready to be served (on the day itself).
The polite time to refuse to come was at the time of the first invitation - not at the time of the second when all the food was prepared.
Refusal on the day itself showed a lack of respect for the host or even contempt for the host.
The third element of Jesus’ parable that I’d like to look at is
3. The THREE EXCUSES
Can you remember the three excuses?
Ans. I have bought a field
I have bought a yoke of oxen
I have married a wife
At first sight the excuses seem reasonable. But are thery?
3.1 I have just bought a field and I must go and see it.
No one in their right mind bought a field without seeing it.
Who are you kidding!!
Any farmer worth his salt will look at the field he buys before paying out good money.
It was a stupid excuse, possibly even a dishonest one.
If he had really bought a field without looking at it first, the man was a fool.
Story: Some years ago, some men bought some land in Florida for housing only to find out once they had paid for it that it was bad marshy land and useless – not prime building land.
They had wasted their money.