Summary: This sermon is meant to show the Audience that we ought to reach out to the outcasts of society because Jesus reached out to them, we’re compared to them, and they’re who make up the kingdom of heaven.
The Abnormal Guest List
(Part of a series about who Jesus is)
We ought to reach out to the outcasts, because that’s what God does.
Jr. High Service at Plainfield Christian Church
A year or so ago, I was dating this girl named Jessica. There was a great difference between the two of us. I was raised in more of a down to earth family. We would do wood working, watch a bug zapper, sit outside for large amounts of time drinking iced tea, and other such things for enjoyment. She was used to doing more cultured type things. For fun, she would go to the opera, or listen to a symphony, or eat at a fancy restaurant. Believe it or not, these are not the kind of events that I frequent, and because of this I typically embarrassed her during these dinners that we went to. I am also really not used to dressing very fancy; typically I am wearing an old pair of jeans and a t-shirt. So before this big outing, she went out and bought me a dress shirt and a pair of dress pants to wear out for the evening. Seeing as I am always in favor of getting new clothes for free, I gladly accepted them. She, her mother, and dad then proceeded to take me out to listen to a chamber music symphony. For dinner, we went to this really fancy sea-food restaurant. There I saw more forks and spoons and knives than I would be able to use in five meals. It was utterly ridiculous to me. So many of those people there just carried themselves like they were so important because of where they were at, and how well they were dressed.
Jesus found himself in a similar situation in Luke 14. He was not a wealthy person, or someone who was a member of the in crowd. We find ourselves thinking a lot today about Jesus, and how awesome he is (and rightfully so), but back then they saw him as a homeless self made teacher from the hick part of the country. When they looked at him, they saw someone who didn’t look like what they expected. Yet, on this occasion that we are looking at today, Jesus is invited over to a Pharisee’s house to have the Sabbath meal. Who were the Pharisees? Was the Sabbath meal a big deal? Already, he has had to rebuke their cold hearts for not seeing the need to heal someone on the Sabbath, and then he had to rebuke their pride and arrogance since he had seen so many of them trying to get the best seats in the house for the meal, each thinking that they were more worthy than some of the other guests. Then, he turned his attention to the one who had invited him.
To the Host
12And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment.
13"But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,
14and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
The religious leaders would have seen this statement to have been a pretty crazy thing. They viewed the pain, disease, and deformities that these people were experiencing as the result of their own bad actions and sins, or the sins of their parents. Not only were these people that society didn’t view highly because of their challenges, but they were also looked down on as being unclean and sinners. It’s like when your friend gets mono and you wonder, “Well what have they been doing?” These were the people that Jesus was calling these people to welcome into their homes!? That was unheard of. The people at the dinner must have been shocked.
A man speaks up
15When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!"
One of them responds to what Jesus is saying. He says (as if trying to add to what Jesus is saying) that blessed is the man who invites others who cannot repay him to dinner so that God will invite such a person to eat bread with him in his kingdom. This fellow understands what Jesus is saying so far, but isn’t ready for what is coming.
Parable of the Dinner
16But He said to him, "A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many;