Summary: Boiling it all down to this: “We can’t exchange our invitations for excuses because God will move on.”
THE GREAT BANQUET
INTRODUCTION… FoodNetwork.com “A McConaughey and Fieri Feast”
Today we will be looking at a passage in Luke 14 where Jesus tells a parable about a huge banquet. He tells all about a great feast that takes place and makes several important spiritual points for us to ponder. That is the point of parables after all… to tell a story that your audience understands in order to make a great spiritual point. I started looking over this passage and got thinking about “feasts.” I of course did what any person would do when thinking about feasts, I went to FoodNetwork.com and searched the word “feast.” #1 after the search was “Wachowicz Family Seafood Feast” which didn’t mean anything to me. #2 was a tempting Rachel Ray recipe for “Cuban Via Miami Feast: Mashed Plantains with Oh, Baby! Garlic-Tomato Shrimp on Top, Grilled Flank Steak with Lime and Onions, Quick Rice with Black Beans.” That was pretty tempting. But it was #3 that caught my eye… “A McConaughey and Fieri Feast.” I clicked on that and found that the “feast referenced one of the TV shows that guy Fieri hosts (Guy’s Big Bite) where he and Matthew McConaughey cooked together.
I noticed several elements about the “feast” as I looked it over that are true of all feasts.. I noticed that it was quite a production. There was a lot of effort that went into the show, the décor, table settings, and preparing the food. I also noticed the people seemed to be having a good time and lots of folks were around certainly those who were invited or were expected to be there. They seemed to enjoy themselves. It seemed like a good celebration. All of those things are elements of a feast. The “feast” was all of that and more.
The feast that Jesus talks about in Luke 14 is no different. It too was and will be quite a production. Huge amount of effort and sacrifice went into preparing it. People will have a tremendous time and will enjoy themselves. Jesus tells us about this feast so that we might learn some valuable lessons about the Church and our spiritual lives.
Jesus just finishes talking about the “resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:14) and then there are questions by those around Him. Let’s read.
I. FEAST PREPARED (verses 15-17)
We first read about a FEAST PREPARED.
READ Luke 14:15-17
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." 16 Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.'
We see in these verses that the context of this parable is a dinner. You can call it a “feast” if you want, but it probably was more like a party. Jesus is at a table with Pharisees and teachers of the law who are watching Him and attempting to trap Him. They are eating and drinking with an agenda. Jesus takes this opportunity of the meal to describe a grand meal in “the kingdom of God.” What is that? Where is that? In the Scriptures, the phrase “the kingdom of God” can mean several things. It can mean the Church on earth. It can mean Heaven. It can reference all Christians in the midst of a sinful world. It can mean the Christian faith. It can mean all Christians who have ever lived and some times even ties back to Old Testament believers in God. For this context, it seems that Jesus is directing His “Kingdom of God” comment and the parable to the meaning of the Christian faith in general and eternal rewards and this has implications for us who are already in the Church just as it had implications for the Jews listening.
As with any parable with players or characters and events, we need to figure out what each of them represents. There are six elements to this parable we need to nail down before we can understand the rest of the story and the implications for all of us who are already in “the Kingdom of God.”
First, since the parable is focusing on “the Kingdom of God,” the main character or the character in charge is going to be God the Father. He is the “certain man” in charge of the entire show. God is the central character of this parable and to be honest with you He is the central character in most parables. Jesus’ teachings were always about revealing Almighty God to us. Second, “a great banquet” is the central happening of this parable which is a way of talking about the Christian faith.