Summary: The General call and those whom God brings to His feast of Life is seen in Luke 14:16-24. With `The Parable of the Great Banquet`` in, we see: 1) The Incident (Luke 14:16-17), 2) The Invited (Luke 14:18–20), 3) The Invitation (Luke 14:21–24)
Thank you for coming this morning. You responded to an invitation to come and be with us enjoying each others company with food, fellowship and faithful worship. There are a lot of other things you could have been doing on such a nice day. Trips, the beach or a quite read are all enticing. Not everyone invited was able to come, and as such we enjoy several special guests. You came, hopeful to enjoy and celebrate this time together with one another and with God.
The story in Luke 14, common for feasts, like a wedding for example, which could last a full week, Guests were preinvited and given a general idea of the time. When all the many preparations were finally ready, the preinvited guests were notified that the event would commence. The preinvited guests refer to the people of Israel, who by the OT had been told to be ready for the arrival of the Messiah (MacArthur, J. J. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Lk 14:17). Nashville: Word Pub.).
Who you chose to invite or bring here today, makes a difference in who celebrates with us. Who you chose to share the gospel with and compel repent and believe, can make a difference for eternity. Ours is not to speculate upon who might respond, but in our faithful obedience. We must ask ourselves if we have failed to call someone we know to God. Those to whom God uses our faithful words to change their hearts most likely will surprise us.
The General call and those whom God brings to His feast of Life is seen in Luke 14:16-24. With `The Parable of the Great Banquet`` in, we see: 1) The Incident (Luke 14:16-17), 2) The Invited (Luke 14:18–20), 3) The Invitation (Luke 14:21–24)
1) The Incident (Luke 14:16-17),
Luke 14:16-17 But he said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ’Come, for everything is now ready.’ (ESV)
Earlier, a question had been put to Jesus: “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” (13:23). In his answer, Jesus did not enter into the numbers game. Rather, he urged all his listeners to strive to enter the banquet hall by the narrow door. He also told his audience that there will be some surprises among those seated at the feast of salvation. The parable of the great banquet is prompted by a remark made by one of Jesus’ table companions: “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” This beatitude reminds one of a number of earlier such pronouncements by Jesus and others (6:20–22; 11:27, 28). It is very similar to the words of Revelation 19:9:
Revelation 19:9 And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God." (ESV)
• “The “great banquet” is a lavish, sumptuous image of the kingdom of Heaven that will be exceeded by its reality—joyous satisfaction! And, of course, the ultimate convener and host will be Christ himself. (Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke : That you may know the truth. Preaching the Word (116). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.)
Yet it becomes obvious from the parable which Jesus tells that not everyone really regards God’s salvation banquet as something so wonderful.
The occasion for the representation of the kingdom of Heaven under this image, was given the Saviour spontaneously by the remark of His fellow-guest, and by the feast of the Pharisee. Jesus is in the home of a ruler among Pharisees, gathered at the table with other socially elite Pharisees and scribes. They would easily see themselves in the mirror Jesus constructs, with references to the great dinner and the many invited serving to underscore the relative prestige of the host. At the same time, the size of the prepared feast necessitates the subsequent extraordinary attempts to “fill” the house (v 23b). This is a clear allusion to the Jewish hope for the time when the Messiah would come and share a great feast with Israel’s devout (Isa 25:6; 65:13–14; Ps 81:16; 2 Esdr 2:38; Enoch 62:14; 1QSa 2:11–13; cf. also Luke 13:28–29; 22:15–20, 30; 1 Cor 11:23–26; Rev 19:9.) (Stein, R. H. (2001). Vol. 24: Luke (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (393). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).
Jesus’ story assumes the extension of double invitations, a practice rooted in pragmatic needs of more than one sort. First, preparation for the feast required a count of the number of invitations accepted. With the number of anticipated guests determined, the host is able to determine what animal(s) is to be killed and cooked. The host would then decide on the killing/butchering of a chicken or two (for 2–4 guests), or a duck (for 5–8), or a goat (10–15 acceptances), or a sheep (if there are 15–35 people), or a calf (35–75).” (Braun, Feasting and Social Rhetoric, 102).