(Hey readers. There was a glitch last week that prevented the last few paragraphs from getting published. I hope you don’t mind the repeat.)
“But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.” Luke 14:18 (NKJV)
Did ya ever wonder what it would be like to have dinner with Jesus? Maybe you’ve just pictured yourself having a seat at the same long table that Da Vinci painted back in the late 15th century. Well stop that European mindset for a moment and change the image to a lower to the floor sorta sitting, kinda U-shaped, with pillows. There ya go, a bit more Middle Eastern don’t ya think? And for all you “Da Vinci Code” theorists, don’t look for the Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene, any set of things adding up to the number 3 or triangles. It’s just dinner…with Jesus.
In the 14th chapter of Luke’s Gospel we’ll see Jesus having dinner with the religious hotshots of their time. He’ll heal a man with dropsy after challenging those hotshots about healing on Sabbath verses saving your donkey from a hole in the ground. He’ll give advice on how to practice humility at a wedding feast which eventually leads to this statement being made. “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15b) I’m not sure whether to go “Uh-Oh” or “Hmm” here but one thing is for sure, there is gonna be a response from Jesus (shoulda listened to that humility advice, anyway)
So, I am guessing the man that made this profound statement, looked around at the other hotshots, who by the way were looking to see if Jesus would violate the Sabbath laws, and thought to himself, “We are definitely the kinda of people hanging out in YHVH’s Kingdom. After all, we’ll be there because we keep the Law, follow tradition and keep ourselves ceremonially clean.” But Jesus will quickly correct this pious thinking. Oh, before I go any further, Revelation 19:9 says, “Then the angel said to me, “Write the following: Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
So, as you read Luke 14:16-24, you’ll see Jesus starting out this parable by saying, “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready’” then those many made excuses not to come. What gives? Well, I believe that since Jesus is sitting with these religious hotshots, those entrusted with the oracles of God (Romans 3:2), He is trying to tell them that you’ve been too busy with yourselves to see Me coming, even after I sent my messenger ahead of Me. That messenger, who was prophesized in the Book of Isiah, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3) was none other than John the Baptist. Guess they didn’t see him coming either.
And as Jesus continues with His parable, He dares to broaden the invitation to the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. In a nutshell the invitation has now gone out to all the social rejects that these religious hotshots wouldn’t acknowledge in the streets let alone have at their banquet tables. And with that Jesus will conclude, “For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’” (Luke 14:24) So how do we wrap this up?
Well the folks with the excuses really didn’t have a sinful excuse BUT they did put those things in front of the calling of salvation in Christ. Don’t get this too wrong, those religious hotshots wanted to be saved they just didn’t get the self-sacrificing stuff that Jesus preached. However, we don’t read that the poor, crippled, blind, lame or social reject turned down the invitation at all. The poor coulda said, “We ain’t got nothing fancy to wear” or the lame say, “My bum leg keeps me from getting’ around.” On the contrary, they pulled themselves up a chair and had a seat.
Ya see, it isn’t anything in the recipient of the invitation, it’s all based on the goodness and the bounty of the host. If you too full of your own goodness it’ll hinder you from having dinner with Jesus. Remember that verse from Revelation 19:9? Blessed is those of us who got the invitation to the banquet because when we accept it, our hunger for something better than ourselves gets satisfied. If you’re like me, you knew you had no excuses to decline the invitation, we tried but there really wasn’t any. Isn’t it good to now know that, despite your condition, there’s a seat for you? Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.