The Great Supper

“When 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!” But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ “Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ “Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ “And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ “And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. ‘For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.” (Luke 14:15-24)

We left off last week in the Parable of the Guest with Jesus at the home of a Pharisee ruler. Jesus had gone there to eat bread on the Sabbath and there also was a man who had the dropsy. Jesus healed the man and silenced the objections of the Pharisees for His healing on the Sabbath. While this was taking place Jesus was noticing that the guest were seeking to sit in the most prestigious places around the tables. Which prompted Him to tell the Parable of the Guest which was a lesson on humility.

This week we find Jesus at the same location at the home of the Pharisee ruler where He again tells another Parable. The Parable that Jesus told is known as the Parable of “The Great Supper.” One will notice there are some similarities between this Parable and the Parable of the Wedding Feast. (Matthew 22:1-14) Even so the two Parables are not one in the same.

The occasion for these two Parable are different. The Parable of The Wedding Feast was told later in the ministry of Jesus during His final week and in the Temple. This Parable, The Great Supper, was told much earlier and was in the house of a Pharisee. Also the application is different between the two. The Wedding Feast was more directed to the Israel nation as a whole for their rejection of the Son of the King. (Mathew 22:-13) This Parable, “The Great Supper” does not have such a limited focus and its application may hit us a little closer.

As always it is important to look at the setting in which the Parable was told that it would help us to understand the full meaning. After the previous Parable of The Guest Jesus told the people around Him that they should invite people the supper that may not have the means to repay their kindness. As we read further in the Scripture. “And 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. “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and 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.” (Luke 14:12-14)

Jesus is not teaching us that we should never invite our friends and associates to eat with us. They will always return the favor and invite us to join in a meal they have prepared. But we should not forget the less fortunate that have no means to repay for our favor. The point that Jesus is making that we should not leave people out of our fellowship because they are unable to repay for our kindness. When our friends and associates repay our favor by giving then we have received our reward. But in the Kingdom of God when we show favor to the less fortunate our Heavenly Father rewards us. This is the greater reward as the spiritual gifts of the Father have eternal value. Our work here in this world has no eternal value but the work we do for the Kingdom of God does. Jesus made this point in the Gospel of John. “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (John 6:27)

This is no means that we are to forsake our work to care for our physical needs but that the greater investment of our time is working for our spiritual needs. Jesus said, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) The point Jesus is teaching is that our spiritual food is more important than our physical food. The Apostle Peter further makes to point Jesus is conveying in his first letter. “Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4) Jesus is stressing that our hospitality should be towards those who cannot repay us in this life.

One of the Pharisees who heard this remark from Jesus was prompted to respond with his observation. “When 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!” (Luke 14:15) The response of the Pharisee was in relation to what Jesus had said on His point of repayment. “For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” The Pharisee speaking of being rewarded after the resurrection at a heavenly banquet is not out of place. “Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9) But his comment is what prompted Jesus to tell another Parable about the Great Supper.

The Parable is that of a man who gives a great supper to some guest that he had invited. But those who were invited gave excuses in order that they would not be able to come. One had bought a piece of land and said that he most go and see it. (Luke 14:18) Another man had bought two oxen and he wanted to test them. (Luke 14:19) The third man had just married and therefore could not come. (Luke 14:20)

The master was angry that the invited guest would not come so he sent his servant out to invite others to the supper. They were to invite the poor, maimed, lame and blind. The social outcast of the day. (Luke 14:21) Still there was room for more and the master sent his servant to invite those who were in the highways and amongst the hedges. (Luke 14:22-23) Those who the master had invited had lost their welcome and would not be allowed to taste the supper that he had prepared. (Luke 14:24) Jesus offers us no explanation to this Parable.

God has made wonderful provision for those who have answered His call and have accepted His Son as their Savior. There will be a great weeding feast called the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:7-9) This wedding feast will most likely be after the resurrection. It is more than just a supper, it is a marriage to our Savior Jesus Christ as the two truly become as one in the Spirit. This is the gateway to the fullness of all the spiritual blessings as the Apostle Paul writes. “So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7)

God through His grace has extended the invitation of His salvation for man, along with the unfathomable blessings, to many. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) It is not the desire of God that any should not be saved or that any should perish. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” (Titus 2:11) The invitation has been clearly made to all who will accept it and follow Christ through faith to the Kingdom of God. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 22:17)

It is sad and surprising that many will not accept God’s invitation but make excuses instead to attend their worldly affairs that will leave then empty of any spiritual salvation. Their excuses may seem noble on the surface as business responsibilities. (Luke 14:18-19) They may be for the responsibilities of home and family. (Luke 14:20) It is not a problem of neglecting our physical responsibility but a problem of priority. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Some say this parable is a warning to the Jews who rejected Jesus and the gospel and the message was turned over to the Gentiles. “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.”  (Matthew 21:43) Others see it as giving the Gospel message to the sinners after the religious leaders of the day rejected it. (Matthew 21:31-320 But it is also a message for the Church today.

There are many in the Church that are making excuses to not serve the Lord as they should. Yet with their self-righteous attitude they think they will be guest at the Great Supper. In the end the truth is it will be the ever humble, those that are often despised but ever faithful servants to the Lord that shall “taste the Lord’s supper. “Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 16, 2017

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