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The Parable of the Great Banquet

One of the most vivid emotions in my teenage and young adult life was loneliness and there was nothing better able to bring this out in me than sitting at home on a Friday night, knowing that everyone else was somewhere else, together, at a party.
Q: Can you remember ever feeling this way?
Q: How did it make you feel?
A: For me it often lead to feelings of insecurity and rejection.
I went to church, I knew the bible stories, but hearing that God loved me and desired a relationship with me somehow seemed to pale in comparison to my need, and desire, for friendship and welcoming hospitality.
I think that this is why the Parable of the Great Banquet speaks so directly and personally to my heart.
***Hear the word of God. ***

The Parable of the Great Banquet

12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 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.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”

This parable carries a recurring theme that shows up throughout scripture—that is the theme of the party thrown by a ruler, or king, or master and the rejection of the invitation by those who were asked to attend.
Q: Can you imagine rejecting an invitation to a posh, all you can eat/drink event by someone of such important and significance?
Ex. It would be like getting a call from the governor or president (ok, maybe those aren’t the best examples dependent upon where you fall politically).
Ok, so it would be like getting a call from someone that you admire, appreciate, and value…someone that has sustained you and provided for you…and then rejecting the invitation because you have something more important to do.
Let’s face it, if the invite were really that important you wouldn’t miss the party.
The Master invites those whom he sees value in…but he doesn’t mandate their attendance.
When those that have been invited deny the invitation, the servants go and invite others. Yes on the surface this is about Jews and Gentiles…but it’s also about you and me and God’s call in our lives to the hands and feet of Christ.
This invitations is actually offered to the entirety of humanity and the “party” is eternity in the presence of our triune God.
The banquet is the unification of Christ and the Church. It is a wedding feast, and those who deny their invitation are in effect denying salvation and denying God.
We never know how much time we may have, we never know when the trumpet may sound, but we are able to find signs for this in scripture and recognize the season.
Benediction: May God open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds and may he provide us with clarity and discernment. May Holyh Spirit provide us with Holy Boldness. May we respond to the love, life, death, and resurrection of Christ and may we find hope in our coming reunion with Him.
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