We are basically being invited to the Feast in the Kingdom of God…. But so many then come up with excuse after excuse why they won’t be coming.
When one of those who reclined at table with [Jesus] heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
There’s nothing quite like a fine dinner.
Recently, my wife and I were gifted with a dinner at a fine restaurant in downtown Chicago. We wouldn’t have normally gone to such a grand establishment – at least, not without saving extra money for some time.
But it was a lovely gift to us from brothers and sisters in our congregation. We received the gift graciously and with joyous hearts.
The restaurant had fine music, fine wine, and the food was pretty good, too!
And we told other people about this particular restaurant. We wanted others to enjoy this place as much as we did, so we didn’t keep this eatery a secret.
We’re also glad that others thought so much of us as to gift us in this way. We are truly blessed by God!
Jesus was invited to a fine dinner one Sabbath. It was at the home of “a ruler of the Pharisees” (Luke 14). But this apparently was not done out of love towards Jesus but instead out of animosity. This Pharisee was “watching him carefully” along with others who were at the dinner.
Even though Jesus knows this, he goes and doesn’t shy away from teaching them a thing or two about the truth of the Kingdom of God.
He heals a man right then and there. On the Sabbath. And to a Pharisee, that was a big “no-no.” But not for Jesus, who is the “Lord of the Sabbath!”
Then Jesus tells a parable about a Great Banquet to make a huge point that is the whole point of this part of Luke.
Jesus tells the story of a man who throws a huge feast. He invites all his friends and neighbors. I get the impression that he invited them well in advance and received replies that they would all be there.
But when the day of the banquet arrives and he sends word that all is ready, they all gave their excuses about why they couldn’t make it.
The man was understandably upset. So he turns his back on his friends and neighbors and has his servants bring in people from the streets. He had all this food and space ready, he was going to fill it up!
The lesson is that all who are invited by God to be in his kingdom should not reject God!
We may have a hard time understanding why anyone would refuse God’s invitation. One of those eating next to Jesus certainly did.
“Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God” he exclaims.
Jesus points out that our focus should not be on who’s there or who’s invited.
We should be going out into all the world and spreading the news about the banquet that is the kingdom of God!
We have been invited to the feast by God. That happened when we were baptized. In my particular denomination, that usually happens when we are infants.
But the invitation is renewed when we are about fourteen years old or so.
That’s when we hear these words of invitation to the feast:
Do you intend to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully? To which we answer “I do, by the grace of God.”
We also hear these words of invitation:
Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it? To which we answer, “I do, by the grace of God.”
We are basically being invited to the Feast in the Kingdom of God – which is foreshadowed here on earth in the Christian worship service with the Sacrament of the Altar. And we are basically saying, “I’ll be there.”
But so many then come up with excuse after excuse why they won’t be coming.
“I have practice.”
“That’s my only day off from work.”
“I have a family obligation.”
“The big game is on TV.”
I’ve heard many, many excuses throughout the years.
Yet, Jesus continues to invite. Continues to prepare the Feast. And I will continue to tell others about the Feast and invite them to the Feast.
Heavenly Father, thank you inviting me to the Feast of your Kingdom. Forgive me when I make excuses why I won’t come. Give me your Holy Spirit so that I will say yes and actually come to the Feast! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2017 True Men Ministries