Once again Jesus gives some sort of story or teaching before He jumps into the parable. What is that context that is given? Remember, this is always important before looking at the parable itself.
- Luke 14:12-14
12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
- Jesus is saying that when you have a dinner or supper, don’t just call your friends or those that are your relatives or those that are rich. Instead, call those that are poor, maimed, lame and blind. Then you will be blessed.
- Don’t invite those that can pay you back, but rather reach out to those that are not as fortunate as yourself.
- This is the background that Jesus starts with.
Upon hearing what Jesus said about not inviting only those that can pay you back or that are your close friends or family, someone responds. What do they say?
- Luke 14:15
And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
- They are looking forward to eating the heavenly bread, to be in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb that Revelation talks about.
- They are agreeing with Jesus about what He says. We shouldn’t just invite people to eat with us that are rich or that are close to us.
Jesus doesn’t acknowledge the man’s reply but rather just jumps straight into the parable.
- Luke 14:16-17
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
- So a certain man has made a great supper and invites many people to come.
- He must have been rich. He had servants to go out and call people to come. Everything was ready! All they needed to do was come!
But how did people respond to this invitation?
- Luke 14:18-20
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
- They began to make excuses!
- The first said what? I bought a piece of ground and I need to go see it.
- The second said they had bought five yo0ke of oxen and they needed to go and prove it, meaning he needed to go and test them.
- And the third gave the reason that he had just gotten married and couldn’t come.
- Now looking at the reasons that were given, they seem weird and shallow. Why?
- First reason – you should see the land before you actually purchase it.
- Second reason – you should examine the oxen before you buy it as well.
- Third reason – just doesn’t seem to be a valid excuse at all! Why can’t you come just because you just got married? And it doesn’t even say there that this person just got married as well. Maybe he got married this year!
- Afterall, it’s just a dinner right? It’s not like you can’t look at your land later or look at your oxen later, or even just spend time with your wife later.
- Excuses was what it was.
Upon hearing the reasons that were given, what does the lord then proceed to do?
- Luke 14:21
So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
- He calls all the poor and unfortunate. Why? Because all his other friends did not want to come.
- His friends that he was trying to call before were rich. They had land. They just bought 10 cows. They just got married! They definitely had the money but didn’t want to go.
- It seems like out of necessity that he has had to call the opposite group of people. The poor, the maimed, the halt (which is the crippled) and the blind.
Now obviously the lord here represents God right? Who did He call at the beginning?
- He called the Israelites. And it’s not that they were rich. But God blessed them with so many blessings. He was the One that enriched them and gave them houses and lands and so many material blessings.
- God was the One who enriched Abraham even though he lied about his wife being his sister.
- God was the One who blessed the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. He softened the hearts of the Egyptians that they would lend them all the things that they asked for.
- God was the One that blessed them with the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey. God would fight for them and give them the victory in every battle. All they needed to do was obey. To listen to His command. Commands such as walk around a city and shout at it and the walls will fall down!
- God blessed them so much.
- And what happened in the end? Those riches ended up becoming a snare to them. They focused so much on the material blessing instead of the giver of the blessing.
- And so the command was to go out and call all the poor and those that were less fortunate. For He would be the One that would bless them as well. He would bless the Gentiles, those that didn’t believe in Him.
- Do we see Gentiles blessed as well throughout scripture? Absolutely!
- She didn’t perish with those when the walls of Jericho came falling down.
- Ruth was a Moabitess and would make the true God her God.
- Nebuchadnezzar had the opportunity to have his testimony included as part of the Bible for us to read today.
- It was the Syrophoenician woman and the Roman Centurion that Jesus declared had great faith, more than any of those in Israel.
- The light and blessing of the gospel would shine out to others.
But the parable continues:
- Luke 14:22-24
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
- So the servant went out and invited everyone to come in. He would go out into the highways and the hedges to invite all to attend the dinner feast. The lord wanted his house to be filled.
- And today, God wants His house to be filled as well!
- John 14:2
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
- There is plenty of room for everyone in God’s kingdom. Not a single soul will be left out.
- And the invitation is open for everyone.
- Revelation 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
- It is free for everyone to come. No one will be rejected or turned away based on their rank or class on the earth.
But why is it that God seems to favour the rich first and not the poor? It is not that God is a respecter of persons because He isn’t. But He wanted to distinguish between the 2 classes of people. He wanted to show how much easier it is to heed the gospel invitation for those that are poor compared to those that are rich.
Why is that so? Why is it harder for the rich to come to the feast that God is preparing for us in heaven?
- 1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
- The love of money is the root of all evil. It’s hard to focus on treasures in heaven when you have so much focus on things of the earth.
- You see, the riches of earth are tangible, are seen. You can hold it, you can touch it, you can feel it between your hands. All our physical senses enjoy it!
- But the riches in heaven can only be seen by the eye of faith.
- Hebrews 11:10
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
- Faith helps us to look to the unseen. The foundation of which is not built by any human hands.
- But when we have the riches on this earth, it is harder to let go! It’s harder to think that there is something better when we already have such a good life and are satisfied with how we live and our standard of living.
- 1 Timothy 6:17
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy
- While God blesses us with riches, we are reminded not to be highminded or arrogant or proud. Remember that the riches on this earth are uncertain riches. We must remember that God is the One who gives us these riches to enjoy. But let’s not get to the point that it makes us to forget God altogether!
- Many of us are trusting in our uncertain riches. We are putting more faith in our riches than faith in God.
- In the case of the parable, let’s not get to the point where we give excuses about staying away from God, the giver of all our blessings.
- It’s not that we are actually busy. It is pretended busy-ness.
- The problem is not so much that we are actually giving excuses, but we just think that we are really, really busy.
- No time for church. No time for Bible study. No time for prayer meeting. No time!
- But it’s rather that our priorities are different.
- I need to check my land.
- I need to check my cows.
- I need to spend time with my wife.
Why does the poor man respond though?
- From a worldly point of view we think it’s because that’s the only sort of hope that they have. Not realising that that is actually a blessing!
- James 2:5
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
- The rich man is poor in faith because they trust in their uncertain riches. They place their faith and trust in material blessings rather than in God.
- They forget God because of those material possessions.
- But in reality, the poor man responds because he is actually rich in faith. And in essence, he didn’t give any excuses because there were no excuses to give! They didn’t have houses or lands or 10 oxen to go and check up on. And they have a proper perspective of their marriage because it is a simple marriage. Deeply in love with the priorities in the right order.
So here is the conclusion to the parable about how the poor people responded to the wedding invitation as opposed to those that were rich.
- Luke 14:25-27
25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
What does it mean when the Bible tells us we must hate father, mother, wife, children, brother, sister and even your own life?
- It’s not literal hate because He asks us to hate our own life as well. No one would hate their own life unless you are suicidal, and surely Jesus is not telling us to be like that.
- Let’s go to the parallel passage in Matthew.
- Matthew 10:37
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
- So what Jesus is saying is, we must not put even family above God.
- Family really can get in the way of listening to God’s voice and heeding the gospel invitation sometimes. We need to be so careful.
- God does not want us to hate our family. But they must always be secondary to the call of God.
- However, what is interesting in this parable is that these people that gave excuses, it wasn’t about father or mother or brother or sister. It was about their own life.
- They put their own life above everything else. Their land. Their oxen. And their marriage and wife. So many of us focus on our own life.
- This is why Jesus tells us this in Luke 9.
- Luke 9:23
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
- The biggest hurdle we have to overcome is our own life. The denial of our own selves.
- Our money, our comforts, our goals and aims. So many times we let our own personal agendas and desires get in the way of God’s call to us.
So how can we make sure we don’t put family and riches and our personal lives above God?
- Luke 14:28-30
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
- Jesus wants us to count the cost of being His disciple before we embark on this journey.
- Just as this man didn’t count the cost when he began to build his tower and he fell short and wasn’t able to finish it, so too with the Christian who embarks on this journey with Christ.
- Christ is saying, if you want to be my disciple, you have to be mine 100%. I must occupy first place above family and even your own life.
- Luke 14:31-33
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
- It makes more sense to consider first if you are able to win this war rather than running head-first into it and then determine you aren’t able to in the heat of battle.
- We must count the cost of being a follower of Christ if we are to eat bread in the kingdom of God one day.
- And what Jesus is saying is that many do not count that cost. We embark on this journey, on this commitment, without much thought.
- But we must remember. With every commitment there will always be sacrifice.
- Are we really willing to pay the cost of being in this relationship with Jesus? Are we really willing to go all the way?
- We need to count that cost today.
What does this have to do with the invitation to the marriage supper and the rich and the poor?
- The rich were the Israelites who represent the Christians today. They heard the gospel invitation for them to come and follow Christ. However, they didn’t want to come because the cost of following was too great. They didn’t want to sacrifice and put Christ first.
- The poor were willing to follow and to heed the invitation because it was easier to leave this world behind. Their faith was not affected by their possessions because they didn’t have much. So when Christ’s call comes for them to sacrifice everything, they are willing to just pick up and go.
Does money change you? It changes a lot of people. We must be very careful with the way we treat money and how we spend it and the possessions that we have. The poor can also have the rich man’s mentality. We can also lock our heart onto something small because we worked so hard to purchase it. Whether that be a camera or a phone or a car.
Today, let us take an account of all that we have and ask ourselves – are we willing to give it all to Christ if He were to come and invite us today? Are we really willing to surrender all that we have? Granted Christ is not telling all of us to sell everything right now and go to a missionary in a foreign land and live in poverty. Maybe we’re all scared of that. But with whatever Christ has called you to do right now, are you willing to follow Him and sacrifice for Him?
Let’s pray that God would help us to be willing because riches are deceptive and many fall into the snares because of these uncertain riches.