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INCLUSION IN COMMUNITY



April 25, 2010




Devotional Reading: Psalm 65:1-8



Background Scripture: Luke 14:1-24




Luke 14:15-24



BACKGROUND:
The printed text of today’s lesson is best appreciated when studied in light of the first 14 verses of this chapter. The scene is the home of a Pharisee. This Pharisee may have been a synagogue leader (something akin to a church pastor), as other translations render him a “ruler who belonged to the Pharisees”. He was an important man in Jewish circles. It is here that Jesus was invited to a Sabbath day (Saturday) dinner...

Now the Pharisee didn’t invite Jesus out of love; rather, he invited Jesus to “watch Him”. It was of necessity a planned affair, since Jews were prohibited from cooking on the Sabbath. They would rather prepare the food the day before (Friday) and either serve it cold on the Sabbath or find a means to keep it warm. This implied that the “guest list” had been predetermined...

By now, Jesus is making His way to Jerusalem and the Cross. He has attracted much attention, and as such was perceived a threat by religious leaders. Traps were being laid at every hand...

Jesus actually uses the occasion to relate two parables on the subject of food and banquets. The first had to do with the seating arrangement, and people’s egos. Jesus knew that the “important” guests would sit near the “head” of the table, or in close proximity to the host, and the less influential persons would sit proportionately farther away. Jesus advised against taking the “high” seat, as one might become embarrassed by being asked “down”. Other teachings followed, leading to today’s printed text...

INTRODUCTION:
Today’s lesson takes the form of a parable. In many circles, a “parable” is described as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning”. Such is true in this case, but today’s parable takes on the connotation of an allegory; that is, the characters can be related to real-life characters...

This parable is widely known as the Parable of the Great Banquet, or the Parable of the Great Supper. Jesus here teaches a lesson that is of extreme importance to those who think they “have it made” in the area of salvation...

BLESSED INCLUSION / Luke 14:15-17

The exclamation of “one of them” in verse 15 was occasioned by the words of Jesus in verse 14. There Jesus speaks of divine reward for earthly good deeds. Jesus has made it clear that those who serve the less fortunate without thought of reward will be richly rewarded “at the resurrection of the just”...

At this point, Jesus speaks the parable before us. It is probable that the host (which is almost certainly a reference to God Himself) had extended invitations to his guests in advance. But it was probably something of an unusual invitation. That is, it was probably the kind of invitation that made only one thing certain: there would be a banquet and they would be invited. The time was probably left out. The guest would then be called on to say, call me when it is ready and whatever I’m doing at the time, I’ll drop it and come to the banquet. And just why would this be necessary? Because God is a jealous God, and we should have no other gods before Him. That being the case, whenever God calls, whatever we are doing at that time should come second to the call of God...

Look at the parable. The host invited “many”. Within the context of this verse, it probably implied that those that were invited were the descendants of Abraham. Note also that the word “servant” is singular; that is, only one servant was sent, and that was almost certainly Jesus. The message was simple: come now, for the dinner is ready...

RUDE EXCUSES / Luke 14:18-20

This is not intended to be a complete list of the excuses the servant got. This is simply as sampling to show the kind of excuses that were being made. The simple truth is that these “guests” were not ready, but the supper was. To begin with, it is sad that the excuses all had one thing in common: they were centered around blessings that God had given them. That is, if God had not been good, one guest would not have had any land to survey; likewise, another would not have been blessed with oxen to test. What they all did with one accord was to look on the one hand at what God had given them and look on the other hand at the invitation that had been extended. Sadly, they turned down the invitation...

There were also other considerations. What man would purchase five yoke of oxen (in that day most people would have felt fortunate to have a single yoke of oxen) without testing them first? As for the matter of the wife, it may be that this was assumed to be an affair for men only. The only other possibility may be that in those days a man who was a newlywed was excluded from military and other like duties for a year (cf. Deuteronomy 24:5)...

SURPRISING OUTCOME / Luke 14:21-24 -

What is here surprising is that the host was not satisfied to have a surplus of food after his original guests had begged off (perhaps those guests felt that they would eventually get a second invitation). He sent his servant to call on those who were not expecting an invitation. What stands out here is that the ones NOT forewarned about the dinner dropped what they were doing and came. Notice that the servant does not report of ANY rejections on the parts of the second and third choices for dinner. The only ones too busy were the blessed and the chosen....

A
 
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