15 And when one of those who sat at the table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God.” 16 Then he said to him, “A certain man made a great supper, invited many, 17 And sent his servant at supper-time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground and I must go and see it. I pray you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen and I go to prove them. I pray you to have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore, I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and told 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 here the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room.’ 23 And the lord said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in so that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you, that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’” Luke 14:15-24
You have been invited to the greatest banquet of all! Even though you are a sinner and deserving of God’s eternal wrath and punishment, He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to fulfill the righteous demands of God’s Law in your stead and then to suffer and die on the cross and bear the full punishment for your transgressions and sins. God calls you through the preaching of the Gospel and invites you to receive His pardon and forgiveness and to be a part of His everlasting kingdom through faith in Christ Jesus and His cross.
The Bible tells us that “this is how God loved the world: he gave his only-begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him, should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:9-10). It tells us that “Jesus Christ … loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5); that “in [Him] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:7); and that “Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).
And, the risen Lord Jesus even now is preparing a place for all who believe in Him, in His Father’s house. Jesus tells us in John 14:1-3: “Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many places to reside. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to myself, so that where I am, you may be there also.”
Through the preaching of this good news, God calls you to come to Him and receive the everlasting blessings of His kingdom. Even now, as you read these words, God’s Spirit calls you to “come, for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17); and to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your house shall be saved” (Acts 16:31).
When one of those who sat at the table with Jesus said, “Blessed is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God,” Jesus told this Parable of the Great Supper (Luke 14:16-24) to admonish His hearers for neglecting and rejecting the salvation God was providing for them in His Son.
The Jews had the Old Testament Scriptures, which promised eternal salvation through the coming Messiah and Savior; but when Jesus, God’s Son, came into this world to accomplish the salvation God had promised of old – when the Gospel invitation went out: “Come, for all things are now ready” – the Jews excused themselves for various reasons.
They were too busy with the things of this world to come to Christ Jesus and receive from Him forgiveness for their sins and eternal life. One bought a piece of land and wanted to go and see it; another had bought five yoke of oxen and wanted to try them out; and another had just gotten married and could not come (cf. Luke 14:18-20).
What about you? This same Gospel invitation has gone out to you: “Come, for all things are now ready.” Do you have time to come to Jesus and learn of Him and the eternal blessings He has won for you? Do you come to hear His life-giving Word and learn of God’s offer and promise of forgiveness for all your sins and of the everlasting joys of heaven? Or, are you too busy with the cares and concerns of this life?
What is your excuse? Are you too busy checking on land or property? Do you have to try out that car or truck or tractor? Do you have to try out that new tool or toy? Are you too busy with work or school or business to come to Jesus? Have you married a wife and become too busy with family concerns to take time for church services and the hearing of God’s Word? What is your excuse?
The excuses in Jesus’ parable angered the man who made the great supper (v. 21). He said, “None of those men who were invited shall taste my supper” (v. 24).
Will God accept your excuse? Is not this a warning to us not to become so busy with other things in life – the things of this world – that we neglect that “one thing … needful” (Luke 10:42)?
Jesus admonishes us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). And Jesus warns: “For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).
What did the master of the house in Jesus’ parable then do that his house might be filled with guests? He sent his servants out into the streets and lanes of the city to bring in the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. And, when there was yet room, he sent them out into the highways and hedges (where the poor often camped) to compel those there to come in (Cf. Luke 14:21-24.)
It is by the grace of God that we have heard the Gospel of Christ and come to trust in Him for forgiveness and life (Eph. 2:4-9); “and yet there is room” (v. 22)! Our Heavenly Father sends His servants out into the streets and lanes, and to the highways and hedges, to compel them to come in — to call upon all, whether rich or poor, healthy or handicapped or sick, to come to Christ Jesus in faith and partake of the blessings of His kingdom.
Jesus commands His disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). They are to preach “repentance and remission of sins … in his name among all nations” (Luke 24:47). They are to say: “Come, for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17). And, Jesus tells us: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
Dear LORD God, our Savior, grant that we do not neglect and excuse ourselves from partaking of the salvation so graciously provided for us through the innocent sufferings and death of the Son, Jesus Christ. Fill us also with Your love for lost sinners that we may obey Your command and send men into all the world with Your saving Gospel and compel them to come in! In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible.]