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The Great Banquet


                                CHAPTER 40


  Jesus accepted the invitation to eat in the home of a
         prominent Pharisee on the Sabbath.    While there, he was
         carefully watched, probably in order to find fault.    Jesus
         was moved with compassion to heal a man with dropsy (swelling
         of the arms and legs--Todayís English Version).    Noticing
         that guests were seeking places of honor, Jesus gave a lesson
         on humility.  Then Jesus gave advice to his host:  "When you
         prepare a meal, donít just invite people who can pay you
         back..   Invite poor people, and you will be repaid at the
         resurrection of the justified." (Paraphrase).  When someone
         at the table with him heard this, he said,  "Blessed is the
         man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." (A
         reference to the Messianic banquet--Barclay, DAILY STUDY
         BIBLE SERIES, LUKE, pp. 198 ff.).  His statement precipitated
         Jesus' Parable of The Great Banquet. The Parable of the Great
         Banquet is found only in Luke 14:15-24.

The Story
   When one of those at the table with
                   him   heard   this, he said to Jesus,
                   "Blessed is the man who will eat at the
                   feast in the kingdom of God."

                        Jesus replied: "A certain man was
                   preparing a great banquet and invited
                   many guests.  At the time of the  banquet
                   he sent his servant to tell those who had
                   been invited, `Come,  for  everything  is
                   now ready.'

                        "But  they  all  alike began to make
                   excuses.  The first said,  `I  have  just
                   bought a field, and I must go and see it.
                   Please excuse me.'

"Another said, `I have  just  bought
                   five  yoke  of oxen, and I'm on my way to
                   try them out.  Please excuse me.'

  "Still  another  said,  `I  just  got
                   married, so I can't come.'

                        "The  servant came back and reported
                   this to his master.  Then  the  owner  of
                   the  house  became  angry and ordered his
                   servant, `Go out quickly into the streets
                   and  alleys  of the town and bring in the
                   poor, the crippled,  the  blind  and  the

  "`Sir,' the servant said, `what  you
                   ordered has been done, but there is still

                        "Then  the  master told his servant,
                   `Go out to the roads  and  country  lanes
                   and  make  them come in, so that my house
                   will  be full.  I tell you, not one of
                   those men who were invited will get a
                   taste of my banquet.'"   (Luke  14:15-24,
                   New International Version).

                   The Interpretation
  The  characters and symbols of the story and the persons and things
          that they represent in reality are:

             1.  Banquet Host                       GOD
              2.  Servant                                  Jesus and Prophets
              3.  Guests Invited First               Jews
              4.  Guests Invited Second           Tax Gatherers and Sinners
              5.  Guests Invited Third             Gentiles
              6.  The Banquet                         Messianic Banquet/Salvation

              (Adapted  from  Barclay,  DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES, LUKE
              pp. 198 ff.).

Here is an outline of the parable:

        1.  THE CALL.   "Come, for everything is  now  ready."  The
         original  call  for  reconciliation  with God went out to the
         Jews.  The Jewish leaders and  much  of  Israel  "sold  their
         souls"  for  a  pittance, instead of accepting their Messiah.
         Not only did the Jews reject the  Christ,  but  most  of  the
         Gentile  world  has  also, choosing to believe the lie of the

        2.  THE  CANCELLATIONS.  "Please  excuse  me."  Note that the
         invited  guests  allowed things that are not sinful  in
         themselves to keep them from the banquet.   However , the
         legitimate concerns became sinful,  because they were made
         into  idols--they  were placed before God.  (Trench, NOTES ON
         THE PARABLES OF OUR LORD, p. 128).    Here  are  the  excuses

             2.1  Possessions--"I have just bought a field."

              2.2  Pride--"I have just bought five yoke of oxen."
                   (Today, this could be a new car, boat, home.)

              2.3  Passions--"I just got married."

  Satan baits his hook with the above human bait.  He catches
         many.  However, it is not too late for the fish to "spit  out
         the hook!"

        3.   THE CANVASSING.  "Go out...and make them come in."  When
         the Jewish leaders rejected Christ, the invitation  went  out
         to   tax   gatherers   and   sinners.    This  group  readily
         acknowledged that they were sinners and saw  their  need  for
         the  Savior.  The religious leaders had so rationalized their
         hypocrisy that they did not see themselves as sinners--a very
         sad and tragic condition.  However, even these can be saved:

  And the Lord's servant must not quarrel;
                   instead,  he must be kind to everyone,
                   able to teach, not resentful.  Those  who
                   oppose  him  he  must gently instruct, in
                   the  hope  that  God will grant them
                   repentance leading them to a knowledge of
                   the truth, and that they will come to
                   their senses and escape from the trap of
                   the devil, who has taken them captive  to
                   do his will.    (2 Timothy 2:24-26, New
                   International Version).

         The third group to receive the invitation were the Gentiles.
         However, God has not written off the Jews, as we  have  noted
         earlier in this book.

   Earle abstracts four very  important  truths  from  this
         parable  (Turnbull,  Gen. ed., PROCLAIMING THE NEW TESTAMENT,
         THE GOSPEL OF LUKE, by Ralph Earle,  p. 64):

             1.  Every person is free to accept or reject God's call.

              2.  Not everyone accepts God's call.

              3.  The  lost  are  lost because they reject Christ, not

                   because of an arbitrary Choice of God.

              4.  We have a basis for strong, aggressive evangelism,
                   based on love.

                                 Central Truth

  Since it is the heart cry of our  Heavenly  Father  that
 everyone accept his Son and be saved, we must be about
 our Father's business of evangelism.    END.