In Luke 14:15-24, Jesus told the story of an invitation to a great banquet. That story has important lessons for everyone. Jesus is giving a warning to his listeners not to miss the greatest invitation of all. An invitation that comes from heaven.
In that parable, the host prepared a great banquet and invited many guests. His guests must have been people of some importance who were expected to accept the man’s invitation. The host must have been an influential person, with position, power and wealth. And surely, anyone who had received such an invitation would gladly accept and say, “I will be there!”.
He even sent his servant to personally invite his guests with this message: “Come, for everything is now ready” (v 17).
But the response of the man’s guests was most surprising. The guests were uncannily similar in giving all sorts of lame excuses for not accepting the invitation:
a)“I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.” (v 18)
b)“I have bought five yokes of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please excuse me.” (v 19)
c)“I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” (v 20)
When these excuses were reported to the master, he became angry. Then he did something totally unexpected. He ordered his servant to go out to the streets and alleys of the town to extend an open invitation to those who would never expect to be invited to such feasts –– the poor, crippled, blind and lame (v 21).
What an invitation! We can well imagine that if such an invitation were to be sent out to the poor and needy living in slum areas or to deprived refugees, or to the street beggars, they would immediately jump at it without hesitation. Who in such a state would reject a free meal, let alone a banquet? These people must have been in shock. Is this a dream? Is it for real?
It was a huge banquet that the master had prepared. And the servant reported that “still there is room” for more. The master wanted every seat to be occupied. No empty chairs in the banquet hall. He ordered the servant to bring more people in “so that my house may be filled” (v 23).
Let’s pause and consider this significant story and what it means to each one of us. Do we know whether we would be at the heavenly feast?
Jesus told this parable to warn people not to be presumptuous that they would be God’s guests in the heavenly banquet. Many among his listeners thought that they would be there.
The stark warning comes at the end of the story. Jesus said: “For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet” (v 24). Jesus revealed that the story points to “my banquet”. That great banquet –– prepared by Jesus, invited by Jesus, hosted by Jesus. His invitation is given to all, but will all accept this invitation?
God’s invitation to His feast is not just to a future wondrous banquet in Heaven, but also to enjoy His presence, His grace and His blessings even while on earth! It’s an invitation to “taste” Him. “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Psalm 34:8).
You are invited by Jesus to attend and taste His banquet. Will you accept and be there? Please do not miss it!
By brother Andrew Yap