He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
Comment: Following on from yesterday’s passage where Jesus told a story about allowing the Feast-giver to place you in an honoured seat he tells two more feast situations. He was a Rabbi (teacher) and therefore was to be respected but He was from Galilee a despised area, and I feel that they were already questioning along these lines – ‘who did He think He was to lecture them?’
- Then he said something like this. ‘If you are going to spend your money on feeding people, feed the hungry, invite the unwanted. Go beyond just seeking a re-invite later. That pleases God.’ I am pretty certain that this upset the other invited guests even more.
- Then Jesus becomes obviously challenging to their ideas. Trying to defuse any tenseness, someone made the comment that to be part of God’s people was to be assured of a seat at the table in the Kingdom of God. The ‘kingdom of God’ was for the Jews and they would be blessed. To be there would be enough. They were racist and as He told this third feast talk, they now clearly knew that He was talking at them. The Jewish leaders were seeking to kill Him. They had rejected His message. They were the people in His parable who were too busy to be involved in the Banquet. The truly outsiders (the gentiles and those whom they saw as inferior) were invited to the feast. The whip-lash was ‘if you reject Me, God will still call others into His Kingdom’. The Master would have his feast
If I have commented correctly and, as always, I say read the passage well and see if I understood it correctly, then Jesus was not the wishy-washy, lovey-dovey peddler of a soft message and emotional love that people sometimes want to paint! We are challenged to listen and act according to His teaching. Mind you, He did go on to the Cross on their/our behalf that they/we might be forgiven if they/we only believe!
Prayer: Please help me to see that your Kingdom is not racist but that your call is to all men, but whoever we are we need to respond.