Tag: shut out

Excuses!

Scripture reading for April 11th: Luke 14:7-35

Jesus was eating at the house of a prominent Pharisee and they were watching Him very carefully.  Jesus was also watching them!  He noticed how they all tried to pick places of honor at the table.  He used this setting to teach them humility and warned them not to try and take the place of honor, but to take the lowest place.  Then the host could place them where he wanted.   This would be less humiliating than the host removing them from their seat of honor.  Jesus put it simply:   “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be  exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)

Jesus also told the host, this prominent Pharisee, that when he had a banquet he should invite the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.  This would bring blessing to his house, because God would repay him at the resurrection of the righteous.  (Luke 14:12-15)  This evoked a response from one at the table,”Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus answered this man with another story about a certain man who was preparing a great banquet and had invited many guests.  When the appointed time for this banquet came, the servant was sent out to remind the invited guests of the feast.  All the invited guests had excuses!  One bought a field and must go see it.  Another just purchased some new oxen to work his field and must try them out.  Still another had recently married and must be with his wife.  This angered the host of this banquet, and he ordered his servant to go out into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, crippled, blind and lame.  He wanted his house to be full, but none of the invited guests who made excuses would have a place at his table! (Luke 14:21-24)

As we ponder this teaching of Jesus, we sense that the “certain man” is God!  He invited the Jews to His banquet first, but many made excuses!  These would be shut out, and God’s servants would be sent to the Gentiles!  God’s house would be filled!  The humble pay attention and respond to God’s invitation while the proud are left out.  Remember, the lowest seat at His table is far better than being left out!  Don’t make excuses!

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Parable of the Wedding Banquet!

Scripture reading for October 12th: Matthew 20-23

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.” Matthew 22:2-3

Why did Jesus give this parable and who did he give it to?  We read in the previous chapter that the chief priests and Pharisees knew that the parables that they heard were about them and they were afraid of the people.  They were jealous because many people were following Jesus and thought He was a prophet.  (Matthew 21:45-46)  They were looking for a way to arrest Jesus but he just gave them another parable.  We have no commentary on this parable here in Matthew but the story is easy to understand in the context.

The king was God the Father who sent His only son to earth.  His plan was to gather a bride for His son from those who would believe and follow Him.  He came to the Jews first and they were invited to the great wedding banquet.  Israel was long considered the betrothed wife of God!  When the banquet was ready, servants were sent to remind the guests of the banquet and their need to respond and come.  These servants were the prophets, up to and  including John the Baptist.  The people of Israel gave lots of excuses and for the most part failed to respond.  Worse than that, they beat the servants of the King and killed them. (Matthew 22:5-7)  The king sent his army and destroyed those murderers and their city.  This likely refers to the Babylonian captivity.

The King then instructs His servants to go into the highways and on the street corners and find those who will come to His Son’s wedding banquet.  Many respond, good and bad, to the urgent invitation.  This speaks of the church sent out to the world to preach the Gospel to all people.  Many respond, good and bad.  One attended the banquet not properly clothed.  This person was confronted and then escorted out.  This man was speechless because he knew the proper clothing but in rebellion chose not to wear it.  He was bound and cast out into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 22:13)

“Many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)  Jesus concluded this parable with these sobering words.  The invitation to His wedding banquet has gone out to all the world.  Many have responded and others have chosen to not respond for various excuses.  These excuses will keep them out of the joys of the King’s presence.  Others choose to come on their own terms and will be forcibly cast out at the last judgment.  Only the robes given by the King’s Son will be proper attire.  Have you accepted the King’s invitation?  Are you wearing the proper garment?

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