Words of Faith 9-28-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
 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 lame.'
 " 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'
 "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.' "
Jesus was teaching remarkable truth about the Kingdom of God through the cultural lessons of the very banquet he was attending. He taught about the seating chart and the invitation list in the Kingdom. Finally Jesus concerned Himself with the way people respond to the invitation to a banquet.
There was a very clear process of invitation and response in the ancient world. First, invitations were sent or communicated by a servant in person. An initial response was given by those invited, as a sort of RSVP, and sent back to the host. Then, on the actual day of the banquet, because people had no watches, a second invitation was brought by a servant who came to say: "Now is the time of the banquet."
It would be extremely rude for a person to first indicate that they would attend and then decline the second invitation on the day of the banquet. Because this was such an offense, an excuse of some sort had to be sent back to the host through the servant.
A man at the table seemed to be getting the idea about what this feast was about. He said: "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." So Jesus told another parable about a man who gave the first invitation but when the time came for the banquet, all the people started sending back excuses.
All the excuses were things that a person would have known about in plenty of time to plan around. "I have a new field.” “I have some new oxen.” “I just got married.” All the excuses were things that had been predictable or could be changed. So here was a man who had made all the banquet preparations of food and wine. He had everything set but the people invited were not coming!
What do you do when you have a party all prepared and no one is coming? Let it go to waste? Throw it all away? Take the food to a rescue mission?
The owner of the house decided to extend the invitation more broadly. He 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 lame.' But there was still room!
"'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' "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.' "The Kingdom is a banquet invitation extended to any who will hear and come.”
So what was Jesus trying to teach to us as He dined at the house of a prominent Pharisee?
We are invited to God's banquet. We need to get the seating straight. Don't push for the seat of honor. Instead take the lowest seat. If you are asked to move up then you will be honored. Get the list straight. It is not for the wealthy and well connected; it is for everyone, especially for the poor the lame and the hurting. We do not invite the poor and hurting simply to exploit them, as the ruling Pharisee did in this case.
An invitation is extended and all are invited including religious people and pious people. We may make great fanfare of how we have responded to the invitation of God. But when the second invitation comes it may be the invitation to reach out to someone that is beyond our comfort zone. When the second invitation comes it may be inconvenient. You may not have everything in order-- new ox, new land, newly wed.
God invites us. We respond saying, yes, I am called Christian. Yes, I am called disciple. Yes, I am called Church member. But what happens when the second invitation arrives which says: Here is the real cost of being Christian, the response of being a disciple, or the commitment of a being a Church member. Here is a "Banquet Moment" where He wants us to DO the Word of God. Here is a place where God wants to share His compassion through me.
Where are you today?
Lord, help me to see Your Kingdom and respond to the second invitations that come my way. I want to join the party You have planned every day. In Jesus' name.