The Kingdom Guest List
The Kingdom Guest List
Words of Faith 9-27-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,  and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
One of my favorite movie scenes is in "Father of the Bride" starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. After the shock of learning how much the wedding reception will cost per guest, the whole family sits down to struggle over the actual guest list. They discuss the particularities of each relationship and actually rejoice briefly upon recalling that one relative is dead, and won't require an invitation! Anyone who has been through the planning of a wedding can relate to the dilemmas relating to planning the guest list.
As Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom of God, He used the very banquet He was attending as an object lesson. Jesus proposed a radical view of Kingdom banquet etiquette, particularly related to the guest list. Everyone knew that a very special list was developed for a social or religious banquet.
The list might include friends, relatives and those who were influential. Some consideration was usually given to social "paybacks" and who might return an invitation. There was also thought given regarding who was "properly pious" such as the Pharisees or those who were "properly wealthy" and well placed such as the Sadducees.
But Jesus said that the Kingdom banquet has a guest list made according to a completely different set of criteria. Instead of inviting those we know, we invite those we do not know. Instead of inviting those who are related, we invite those who have no one. Instead of inviting those who are wealthy, who actually can give their own banquet, Jesus says to invite the poor, crippled, lame and blind. The Kingdom is about blessing those who cannot repay you, just to be a blessing from God.
The question here is really a challenge for us to consider things from the view point of God. When we think about the Kingdom it is His party! Who does God want to be invited? Who does God want to be a part of His Kingdom? How would God want me to reach out toward others? Of course this has to do with church but it is really about much more.
In the largest sense, who do we invite to God? We all need to take a look at our part of the guest list. Have you discovered the open invitation list of Jesus includes people that our culture would call outcast? Have you opened the invitation list of your heart to those who seem least likely according to the way of the world?
How about your own personal invitation? Have you responded? Have you been making excuses? We can settle some of those things today. There is a banquet that has been set before us by our Lord Jesus. The invitation is open to all. You might say, "Well I am hurting and I should not go to the banquet." This banquet is especially extended to you. Many have already responded to the invitation. If you have not, the invitation reads: "Today is the Day.”
Lord, help me to look beyond the judgments of the world. Help me see Your Kingdom possibilities and extend the invitation. Help me to see the names on Your guest list. In Jesus' name.