Today I want to share some thoughts on The Parable of the Great Banquet in the Gospel of Luke.

Usually, when I go through a parable, I explain who the characters are in the parable and what’s going on. However, I don’t want to do that today with the Parable of the Great Banquet. At least, that’s not going to be my main focus. Instead, I will go straight to how this parable relates to us and give some observations.

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 14:15 (NIV)

The guest who said this had just seen the Lord heal a man and rebuke the Pharisees present and the host of the dinner. Therefore, I don’t think the man was being insincere or trying to win the Lord’s favor. I think the guest was earnestly excited over the prospect of eating at the feast in the Kingdom of God. I do wonder why the person thought they would be invited? Obviously, they did, or they wouldn’t have made the remark. 

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 ‘ (emphasis added).

Luke 14:16-18 (NIV)

I wrote yesterday about how everyone wants to go to heaven. This is what I see expressed by the guest in verse 15. Excitement about attending the feast in the Kingdom. I’ve noticed in church that people get excited when the church is doing something big. We’re now into October, and Christmas isn’t far away. It’s that time of the year when people want to go to church because it’s the thing to do. Like the people in Luke 14 who wanted the best seats at the banquet and went to be seen, people do the same thing at Christmas. They want to be seen going to church. Thus, we are at a time when churches start to put together their holiday productions. 

Yet, for all the excitement about the holidays, few people in the church want to help. This is true for the rest of the year as well. Everybody typically wants to see the church do better and have a hospitable atmosphere. Still, it’s always the same people doing the work. 

Like the three guests who refuse to attend the banquet, people come up with ridiculous excuses for why they don’t want to help. Some habitually volunteer and habitually make excuses as to why they can’t fulfill their obligations. However, the excuses don’t stop with things like volunteering. Some don’t go to church on Sunday, attend Bible Study, or fellowship with one another because of “reasons.” All of the same people who might be “excited” about Jesus but don’t want to do anything for Jesus. Yet, they aren’t really doing it for Him. Does He benefit? No, it’s for their souls and those who are not yet saved. People like to get excited about Christmas productions but don’t want to help. 

In the Parable of the Great Banquet, the man sends his servant out to invite everyone to the banquet after the originally invited guests give excuses as to why they aren’t coming; “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” and after they’ve been invited, there’s still room, so more people are asked to fill the house (Luke 14:21 NIV). Then, the man holding the banquet gives this promise.

“I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”

Luke 14:24 (NIV)

We’re only hurting ourselves when we make an excuse to not do something, to not serve others, not go to church, read the Bible, go to Bible Study, etc. We mature slower because we’re still putting ourselves first. Even though God prepared good things for us to do in advance, he always makes a way to get the things that need to be done. Even if we’re “too busy” to do what we ought to do.