KINGDOM AND GARDEN
Read: Luke 14:15-24
” 15 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.”16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’18 “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.’19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’21 “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.’ 22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ” (NIV Luke 14:15-24)
Study: The idea of the “Great Banquet” the Messiah would host for God’s people at the end of the age went back 700 years before Jesus (Isaiah 25:6-9). Most rabbis thought the Banquet would be for them, and people a lot like them. Yet this parable, comparing God’s Kingdom to a wonderful wedding feast, said there were poor, blind and lame guests at the table. Jesus knew many of the “invited” guests were refusing to attend his Kingdom feast. His picture of the final guest list at the feast would have shocked many of his hearers. Wedding banquets in Jesus’ time often lasted for days and were the greatest highlight of most people’s lives. Yet in the parable, some found excuses not to attend the banquet. What are some excuses we use in our own lives to not attend God’s feast? How easy or hard do you find it to believe that God’s Kingdom will in fact be like the most wonderful experience you can imagine?
Pray: Dear God, I want to find a seat at your table, to take part in your great Banquet. Help me not to hoard your invitation just for myself, but to have a heart that wants to see everyone there. Amen.