Those of you whom are married, do you remember what sort of meal you had at your reception? Some of you right now are trying to remember back that far and its not coming back to ya; it’s there, it’s just not coming back. That’s ok. I remember what we had; it was cheese and chocolate fondue. Oh my, thank Jesus for cheese and chocolate – individually of course but if they do happen to come together I won’t complain. And yes, I did say fondue so those of you who were born after the 80’s just get over it, or if you don’t know what it is then just ask your parents. Fondue is a blessed thing.
The Bible speaks of meals, food and feasts quite often. A banquet or feast would be a time of great fun and joy, with music, dancing, along with eating choice foods and wines. The guests would have received special invitations. During the meal, the guests would relax and recline, leaning upon one arm while they used the other to eat.
One interesting way to observe human history is through a course of meals; that in the beginning Adam & Eve ate of the goodness and blessedness of and with God. Later, they chose to eat without God which separated them from the fullness of His presence. Throughout time, God is restoring His people with meals such as the Passover when a lamb was sacrificed for each family to eat and escape death. The OT looks forward to a day when “the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged win well refined” (Isaiah 25:6). When Jesus comes and spends time upon the earth, He is often found eating and drinking with friends, disciples and sinners (Matthew 9:10-11; Luke 5:30, 33). Further, Jesus celebrates the Passover meal with His disciples as a remembrance of God’s deliverance but also pointing to His own body as a means of rescue from sin and death for God’s people (Luke 22:14-22). After Jesus’ death and resurrection he actually eats breakfast with the disciples (John 21:12). But most of all, history is moving towards a time for all believers to gather together to celebrate a glorious meal fully restored into the presence of God (Matthew 22:2; Luke 14:15).
One of the reasons we eat, celebrate and party today is because it is a foretaste of what life will be like in the kingdom of God.
Luke 14:15 “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:16 Jesus says, “For I will not eat of it [this Passover meal] again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
1Corinthians 11:26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
Revelations 19:6-8 “6 Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying: Hallelujah —because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign! 7 Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. 8 She was permitted to wear fine linen, bright and pure. For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.”
What is your view of the kingdom of God and Heaven? Unfortunately many view it as another boring church experience (I hope that is not true for you of our church). However, Heaven is like a great banquet. It is an experience like no other. The Host – the Lord Jesus, is one to meet. There will be an extravagant menu and a generous guest list; it is an open invitation to come and eat but you can only enter through one door – that where the Host is. And although many are invited, few will actually enter in. Will you be sitting at this dinner table?
EXAMINE Kingdom: Compelling Luke 14:12-24
As we have noted, Jesus is a great teacher in the Gospels. Many call him “Rabbi” while many others are simply part of the crowd as they captivated by the power and profundity of Jesus’ teaching as well as engaged by His skill at telling stories.
Scholar Craig Blomberg notes, “Jesus has three main topics of interest [in telling parables]: the graciousness of God, the demands of discipleship and the dangers of disobedience… The central theme uniting all the lessons of the parables is the kingdom of God.”
Jesus’ central message (and John the Baptist’s before him) was the arrival of that awaited kingdom. The Kingdom is mentioned 41x in Luke’s Gospel. The kingdom of God is the dominion (dominance) of the King. It is about God and His power to bring about His promises. God’s kingdom is where His will advances and evil retreats.
Today’s passage will examine a few specific and personal applications about God’s kingdom.
- 1. All are invited, especially the unlikeliest, but few will actually come (14:12-20)
According to the context of the chapter (14:1), Jesus was having dinner with a crowd of religious leaders. These leaders were watching Him carefully and trying to trap Him in His teaching. Jesus began to speak of God’s kingdom as a banquet. He could see at the dinner He was at, that everyone was trying to impress others. It was kind of a “who’s who” dinner invitation list. And yet, as Jesus considered the banquet at the kingdom of God, this dinner was nothing like it. The invitation and guest list Jesus seeks is to those who “cannot repay you”. What sort of man says this? One who sees life not with eyes of pleasure and possessions of this world but with the preparations for all of eternity.
In other words, Jesus is inviting all manner of people – the uneducated, illegitimate, the outcaste, the downcast, the low class. These sorts of people are undeserving of God’s kingdom, yet that is the very point Jesus is making with this parable. “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (14:15) You must realize that you can never enter God’s kingdom unless you repent of your self-worth, self-justification and pride. This is why it is hard for many in North America to understand Christianity, because deep down they think everyone is going to Heaven and most certainly that includes themselves.
Yet, the essential of actually walking with God is foreign to contemporary Christianity. People like the idea of going to Heaven but walking with God and obeying His commands? Never. In fact, they will have some of the lamest excuses.
– “I bought a field. I have to go see it.” Would not the field still be there after the banquet?
– “I bought 5 yoke of oxen. I have to examine.” Would you not have examined them first?
– “I married a wife.” As if the wife wouldn’t have liked to go to a party, eat fine food and meet people.
ð Are you walking with God and obeying His commands or do you have a lame excuse?
Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 7:21).
ð Will you realize your net worth never will supersede Jesus’ worth? Therefore, humble yourself before the Lord and ask for grace.
- 2. All guests must transition to hosts; inviting others to taste & see goodness of God (14:21-23)
After receiving the lame excuses of why persons, though invited, did not attend the banquet, the master commanded the servant to invite others, those in the streets and lanes of the city. The servant said this has been done but there was still more room. The master then commanded to go to those in the highways and hedges; those far away and hard to reach places to compel people.
In the kingdom of God, servants must not be satisfied with having a seat at the table. There are still more empty seats. There is more space for more people. The spaciousness is not for the servant’s comfort but to motivate the servant’s compassion to bring more in.
Paul said, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others… for the love of Christ compels us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2Corinthians 5:11, 14)
Recently, Lifeway Research just did a study and found that
– 61% of protestant church goers have not shared how to become a Christian with anyone in the past 6 months
– 48% have not invited anyone to church in the past 6 months
– 20% have rarely/never prayed for people who are not professing Christians
ð What will it take to move guests to hosts? What will it take to turn church members into faith sharers?
ð Stop and pray; who is God putting on your heart to invite to church or share about your faith with?
ð At SPBC, we need to maximize the gift of hospitality. Many have this gift but almost entirely used internally; how can we love others through relationships with those who are far from God and in hard to reach places?
- 3. All may smell the food but they may miss tasting of God’s goodness (14:24)
Lastly, the master in this parable says that there will be missed opportunities. Those who were invited and had lame excuses will not have another chance. They were invited, smelled the food but they never got to actually taste it. This is a somber summary of the parable.
Sometimes we wander in the supernatural so casually. We can be indifferent or relaxed when God wants us to have a sense of immediacy and urgency.
ð Do not put off until tomorrow what God is calling you to do today.
ð The Master is inviting you to the banquet.
- Will you eat?
- Will you share with others?
 Cf. Luke 3:4–6; 4:18–21, 43; 6:20; 13:18–19; 16:16; 17:21.