Have you ever had dinner with a famous person? If so, you probably paid a high price.
In 2016 at Hillary Clinton fundraiser event in San Francisco; for two seats at the head table with Clinton, George Clooney and his wife, attorney Amal Clooney, a couple must contribute a whopping $353,400!
Closer to home, when Donald Trump held a fundraiser event in Austin, Texas, at a reception, the tickets topped $100,000 per couple.
Dining with a famous person is not something for the masses. Only a few get that privilege.
Today I want to remind each of us that we all can have dinner with Jesus. You would think that everyone would jump at that opportunity, but as we will see in this parable, many turn down the invitation. I want to show you how you can be sure that there will be a place at the table with your name on it.
“A certain man was preparing a great banquet” Luke: 14:16
The “certain man” in this story represents God. This much is obvious and not usually debated. What is interesting and instructive is that this man, who represents God, is “preparing a great banquet.” In other words, God is preparing for a celebration.
This is a rather shocking picture of God for many people today. God is usually perceived as the Heavenly Sheriff who’s ready to give you a ticket for the slightest infraction, or he is perceived like a miserly boss at work who you hope to please by enough hard work and sacrifice. Rarely is God perceived as one who would throw a party or a banquet, yet in the Bible this is a regular theme and presentation.
For instance, in the story of the Prodigal Son, the father who represents God in the story throws a party or banquet for the son upon his return. Revelation 19:9 refers to God’s people participating in a great party known as the “Great Wedding Supper or Banquet of the Lamb.” In Isaiah 55 God invites everyone to freely come and share at his table where there is “wine and milk” and you can “eat what is good and delight in the richest of fare.” Even the religious life for the ancient Israelites revolved around seven feast or celebrations. Considering all these things it is very evident that God isn’t what some people perceive Him tom be. He loves to celebrate and prepares for his people to experience his joyous celebrations.
I want you to understand what God is truly like! People constantly think that God wants to take something away from them. People think that following God means a joyless existence because God is stern and demanding. This understanding of God is a caricature of religion and not the reality of God’s character.
…and invited many guests.” (Vs. 16)
It was customary to in that day to send two invitations. One to announce the event: days or weeks before the event occurred. The second, a verbal summons to tell the guests everything was ready. It seems strange to us today but both Jewish society and Roman society of that day practiced the courtesy of sending a personal summons at the dinner hour.
The guests in Jesus story insulted the host by making excuses when he issued the second invitation. In Israel’s history God’s first invitation came from Moses and the prophets. The second invitation came from Jesus, (God in the flesh). The religious leaders accepted the first invitation, but they wouldn’t accept Jesus. They insulted God by refusing to accept Jesus.
- What is this party or banquet referring to? Heaven
A man’s comment causes Jesus to tell this parable. He said, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Luke 14:15
What is this banquet or party referring to? Salvation or entering God’s Kingdom, it is an invitation to God’s house. If you’re invited to someone’s house for the first time, there is element of curiosity, anticipation and excitement. What does their house look like?, what kind of food will there be? What will we do, what will we talk about? This is an invitation to God’s house.
“Everything is now ready” stated the invitation This is no potluck supper. You and I are not required to bring anything … but ourselves to the Lord’s Party.
The invitation is very simple. Come
“At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” (Vs. 17)
Not a word about “do this” and then I can come, “clean up my act” and then I can come. I am extended a “just as I am” invitation.
We cannot achieve heaven and we can’t earn it. It is complete. It’s done. We just have to come. All that is missing from the party is you. All that is missing from the party are those that don’t come.
The servant was not selling tickets for admission. It was not a $5,000 a plate fundraiser. It wasn’t a benefit supper where you kick in whatever you feel led. It wasn’t even a kingdom potluck, where you bring a main dish and salad or dessert. The master says, “Come, for everything is ready now.” All you need to bring is yourself. It is totally free for you, because the host picked up the tab. You eat at His expense.
This is one of the most beautiful things about God’s gospel invitation, and yet it is one of the most difficult things for people to accept because it means that they cannot take any credit for themselves. If they can offer something in exchange for the meal, they feel better about it, but to come and eat freely is an affront to their dignity and pride. But there is only one way that God offers His salvation: He pays for it all and all you can do is come and receive it freely.
Will you receive God’s gift of salvation for free? We are so used to paying big bucks for an event, but heaven is not like the world’s events.
To see the Master’s Golf Tournament with 4 Day Competition Seated Tickets – $6,000 – $7,296.
TED talk tickets start at $5000 dollars topping out at the Patron Level for $250,000.
To see this year’s Super Bowl 2020, the ticket prices heated up to an average price of $10,835
Helena Aguiar had come all the way from São Paulo, Brazil, for a front-row seat to see her favorite band, and she got it: a black metal folding chair with a gold and cherry-red Bon Jovi logo on the cushion, hers to take home. The price: $1,750.
“It was an amazing experience, even more than I dreamed,” Ms. Aguiar, 25, gushed after the show at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey Pennsylvania.
People pay big money for one night or one event. Heaven is “an amazing experience, more than we could ever dream.” And it’s free for us, but Jesus paid it all!
Have your responded to the invitation?
For more about how to Accept Christ, pray this prayer:
“Dear Jesus, thank You for loving me even though I’m a sinner. I ask for your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sin and that You rose from the dead. I trust You as my Savior and follow You as Lord, from this day forward. Amen.”