If you were invited to a wedding in the Caribbean (this summer after the virus cleared) with 5 star hotel accommodations, open bar and buffets on the beach all paid for, would you go? In real life those invited to a free banquet in this parable would hardly refuse an invitation! When this occurred in Jesus parable, no doubt his listeners sat up and listened to what happened next.
“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.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’” (Vs. 18-20)
Jesus offered three examples of excuses offered to the host. The excuses came from the ordinary course of business and family life. They were polite. “Please excuse me”
What do you think these same people if invited to another banquet a year later would have said? Doubtless business would be more demanding; more acres and more livestock would have been purchased. Family life would have been more engrossing.
Were these good excuses? Before you answer, consider this story. A man asked his neighbor if he could borrow a ladder. Sorry, I can’t let you borrow the ladder, said the neighbor, it’s leaning against the wall and it keeps the wall from falling down. Why that’s ridiculous declared the man, your ladder doesn’t hold up the wall!” True, the neighbor replied but when you don’t want to do something one excuse is as good as another.”
Most people agree that these business people would have not bought a piece of property or yolk of oxen sight unseen. They would have looked at the property or the oxen first. And newly married people went to parties as well to get established socially, it was insulting not to and a young man would want to look good in the eyes of the community for his social business reasons; so this doesn’t make sense. What all these boil down to are just excuses.
- Excuses reveal my priorities.
- Life consists of priorities and choices. I give my attention to my priorities.
When I was single and very busy someone mentioned dating or girlfriend and I remarked that I was glad there wasn’t one because I don’t have time for her. They said and I’ll never forget, “You will make time for what is important to you.” So when the Lord brought Niki into my life I did make time for her and I still do because she is important to me.
I will make time for what is important to me.
When you say, I don’t have time Lord, You have just revealed where the Lord is in your priorities. So we make excuses… Our excuses are just as silly as theirs were.
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant…” (Vs. 21)
Notice that the host hurt. How do you feel when people give you lame excuses? We would be angry and the host in the story is angry too.
The spiritual meaning is that if you refuse God’s invitation to salvation, you risk receiving his anger. Rejection hurts. There is no pain like rejection. God feels this too.
If I refuse God’s invitation to salvation, I will receive his anger.
Am I Inviting Others? (21-24)
If I have accepted God’s invitation to his party, I need to invite others.
“…Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” (Vs. 21c&d)
Wait a minute! This is where the town beggars and outcasts stayed YES! “bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” These groups represent people that begged for a living; people that were dirty or drunk, bums and the homeless. Normally they would not be invited to banquets.
- Jesus is saying that salvation is free to all people, even those I might consider undesirable.
In college if you try to join a certain sorority or fraternity you may not be accepted. They may black ball you. Some churches even won’t receive you. But Christ will! No matter who you are or what you have done, Christ accepts you.
A minister in Minnesota observed the hurt feelings of and depression of high school students without dates on Senior Prom Night. John Carlson decided to do something for those not in the popular and beautiful crowd. He planned an alternative party for all those without dates on prom night. It took place on the same night as the Senior Prom and the students loved it. There was no stopping this party, the press heard about it and spread the news. A large corporation decided to give watches to all those who attended. Other companies soon joined in. Soon a bag full of gifts was given to everyone at the alternative prom. It had more to offer. Some students who even could get date wouldn’t so they could go. It was better party.
Heaven is the best party and it lasts forever. Some of the “best” people (in the world’s eyes), the rich and famous, may not be there. They need to accept the invitation. They are too busy making money, movies, partying to accept God’s invitation.
“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’” (Vs. 22)
This passage suggests the enormity of the party. There is always room for one The salvation of God is open to all who will respond.
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel (KJV) them to come in, so that my house will be full.’” (Vs. 23)
We have searched the city now go into the country! This is where the lepers, outlaws and outcasts would be. The banquet is for all people, all of us together, all races, classes, all people for Jesus. We who have accepted God’s invitation to the Party, we need to compel others to come to the party.
Notice the phrase “make them or compel them to come in” This is great. Some people will need some prodding. We are not to force them. But we are to lovingly be persistent. They may be reluctant at first to come.
- Some people will need some prodding to come. They may be reluctant at first to come. Don’t force them – be lovingly persistent.
“I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.” (Vs. 24)
If I fail to accept God’s invitation, I will not enjoy the blessings of his salvation. I will be separated from God.
To each of us today Jesus issues the same urgent invitation, “Come for everything is now ready” Will you come? If you’re a seeker or unbeliever, Christ invites you just as you are. You don’t have to do anything except receive Jesus and his invitation to heaven.
As a believer I am responsible to invite others.
For those of you who are believers you are responsible to invite others: friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We are God’s servants to bring others. Do you know how Peter came to be a disciple? His brother Andrew brought him to Jesus. He said, “Hey Pete, come see this guy who may be the Messiah” Peter had to be invited! Did you know Billy Graham became a Christian because someone invited him to a revival service? I am not saying to be obnoxious or rude. Just care enough to invite someone. This day with the corona virus we can’t invite to an actual building but we can invite to our streaming service. You don’t have to be a Billy Graham or an Apostle Peter but you could invite one who could become one.
One problem in American Christianity today is that we focus on “me, my needs, my spiritual growth” and our faith becomes stagnant and selfish. We are not to focus on ourselves if we know Christ, but others. If there is a problem in an area, one of the first things to look at is selfishness. If your marriage is not right, one or both parties is being selfish. If your Spiritual life is stagnant, ask yourself, “Am I being selfish?” We are to be inviting others and serving others. This is what it is to be God’s servant. This story is only a few chapters after Jesus sent out the 72 (his 12 disciples and 60 others) to the towns and villages around. (Luke 10) They were sent, they were not to sit around and study or sing “kumbaya.” There are people ready to come, ready to be invited, ready to have someone who cares for them, but few who will invite, few who will care. Will you believer, care enough to invite?