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                        "THE PARABLES OF JESUS"

                     The Great Supper (Lk 14:15-24)


1. In our last study, we found Jesus at the house of one of the rulers
   of the Pharisees...
   a. He had gone there to eat bread on the Sabbath - Lk 14:1
   b. Watched closely by the lawyers and Pharisees who were present,
      Jesus healed a man with dropsy, and silenced their objections to
      Him healing on the Sabbath - Lk 14:2-6
   c. Noticing how they were choosing the best places to sit, Jesus
      taught the parable of "Taking The Lowest Place" to teach the
      importance of humility - Lk 14:7-11

2. It was on this same occasion that Jesus taught another parable...
   a. Known as the parable of "The Great Supper", it is recorded in
      Lk 14:15-24
   b. One immediately notices similarities between this parable and the
      parable of "The Wedding Feast", found in Mt 22:1-14

3. But these parables are not one and the same...
   a. The occasion is different
      1) The parable of "The Wedding Feast" was actually told later in
         Jesus' ministry, during His final week, and in the Temple
      2) The parable of "The Great Supper" was told much earlier, and
         at the house of the Pharisee
   b. The application is different
      1) The parable of "The Wedding Feast" appears directed more to
         the nation of Israel as a whole, in rejecting the Son of the
         King - cf. Mt 22:1-3
      2) The parable of "The Great Supper" does not appear to have such
         a limited focus, thus its application may hit a little closer
         to home

[Since it "hits closer to home", we want to be careful to make whatever
application of this parable we can.  Let's begin with some preliminary


      1. Again, Jesus is eating at the house of one of the rulers of 
         the Pharisees, along with a number of lawyers and Pharisees 
         - Lk 14:1-6
         a. He had just told the parable of "Taking The Lowest Place" 
            - Lk 14:7-11
         b. He then tells His host that when he has a dinner or a 
            supper, that he ought to invite those who cannot repay him
            - Lk 14:12-14
            1) Jesus is not saying that we can "never" have our 
               friends, etc., over
            2) His language here is similar to that found in Jn 6:27
               a) Where, taken literally, one might conclude it is 
                  wrong to work for a living
               b) But the "do not this...but do this" is a grammatical
                  way to stress what should be emphasized
               c) In this case, spiritual food is more important than
                  physical food
               d) Another example of this type of language is found in
                  1 Pe 3:3-4
            3) So He is stressing hospitality towards those who cannot
               repay us in this life
      2. Jesus' comments prompt a response from one who heard Him - Lk
         a. "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!"
         b. This saying was likely precipitated by Jesus' reference to
            the being repaid at the resurrection of the just - cf. Lk
         c. "The language of Christ implied that God himself would 
            feast those who feasted the poor, and this implication
            accorded with the Jewish notion that the kingdom of God 
            would be ushered in with a great festival. Inspired by this
            thought, and feeling confident that he should have been 
            part of the festivities, this guest exclaimed upon the 
            anticipated blessedness." (MCGARVEY)
         d. That the speaker would refer to eschatological blessings in
            the symbolism of a heavenly banquet was not out of place 
            - cf. Mt 8:11-12; Re 19:9
         -- It is this comment by the other guest that prompts Jesus to
            tell another parable...

      1. A certain man gives a great supper and extends his invitation 
         - Lk 14:16-17
      2. However, those invited began to make excuses...
         a. One had bought a piece of ground, and said he must go see 
            it - Lk 14:18
         b. Another had bought five yoke of oxen, and wanted to test 
            them - Lk 14:19
         c. A third said he had married, and could not come - Lk 14:20
      3. The master, being angry, sends his servant to go out and 
         invite others...
         a. At first, the poor, maimed, lame and blind (i.e., social
            outcasts) - Lk 14:21
         b. But there is still room, so the servant is sent out again,
            to compel those among the highways and hedges to come - Lk 
      4. But those invited who made excuses would not taste of his 
         supper - Lk 14:24

[Jesus does not explain the meaning of this parable, so we are left on
our own.  Here are some thoughts in regards to...


      1. The great supper likely symbolizes the time after the 
         resurrection - cf. Lk 14:14-15
      2. As indicated above, the blessings of the kingdom of heaven in
         its eternal state are often depicted in the figure of great 
         feast - cf. Mt 8:11-12; Re 19:9
      3. Paul writes of the wonderful blessings yet to come - cf. Ep
      4. John writes of the vision he saw relating to these blessings 
         - Re 21:1-7, 9-12; 22:1-5
      -- Whatever these symbols represent, who would not want to 
         experience it?

      1. God has graciously extended the invitation of salvation, along
         with its future blessings, to many
         a. To the Jew first, and also to the Greek (i.e., the 
            Gentiles) - cf. Ro 1:16
         b. God certainly desires all to be saved, not wanting any to
            perish - 1 Ti 2:3-6; Ti 2:11; 2 Pe 3:9
         c. And so the invitation has been made to all - cf. Re 22:17
      2. Sadly, though, many will not accept the invitation, making 
         excuses instead
         a. These excuses may involve things that within themselves are
            1) Such as business responsibilities - cf. Lk 14:18-19
            2) Such as family responsibilities - cf. Lk 14:20
         b. The problem is that priorities are misplaced, and one 
            should not allow earthly matters to take priority over
            spiritual matters - cf. Mt 6:33; Lk 10:38-42

      1. Many understand the parable to have initial reference to the
         offer of the gospel to Gentiles after its rejection by the 
         Jews - e.g., Mt 21:43
      2. Others see the reference to the offer of salvation to the 
         publicans and sinners after its rejection by the religious
         leaders of that day - e.g., Mt 21:31-32
      3. Might we not make application to ourselves today?
         a. Many "in the church" often make excuses for not serving the
            Lord as they should
         b. Yet with a spirit of self-righteousness they expect to be
            "guests at the great supper"
         c. In the end, though, it will be the humble, often despised
            yet ever faithful, servants of the Lord who shall "taste my
            supper" - cf. Lk 14:24

1. The Lord has certainly prepared a wonderful "supper", and has 
   extended the invitation to all:
   "Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the
   Lamb." (Re 19:9)

   "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!'  And let him who hears
   say, 'Come!'  And let him who thirst come.  And whoever desires,
   let him take the water of life freely." (Re 22:17)

2. The danger is allowing the affairs of life to keep us from accepting
   this gracious invitation:

   "But they all with one accord began to make excuses..." (Lk 14:18a)

Are you prone to make excuses in responding to the call of the Lord?  
May the parable of "The Great Supper" serve as a warning to us all!
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