Luke 14 vs 17-18. “At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” “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.”
You might recall in the previous chapter (13 vs 28-30) that the guests mentioned in that particular parable were very illustrious. They were people like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets. But in this parable the people who finally get into the feast are the exact opposite. They are the poor, crippled, blind and the lame – the outcasts of society.
These are people whose experience of life in this world was sad and full of troubles. Not only did they have their difficulties but they would also have been marginalised and ignored by the wider society because of the belief that such people were under God’s curse. Yet here they are, in this parable, at the feast enjoying all the privileges. These are the ones having all their deepest longings fulfilled in that new world.
I am so glad these words are in the scriptures because they give hope to people like you and me. We were not amongst the privileged but rather amongst the broken. We had nothing going for us and we all know that we were definitely not worthy of sharing in the Messiah’s Feast. But we are, not because of anything in us, but rather because we heard the invitation (14 vs 21, 23)) and we responded by faith in Him.
Notice that in the previous parable about a feast there were some who missed the event (13 vs 25-30). So there are too, in this parable.
But there is a difference between the two groups. In the first story they missed it unintentionally and were shut out. In this parable those who reject the invitation, do so intentionally. They deliberately declined the invitation. They have excuses, which are utterly ridiculous. Jews would have shaken their heads at this story because in that society it would have been considered the height of rudeness to decline such an invitation. In real life it would not happen. This is what made his hearers take notice. Yet, says Jesus, this is exactly what you are doing with God. You are saying “No thank you”, to the gracious invitation to salvation.
There are unbelievers alive today who reject salvation in this way. Life on earth satisfies them. They feel they do not need what God has to offer. This is because of their blindness to their true condition.
Well, they will have their choice.
They will not get a taste of the banquet (14 v 24).