Ed Motschiedler, Secretary
Columbia Union Conference
Summary: The good news of the gospel is that the Holy Spirit keeps knocking, reminding us of the feast. And He will do so until, at our last breath, or at the end of probation, we tell God we do not want to come.
Introduction. I would like to introduce you to the unsung hero of the parable of the great banquet. In this parable the beauty of the gospel message is illuminated. Found in Luke 14: 15-24, the parable is often thought of as a parable of the judgment.
A key point of this story was that the opportunity to accept Christ would go first to the Jews, and after that, to the Gentiles. Like all of Christ’s parables, however, there is a message for us today. As we set the stage for this gospel illustration, let me describe the characters of the story.
Enter, the master. In our parable, the master resolves to have a great feast. We are not told why he is giving the feast. We can assume that he has the gift of hospitality and loves to be with his friends. In an act of affection, he decides to invite his friends to a great banquet. Nothing but the finest will be served to his guests!
When the people do not show up, he instructs his servant to go out and find others to invite to the feast. He is determined that his banquet room will be full. The master in the story represents our Heavenly Father who has invited us to attend the great marriage feast of the Lamb (Rv 19:9).
Next, the servant. As was the custom, the servant would visit the homes of the guests two times to invite them to a feast. The first time he invited the people was to determine how many would attend so that the proper preparations could be made. The second visit was to remind them that the feast was ready, and that they should come.
It was common practice in a day without quartz watches and alarm clocks for the master to send his servant around some time before the feast to remind his guests. In that way, none would be embarrassed by forgetting or showing up late. We know there was a second visit because the text says ?At the time of the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ?Come, for the banquet is now ready’ ? (verse 17). We also know the servant visited every house because the text says ?but they all began to make excuses? (verse 18). I believe the work of the servant describes for us the work of the Holy Spirit today.
The invited guests. We know the guests accepted the first invitation. When approached by the servant, they said something like: ?We feel honored to be invited by your master. We are very fond of him. Tell him that we will be present for his great feast.? At the time, nothing seemed to be more important than attending the feast of their beloved friend.
When the servant came around the second time, they gave excuses as to why they wouldn’t come. The excuses—?I have bought a field, I have bought oxen, and I have just married?—were not the real reasons they weren’t attending the feast. The truth was that they had changed their minds. Other things had become more important. They didn’t want to attend the feast now. I believe this group represents those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior but have lost our first love experience and our excited anticipation of attending the marriage feast of the Lamb.
To accept an invitation and then not attend was a great insult to a host. It was a sign that the host was held in very low esteem. It was a declaration of hostility.
The real guests. A description of those who ultimately attended the feast is found in verse 20. They were not the guests invited first. But they were the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. They came, not from the impressive mansions of the suburbs, but from the streets and alleys of the city slums. We can only imagine how they felt. One moment they were scorned by most of the people in the city; the next moment they were sitting in a lavish banquet hall where the rich and famous usually eat.
The great master greeted them as his special guests and sat down with them to a wonderful feast. He treated them as if they were rich and famous. This gathering shows us that anyone who accepts the invitation will be welcome at the feast! Our presence at the banquet is not based upon anything we have done, but that we simply have accepted the invitation.
The unsung hero. To discover the unsung hero, we need to focus on the last part of verse 22 and verse 23. The master said to the servant, ?Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.?
The servant replied, ?What you ordered has been done.? He had already carried out his master’s command, even before the order was issued! For when the servant realized that none of those first invited were going to attend, on his way back to the master’s home, he stopped along the way to invite others to come to the feast. He knew how disappointed his master would be if the banquet hall was not full. Therefore, he kept knocking on doors and giving invitations. He didn’t stop until it was time for the feast to begin.
Lessons of the gospel.
The master kept sending the servant until the people refused to come. When I had my ?first love? experience I was excited about attending the great marriage feast of the Lamb. There was nothing more important to me than being ready for the return of Jesus. As time went by I found other things taking precedence and drifted away from a close relationship with God.
Then the Holy Spirit would again knock on the door of my heart to remind me of my invitation. I sensed how much God loved me and how much He wanted to spend eternity with me. Again, I would commit to making Him first in my life. More time would pass, and there would be another knock on the door of my heart. The good news of the gospel is that the Holy Spirit keeps knocking, reminding us of the feast. And He will do so until, at our last breath, or at the end of probation, we tell God we do not want to come.
The master was so determined to have his banquet hall full, he told the servant to ?Make them come in? (verse 23). Every effort is being made to save us. Every resource of heaven is being employed in the great battle between Christ and Satan. The Holy Spirit will not cease His work on our behalf until we absolutely refuse to attend the feast!
Conclusion. As you are encountered with this message, you will again hear the voice of the Spirit inviting you to attend the feast. You might feel you are unworthy to attend, or perhaps you have lost your interest, and so you decide not to come. He will remind you that Jesus is worthy. His righteousness will be judged, not yours. He will remind you how much God wants you to be at the great marriage feast of the Lamb.