Sometimes we get away with it, and sometimes we don’t. However, our choices tend to catch up with us in the end. We’re on the final instalment of our exploration of the parable of the banquet, Luke 14.15-24. The summary statement is this:
“I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.” Luke 14.24 (NIV11)
What is the sentiment here? Anger, resignation, disappointment? Perhaps a mixture of several feelings? The host has been insulted and lied to, but his response has been one of grace. The ungrateful have missed out, and the ‘undeserving’ have been blessed. Sounds like the kingdom of God to me!
Who is the host? On one level God, but on another, it’s Jesus. The “you” in v24 is plural, but there is only one servant. It looks as if Jesus is addressing the people around him. If he is Messiah, then it’s his messianic banquet that’s being described. I reckon this banquet belongs to Jesus. And his feelings here? What are they?
In light of what he says in Luke 13.34, “..how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”, I’d suggest his primary emotion of one of regret. “He…sees the deepest tragedy of human life, not in the many wrong and foolish things that men do, or the many good and wise things that they fail to accomplish, but in their rejection of God’s greatest gift.” (Bailey, “Peasant’s Eyes”, p110) He has no desire to see anyone miss out. Those who do so are self-excluded.
The good news is that there is still time to accept the invitation. The house not yet full because we are living in the “already but not yet” times (see Lk 13.28-29). We can come in, and we can do what we can to “compel” people to come in. Let’s celebrate that, and accept it.
That’s the theme of our sermon this morning, 10.30AM, Laurance Haines School, Vicarage Road, Watford.
I hope to see you there.