One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2 And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5 And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son[a] or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6 And they could not reply to these things.
7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honour, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honour, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person’, and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers[b] or your relatives or rich neighbours, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[c] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to examine them. Please excuse me.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you,[d] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
Why I Love Sunday School at The Chapel
Jesus seems to press into the issue of the Sabbath even further. I would be inclined to think that he had made his point by healing repeatedly on the Sabbath, but now in the home of a Pharisee he pushes further. He fights for a cause and ignores the rules of polite society. Personally, I feel more emboldened to take a similar approach with the cause of Christian education. I need to be careful, though. I have come across as a bully and as insensitive. The phrase that my church uses a lot is that we, as Christians, need to be winsome. However, it strikes me that Jesus is not winsome here. He insults his host by implying that those in the privileged positions at the banquet he is attending will be thrown out of the banquet at the end of time. Actually, more poignant than that is that in the parable he tells, those who are called to the banquet don’t even bother to come. This is another area that I feel the strength of what Jesus is talking about as it hits our current society. I have been part of small groups, soccer clubs and churches in North America where people promise they will attend. However, when push comes to shove they find a million other things that are more important. In Jesus’ day the priorities were the same. Seemingly devout people who kept a lot of the rules did not long to be with the host of the party – God. So God throws out the invitation to those who are overlooked and disenfranchised and they long to be there. What does that mean for my scenario? I long to meet with those who are truly on fire for God. I meet with such people sometimes and we set each other alight. One such group would be the class I was in at Trinity. The desire for God was palpable and we were seeking God in similar ways. Another group is my Sunday School class at The Chapel. It consists of people at various stages of Christian growth, but they are hungry. They are not coming to the church just to get it checked off their list. That is the attitude of those who will not attend the banquet in Jesus’ parable. These people are transparent with each other, they ask difficult questions, and they devour scripture. With a smile we get into each other’s stuff. Even those who consider me more mature than they are challenge what I am saying if it sounds unbiblical. They want the truth because God has invited them to his feast and nothing is going to stand in their way.
Sunday School meets at McHenry West High School from 8:30 – 9:30. This week I will be doing a presentation on how to read your Bible.
God, I am thankful that you want me to attend your banquet. help me not to value rules or religious tradition so much that I lose sight of you. Let nothing stand in the way of my attendance.
- Where does Jesus perform the healing in Luke 14?
- How do the Pharisees seek to break the tension?
- What is the point of Jesus’ talk about feasts?
- Who today assumes they are going to feast with God in heaven but will be excluded?
- How does your commitment to God’s work show you are on your way to God’s feast?