Encouragement for a lifelong journey of faith

April 25, 2020 — How should I follow?

Luke 14 Banquet by Hyatt Moore

Today’s Bible reading

“When one of those at the meal with Jesus heard this, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will feast in the kingdom of God!”  But Jesus said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many guests.  At the time for the banquet he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is now ready.’  But one after another they all 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.’  Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going out to examine them. Please excuse me.’  Another said, ‘I just got married, and I cannot come.’  So the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the master of the household was furious and said to his slave, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ Then the slave said, ‘Sir, what you instructed has been done, and there is still room.’  So the master said to his slave, ‘Go out to the highways and country roads and urge people to come in, so that my house will be filled. For I tell you, not one of those individuals who were invited will taste my banquet!’” — Luke 14:15-24

More thoughts for meditation

I want to believe the best for the person who exclaimed “Blessed is everyone who will feast in the kingdom of God!” (v. 15) after hearing Jesus give two teachings postured as a rebuke to most people in the room. Maybe it was the cripple who had been healed at the beginning of chapter 14. He certainly had reason to rejoice at the new thing God was doing. Jesus thinks the guests at this banquet need to go deeper into this teaching of status reversal. 

There are many reasons why accepting (and even hearing) God’s invitation to follow Jesus can be difficult to do. A lot of the reasons are circumstantial, like the responses the host receives when he sends out the first round of invitations. We never really know how our relationship with God is going to be played out until we actually get to play it out. In other words, it is impossible to predict what being a disciple of Jesus looks like specifically. We need to listen for the Spirit of Jesus to lead us along, step by step. If that weren’t the case, we might have planned to examine our oxen (v.19) on a different day. 

Often Jesus uses hyperbole to make a point. This parable has a kind of apocalyptic feel to it. As if those who miss their invitation from the host will be shut out of the party–eternally. It is easy to miss the presence of Jesus when we let our minds and hearts wander to the end of time. Jesus was standing in their midst, and is with us now, as the one bringing the invitation. Even as he tells this parable he is inviting those around him then and all through time, to accept the invitation to God’s way of living — to live in a way which takes part in the reversal of oppressive social norms and liberates all people to experience a full life. 

Suggestions for action 

We are living in a time when the party is still being prepared. The host is still gathering RSVPs and the co-hosts are still out in the towns sending invitations. How are you receiving the invitation? Reading it as a first step into Jesus’s way of being human might be a good place to rest for now. If you’re hearing this invitation and want to join Jesus in his movement towards liberation, talk to your cell leader or pastor about it. 

For many of us, when we apply this story to the here and now (and not just at the end of time) our next step is not into the banquet hall but out to the streets. In the same way that Jesus leaves the 99 “found” sheep to look for the one (Luke 15:3-7), Jesus continues to send invitations rather than wait for the guests to show up. Just as Jesus has been sent by the host, he is sending us on behalf of the host. 

Knowing that the banquet doesn’t start with my individual RSVP, what is there to do in the meantime? 

Take a few minutes and reflect: how do I see Jesus being sent to me? How do I see Jesus sending me?

Pray using our breath prayer for this week: Breathe in saying, “Holy Spirit” and breathe out saying, “open my heart to your love.”

1 Comment

  1. Linda Quap

    Thank you for posting this.

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