Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Great Banquet

Last Sunday and this coming Sunday the lesson for church is the Parable of the Great Banquet in Luke 14.  Jesus dines with a Pharisee.  First they judge him for healing a man with dropsy on the Sabbath.  Then, Jesus tells a parable to exhort the people to not take the highest seat at a wedding only to have to move, but take the lowest and then get promoted.

Then, he also tells them to not just invite the beautiful people to the party but to invite the crippled, blind, lame, and poor.

Finally he gets to the party parable.  He tells of a man who threw a great banquet.  This was in the day when people knew about the party well ahead of time and RSVP'd well ahead of time.  This was before cell phones or email.  You'd have to plan like a year ahead of time, send a servant with the invitation, then send him again to say, come to the party.  All the invitees had lame excuses to not come, such as I bought an ox, I decided to get married, etc.  So Jesus invited the poor people in town, and anyone else who would come.

Not only is this an invitation to heaven of eschatology, hosted by the One who created us all and gave us life, but an invitation to participate in heaven weekly on Sunday, at Church, the Sabbath God created for us to experience once a week until we get to the never-ending one with him.  Here, the Pharisees were griping about Jesus healing on a Saturday.  These are also the ones who did not recognize Jesus as God the Son, the long-awaited Messiah.  They wanted some guy to save their country and make Israel peaceful and independent again.  They had no concept of a world past this one and did not want one. 

They were so busy living for their ox and making plans when they knew that God was to send a Christ.  So Christ did the unthinkable and invited their very captors, the Romans and all the Gentiles to the feast.  This is a feast we will attend for eternity, and in God's grace, we get to experience it on Sunday when the Word is preached, sung, and eaten, that is, if it's a true church.  This is to dissuade anyone who thinks heaven will be this long sermon forever.  Heaven is going to be love and interaction without sin, and by God's grace, we should make it to church on Sunday in anticipation and not have lame excuses like extra sleep, or some golf game.

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