Jesus is the Son of Man
Dinner Party in Heaven
(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)
All right! Let’s go ahead and turn with me in our Bibles to Luke chapter 14. As I always try to say, if you don’t have a Bible or you need a Bible, please see me after the service.
SO, in some ways, this morning’s passage is a part two to last weeks. Same setting, same audience, same parable subject even. Jesus is at a dinner party at the home of one of the rulers of the Pharisees.
We have already seen some conflict arise due to Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath and calling the Pharisees on their hypocrisy regarding biblical rules and traditional rules. He points out that the underlying issue is the need for them to see others outside their small little circle as also having dignity and being worthy of respect. He also points out their hypocrisy in wanting to be seen as greater than, as better than those around them.
Jesus tells them to treat others as better than themselves. He reminds them that the first will be last and the last will be first. Not everyone who thinks they are in Christ actually are. The truth is that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. Not works, not morals, and not their Jewishness. When we get to Heaven, we will be surprised at who we see and who we don’t see. The key to remember is verse 11, where Jesus tells them, and us, that they exalted will be humbled and the humbled will be exalted.
So, let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 14, verses 12 through 24. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. Luke 14:12-24, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit records this parable by Jesus:
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 neighbors, 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 have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 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.’”
May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.
So, we see that Jesus is still talking to those who were at the dinner party, and he continues to drive the points home, sharing uncomfortable truths with them. And Jesus both uses the setting, of this dinner party, and the imagery that the Old Testament uses of the wedding banquets and wedding feasts as a symbol of that eternal glory in Heaven that we get to share in with God.
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
And so, Jesus continues to use the wedding feast as the setting of the points he is making to this group. First big point he makes, don’t do the things you do in order to receive back. Its great to have dinner and spend time with friends and family, and sometimes its at their house and sometimes its at your house and you take turns and that’s fine. But don’t only ever invite those who can repay that invitation. Don’t only be generous with those who can be generous back.
This is the same principal we see in Luke 6, verses 32-36:
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Jesus contrasts that with love those who persecute you and pray for your enemies.
So instead of only inviting those who can invite you back and repay your generosity with their own, be generous with and invite those who can’t repay you. This is another, specific and practical way of recognizing peoples worth and dignity as image bearers of God.
Jesus himself is a great example of this. He was the epitome of generosity and love to us. He died on the cross, paid the penalty for sin that we owed, and we couldn’t pay. He did for us that we couldn’t do for ourselves. And he didn’t do it with us able to repay him. We can’t, of course, ever come close to repaying him. We can’t even stay debt free after he has already paid it. WE continue to accrue more and more, but Jesus has paid it all, with no expectation of repayment.
This is the true fruit of the spirit. This is true love, generosity, true mercy, true respect. As opposed to the pharisees and their hypocritical, “Don’t cost me anything,” show others how great I am, false, pretend fruit.
Now, at this point, Jesus had laid some pretty harsh lessons on them. It seems like he probably left the room in shocked silence. They were all insulted and worse, it was all true. So, what were they going to say?
But there is always that one guy, or gal, but there is always that one guy who will speak up and break the awkward silence. And we see that here. One guy breaks the silence, intending to lighten the mood and he shouts out, Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!
Amen! Right? That’s easy to agree with. And I can understand what this guy was doing. IT was uncomfortable. Jesus just said, “Take care of the poor,” and “Quit being hypocrites.” So, Let’s say something that everyone can agree with.
I don’t know anyone who would disagree with that statement, right? And what this guy said was technically right and true and accurate. But especially in the context of what Jesus has been preaching and teaching, it didn’t actually mean anything, especially what the people would have heard when he said it.
Cause we have two opposite ways to take this, and both are wrong. The Jewish leaders thought that they didn’t need to do anything, and they were guaranteed a spot at the Banquet table in Heaven. They were Jewish and they were righteous, and they were the ones that would be seated at that table.
The other side is summed up in the movie Ratatouille, where the one character mentions his mom died, the other guy shares (obviously insincere) condolences. The first guy says “That’s ok, she believed in Heaven, so she’s good, you know, afterlife wise…”
Jesus uses this statement as a jumping off point to share more uncomfortable truths. The main point being Not all who think they will eat bread in the kingdom will actually dine at the banquet table.
This point is obviously a big one and it must be important. The way Luke’s Gospel is laid out, we keep seeing Jesus make this point over and over again. Obviously, it keeps coming up because the people Jesus is talking to don’t get it, despite the constant repetition. Just like us so often, we read the same thing in the Bible, we hear Biblical truths over and over again, and sometimes, we just don’t get it. It doesn’t sink in. Or we keep forgetting after we learn it again and again.
So, Jesus shares this parable regarding the Kingdom of God and who will be there.
So, this man was holding a great banquet, a wedding feast. And he sent out invitations to those whom he wanted to attend. The banquet was, at first, only revealed to these. And the way that parties and invitations took place in those days, we know that each and everyone of these accepted the invitation. The way it worked back then, was that two invitations were sent. First, what we see first here, invitations sent out, basically a Save the Date thing. It would confirm the amount of people who would be there so the host knew how many animals to slaughter and prepare for. When you responded to this invitation, it was a commitment.
Now, when the time came, when the day arrived for the actual party, the host sent out his servants with the second invitation, essentially, ok, here’s what time to show up for the party you previously committed to.
God originally shared the knowledge of salvation with the nation of Israel, with the Jewish people. And they responded. They wanted to go to heaven. The believed in God and wanted to follow his commands and they wanted to do good enough, be righteousness enough. God sent his messengers to share the news about the party.
And now, Jesus was here, saying, the time has come, the Kingdom of God is here. The time is now. The day of salvation is today.
The people said they would attend. But now, when the time has come to actually do it, when it was time to put words into action, they refused. They all had excuses as to why they couldn’t come.
Nobody in that culture would have ever refused that second invite. It would have been beyond rude. It would have been an incredible insult. Sorry, I know I committed, but I’ve got more important things to do. And we see the three examples that Jesus gives here are possessions, work and family. These are all things that we still struggle with putting ahead of God.
The end result, Jesus shows us, is that those who declined the invitation will not be allowed in so sit at the banquet table. The prophets were the original invitees from God and now Jesus was here, saying now is the time. He makes it clear, if you reject the Son, you reject the Father. So, it doesn’t matter how religious the Pharisees were, no matter how much they follow the rules, if they reject the invitation, come up with excuses why not, then you don’t get to go.
And we end up seeing the host says, No. It doesn’t matter, those who gave excuses, will not be allowed to attend. And we might think that’s not fair, they might change their minds, or whatever, but the truth is, looking at human nature, those who gave excuses and didn’t not want to attend are banned from the banquet, are banned because that’s what they willingly choose.
Now, we remember that with parables, not every single detail parallels and translates. Instead, we are to focus on the main point and how it shows us truth. In that, we know that the invitation for salvation was not only intended for the Old Testament Jews and God got angry when they rejected Jesus and so hurriedly came up with a plan B.
Instead, we know that the invitation, while only revealed to them at first, was always and always intended to be open to all who would respond favorably to the invitation, and they are the ones who will be seated at the banquet table.
In the parable, we see that the master sends his servants out to invite more people to the banquet. Instead of the higher crust, popular, influential and important crowd, Now is inviting the lower people in society, the “unworthy.” The invitation was sent to the poor, the crippled, the lame. It was the ones who couldn’t pay the host back for the invitation and the banquet. And then the invitation as sent out to those on the hedges and the highways. This would be God opening up and making the invitation of salvation known to the gentiles as well.
I love how RC Sproul sums up this section, Writing:
Here you can sense Jesus’ meaning: “GO over the borders of Israel. Go to the Gentiles. Go to those people who are no people and let them now be known as My People.” To you and Me, the invitation is now Given.
The love, the generosity, the invitation is offered by God to all who may believe. IT is through his grace alone that this invitation is given. And the acceptance of this invitation is through faith alone.
But not just any faith. Not “I believe in Heaven, so I’m good,” faith. Not “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe,” faith. You can sincerely believe something and be sincerely wrong. Instead, God is looking for a saving faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
So, we want to attend this banquet, we want to receive salvation, so we look at the bible and what it says. Repent and believe. Respond by and in faith. Trust and obey. Believe and be baptized.
“For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
What we see here today is how important it is to have our priorities straight. We see the excuses that the invitees gave. Possessions, Work and Family. Things that are good things, in and of themselves. But when they get in the way of us serving and following God, they have then turned into idols.
Warren Weirsbe says that if good things keep you from enjoying the best things, they turn into bad things. And so, we focus on what our priorities are.
Work? Out of the Kingdom
Possessions? Out of the Kingdom
Family? Out of the Kingdom
God? Welcome to the Kingdom! Sit at the banquet table and eat! “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”