Jesus had just spoken about a parable concerning a wedding feast. The meaning was this:
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). He also spoke to them about the invitation they were to give when they did prepare a dinner or supper, saying, “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind” (Luke 14:13). Jesus then spoke of those who gave such an invitation: “And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” It was at this time that one of the men who sat at the table eating with Jesus, having heard these things about the kingdom, possibly being motivated by the phrase, “the resurrection of the just,” said to Jesus: “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.”
This prompted Jesus to speak of another parable, that of a great supper where many were invited. Thinking about this invitation to the great supper of the King, we must accept its future realization, but never think about it in so far a future that we don’t do anything about today. For we must recognize the reality of the invitation now, and show by our life that we have accepted the invitation Christ has given us.
Many were invited to a Great Supper. The man sent his servant with the invitation: “Come; for all things are ready.” But the responses were filled with excuses rather than acceptance: “Excuse me for I bought a piece of land and have to look after it.” And, “I have married a wife and I cannot come.” These excuses were only a means of refusing an invitation that they never intended to accept in the first place—for they had already promised to come. In what kind of promise and hope do we come to worship our Lord?
The master was angry at the report of his servant, and said to him, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” The servant told his Lord that it was done, and Lord further commanded: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Is not our witness to Christ and the wonderful news of the Gospel but a number of invitations to others—invitations to come and know Christ?
We have memorized and sung the 23rd Psalm many times. When we sing this psalm, or share its truths with others as the Spirit has taught us, we are declaring that we have both heard and accepted the eternal invitation of our Shepherd and King, Christ Jesus our Savior: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Psa. 23:5–6). We receive from the Christ who gave His life that we might have life that is nothing less than the goodness and mercy of God.
This is the invitation that says, Come, for all things are ready! “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). Every invitation we give is the same invitation—to hear the invitation of our Savior, Christ Jesus, our Prophet, Priest, and King!
Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2014 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.
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