Today, we return to the home of the Pharisee Ruler. In the silence of all the guests, Jesus tells them two parables, the Parable of the Great Banquet and the Great Wedding (Luke 14:7-24).
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.Luke 14:11
They needed a lesson in humility. Jesus always sees the need and fills it. He must have seen the Pharisees and lawyers pridefully seeking the seat of honor.
Shouldn’t they have given this place to Jesus?
When I was young and newly married to an officer, I was invited to a tea by an officer’s wife. I came in jeans and a nice blouse, but I felt like I was wearing rags when I entered the pristine home. All the other invitees had on their Sunday best.
I was so embarrassed that I stayed for only ten minutes before making some excuse to leave. I will never forget the blanket of pride and their disapproving eyes. There wasn’t a seating arrangement, but I knew I was no honored guest.
Pride cuts deep!
People are still fighting for the seat of honor. But Jesus calls us to be different. The humble never think of themselves too highly.
Humility is not a sign of a good Christian but a sign of a mature Christian. Simple obedience doesn’t come from a one-night stand. True humility is forged in the presence of God – behind closed doors in the Secret Place.
In the light of God’s grace, we see our unworthiness. Pride and self-satisfaction fade. What rises, like a Phoenix from ashes, is humility.
Wait! The host is not left out.
Jesus tells the Parable next to the ruler. What were his motives in inviting each person? Was it to get something in return?
These passages demand we question our motives: Why do we do what we do or give what we give?
The Lord knows the motives behind our charity.
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13-14
God calls all men, women, and children to the Kingdom of God through Christ Jesus. So, not only are we invited to take the cup of salvation, but we’re also received in a spirit of reconciliation.
But not all accept the invitation.
They say, “Please have me excused.”
Excuse after excuse leaves many at a loss.
You see, it was their custom to send out invitations early to give everyone a heads up. The specific date will be announced later. All the invitees accepted, but when the date arrived, their priorities had changed. They put business as usual ahead of the invitation. They took it for granted.
Sadly, those who had excused themselves never tasted what was so freely offered. A polite excuse is dangerous.
Preachers, ministers, and teachers make every effort to compel us to come. They strongly urge us and try to persuade us that church is not business as usual. However, the Holy Spirit tugs at their free will, and their free will makes a multitude of excuses.
The kingdom of God will not go to waste.
The banquet hall will have a standing room only with grateful souls. No polite excuses here. Gentiles and sinners will find a place at the table of the Living God. Salvation is just that sweet and reconciliation that joyful.
For the love of Christ urges us on because we are convinced that One has died for all; therefore all have died. And He died for all so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised againII Corinthians 5:14-15