Missing the Feast

In Luke 14:16-24 we find the Christ sharing a parable in which a man invites many to a feast. When the time for the feast has come, three excuses are given. One man says he has to check on a field he bought; another says he must examine the oxen he has bought; a third man says that he has married and cannot come. After these excuses are made, the man throwing the feast invites those from the streets into his banquet. Certainly, more details are contained in the story, and I invite you to read and examine the parable more thoroughly in Scripture; this synopsis, however, encompasses a question that has always plagued me: Aren’t those really good reasons—especially the marriage—to miss out on the banquet?

I do believe that these would be very good reasons to miss an unexpected feast; these men had other obligations and couldn’t go to the feast they were just invited to. The problem with this answer is that the feast was not sudden or unexpected. Take careful notice of verses 16-18: “But he said to him, ‘A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” The people were summoned to a party they had already been invited to; they were forewarned and given plenty of notice.

The Jews had received the invitation, and we see that they essentially said, “When you throw your party, God, we’ll be there.” They stated that they would wholly and truly obey God’s word (Exodus 19:8; 24:3; Deuteronomy 5:27; 26:17). However, when the time for the “party” came (and before that, really), they failed to live up to their word (Hosea 5:5-7; Acts 2:22-37; Romans 11:11-12). The invitation was then sent to us, the Gentiles, which leads to an implication and lesson for us.

A great call has been extended to us. A call leading to salvation (2 Timothy 2:10), eternal life (1 John 2:25), joy (1 John 1:4), peace (Philippians 4:7), and many more spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). Learning from those who rejected God's message and were therefore rejected by God, let us answer the call and continue in it, unless we are cut off like them (Romans 11:13-22; Hebrews 2:3). Let’s start and continue heartily in our work, realizing it is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)!