Luke 14:15–35 (NKJV)
Jesus here follows up His teaching on humility and hospitality from the previous passage with a parable of a gracious host who invited “unusual” guests to His banquet.
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”Luke 14:15-24
16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ ”
I recall a children’s rhyme that was accompanied by the little hand gesture of interlocking your fingers and turning your hands inside out. It goes: “Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and see all the people.” When I think of that little poem, it makes me think of the church. How many of us are content to sit in our little churches, and hope that people will come and see us? Jesus here bursts that chain of thought by following up on His previous advice to a banquet host to reach out to those who may not normally be invited to a banquet and invite them. This host could not get his normal friends to show up, so he invited the unwell and the unqualified to come to his banquet.
The regular friends, who I will characterize as the good “church folk,” made excuses related to their possessions, their careers, and their relationships as to why they could not attend. However, those without such powerful obligations were more than willing to come and eat at the banquet table of the gracious host. It is time we stopped waiting on people to come and “see all the people” and started going. The world will not be saved by our display of religious piety, but more so by our displayed of Christian love and compassion.
25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.Luke 14:25-35
34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus then instructed the listeners to respond to the call to radical discipleship. We must be willing to lay everything down to follow Christ, even if that means leaving our family, possessions, and other things dear to us. While this may not be required, the heart must be willing to leave all to follow Christ! God wants us to change our culture as a church (turn us inside out) and as individuals. His coming is imminent and we must be about the mission. We must shift the focus from ourselves and our distractions to the unwell and the unqualified. God is calling us to a radical discipleship, costly and complete! He wants us to infiltrate the world with the gospel and win a harvest. Respond to the call and radically follow Him!