Resources to aid your Understanding
Are You Guilty Of Making Them?
In the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we are told that the Lord Jesus Christ was invited to dine at the house of a prominent Pharisee. And of course He knew that the invitation was not for any of the usual social reasons, but rather to afford another opportunity for those religious bigots to try to find fault with Him.
So when He entered the house the Lord was immediately confronted by a man who was afflicted by “dropsy”—known today as “edema”—a swelling of the skin and/or internal organs caused by abnormal fluid retention. And the narrative does not tell us if the man was a guest or not, but from what took place it certainly appears that he was the “bait” for a trap designed by the Pharisees. The intended plan went something like this: “Here is someone who is obviously sick—are you going to heal him even though we teach that doing so is a violation of the Sabbath?” But rather than play their silly little game He turned the tables on them by asking some “loaded questions!”
His first question was this:
“And Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, Is it lawful and right to cure on the Sabbath or not?” Luke 14:3 (Unless otherwise stated, all quotations taken from the Amplified Bible).
Bingo! The Law of Moses did not prohibit miraculous healing on the Sabbath. Like so many things they insisted upon, their teaching was based upon what they considered proper and not God’s Law. So much to their chagrin, their “hands were tied” and no credible response was possible—therefore they took the only available option:
“But they kept silent. Then He took hold [of the man] and cured him and sent him away” (vs.4, emphasis mine).
Since the Lord “cured him and sent him away,” it strongly suggests that the man’s social status was not of that level. To have dismissed an invited guest under such circumstances would have been a social faux pas and the Lord always demonstrated impeccable manners.
Then as a follow-up He zapped them again:
“And He said to them, Which of you, having a son or a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not at once pull him out on the Sabbath day?” (vs.5).
Again there was no “wiggle room” for them to exploit:
“And they were unable to reply to this” (vs.6, emphasis mine).
So once their plot had backfired, the Lord graciously offered them (and the rest of us) some object lessons intended to drive home a point. Beginning in verse seven we find the following instruction:
“Now He told a parable to those who were
invited, [when] He noticed how they were selecting the places of honor, saying
to them, 8 When you are invited by anyone to a marriage feast, do
not recline on the chief seat [in the place of honor], lest a more
distinguished person than you has been invited by him, 9 And he who
invited both of you will come to you and say, Let this man have the place [you
have taken]. Then, with humiliation and a guilty sense of impropriety,
you will begin to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are
invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when your host comes in,
he may say to you, Friend, go up higher! Then you will be honored in the
presence of all who sit [at table] with you. 11 For everyone who
exalts himself will be humbled (ranked below others who are honored or
rewarded), and he who humbles himself (keeps a modest opinion of himself and
behaves accordingly) will be exalted (elevated in rank). 12 Jesus
also said to the man who had invited Him, When you give a dinner or a supper,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy
neighbors, lest perhaps they also invite you in return, and so you are paid
back. 13 But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite
the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be
blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied), because they have no way of
repaying you, and you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just
(upright). 15 When one of those who reclined [at the table] with Him
heard this, he said to Him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is he
who shall eat bread in the
God the Son knew exactly what was in the hearts of those proud and pompous religious leaders, so His comments were designed to shame them. And when He concluded by saying that those who exhibited such humility in their service to others would receive a heavenly reward, some doofus (there is always one in every crowd) piped up with something he must have thought sounded really spiritual! In other words, “Your comments do not apply because we are going to be blessed when we sit down to feast at the banquet God is going to prepare for us.”
The Lord’s response to that man’s statement was a parable that is just as relevant to the masses of humanity today as it was to those phony religious leaders:
“But Jesus said to him, A man was once giving a great supper and invited many.17 And at the hour for the supper he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, Come, for all is now ready. ” (vss.16-17).
The “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” (Rev.19:9) will doubtless be the grandest feast ever served and the context of the parable appears to refer to it. Also there is another parallel in the fact that there continues to be many who have heard the Gospel message and thus know about the standing invitation to attend. But like the three examples cited in the parable, most people spurn God’s gracious invitation by offering some downright stupid excuses!
“But they all alike began to make excuses and to beg off. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of land, and I have to go out and see it; I beg you, have me excused” (vs.18, emphasis mine).
Under ordinary circumstances, who would buy “a piece of land” without inspecting it first? Speculators are sometimes willing to take such a risk, but for most of us it would be extremely foolish. And the foolishness of the excuse is intentionally emphasized.
“And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to examine and put my approval on them; I beg you, have me excused” (vs.19).
Again, why would anyone pay good money for something they have not checked out first? Most people “look before they leap,” so this is another example of foolishness.
“And another said, I have married a wife, and because of this I am unable to come” (vs.20).
How could marriage warrant such a feeble excuse? But the undeniable fact is that lands, livestock and love are among the excuses men use to avoid attending God’s heavenly banquet!
“So the servant came and reported these [answers] to his master. Then the master of the house said in wrath to his servant, Go quickly into the great streets and the small streets of the city and bring in here the poor and the disabled and the blind and the lame. 22 And the servant [returning] said, Sir, what you have commanded me to do has been done, and yet there is room. 23 Then the master said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and urge and constrain [them] to yield and come in, so that my house may be filled” (vss.21-23, emphasis mine).
It is my understanding that in those days it was the custom that a response to the invitation was required beforehand—an RSVP, so to speak—in order that the proper amount of food and drink could be prepared. Therefore, offering stupid excuses after having said they wanted to attend is the reason for the master’s anger.
Then to conclude the parable the Lord said that those who spurned the invitation were forever banned from the master’s table.
“For I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall taste my supper” (vs.24).
And of course the parallels to God’s gracious invitation to save those who truly respond to His Gospel message are obvious.
Therefore, be advised that you have been invited! In the heart of every man there is a desire for life after death, so the intent to “attend the banquet” has been established. But when it comes right down to actually doing it, the overwhelming majority will use every stupid excuse imaginable to avoid going.
God has spared no expense in “setting the table”—even to the point of sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die in the place of all of those to whom the invitation has been freely given! So even though every human on earth is guilty of breaking His commandments (the Bible calls these offenses “sin” and the penalty for committing even one is eternal death), a total exoneration is offered to all who will take it by faith! The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ paid the price that God demanded for sin.
“For the wages which sin pays is death…” (Romans 6:23a).
And due to the wonderful fact that the Lord died to pay the penalty for sin, the following offer was made possible for those who will honor God’s invitation to dine:
“…but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.6:23b).
Are you hungry enough to take Him up on His offer? If so, just bow your unworthy head and pray that He will forgive you and provide a place for you at His table. If you are truly sincere in asking and call out to Him from your heart, there is a message in the Word of God that was put there especially for you:
“But what does it say? The Word (God’s message in Christ) is near you, on your lips and in your heart; that is, the Word (the message, the basis and object) of faith which we preach, 9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation” Romans 10:8-10 (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
Then please note what the very next verse says:
“The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed” (vs.11).
The King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev.19:16) has given you an invitation to sit down with Him in heaven and share the greatest banquet that this world will ever see! Are you going to attend or come up with a ridiculous excuse?
Just before Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne of
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order Kingdom of Antichrist in their daily news.
Return to Pastoral Articles index
Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you