The Network Market Goal: Luke 14:7-24

Focus Passage: Luke 14:7-24 (GW)

Then Jesus noticed how the guests always chose the places of honor. So he used this illustration when he spoke to them: “When someone invites you to a wedding, don’t take the place of honor. Maybe someone more important than you was invited. Then your host would say to you, ‘Give this person your place.’ Embarrassed, you would have to take the place of least honor. 10 So when you’re invited, take the place of least honor. Then, when your host comes, he will tell you, ‘Friend, move to a more honorable place.’ Then all the other guests will see how you are honored. 11 Those who honor themselves will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be honored.”

12 Then he told the man who had invited him, “When you invite people for lunch or dinner, don’t invite only your friends, family, other relatives, or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they will return the favor. 13 Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the handicapped, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be blessed because they don’t have any way to pay you back. You will be paid back when those who have God’s approval come back to life.”

15 One of those eating with him heard this. So he said to Jesus, “The person who will be at the banquet in God’s kingdom is blessed.”

16 Jesus said to him, “A man gave a large banquet and invited many people. 17 When it was time for the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who were invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready now.’

18 “Everyone asked to be excused. The first said to him, ‘I bought a field, and I need to see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I bought five pairs of oxen, and I’m on my way to see how well they plow. Please excuse me.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I recently got married, and that’s why I can’t come.’

21 “The servant went back to report this to his master. Then the master of the house became angry. He told his servant, ‘Run to every street and alley in the city! Bring back the poor, the handicapped, the blind, and the lame.’

22 “The servant said, ‘Sir, what you’ve ordered has been done. But there is still room for more people.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go to the roads and paths! Urge the people to come to my house. I want it to be full. 24 I can guarantee that none of those invited earlier will taste any food at my banquet.’”

Read Luke 14:7-24 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Have you ever been turned away from an event before?

Perhaps you arrived late and the doors were closed, perhaps you did not have a ticket or invitation, or maybe you were too far back in line and the room was already full by the time you arrived.

Whatever the case for being turned away is, it does not feel good – which makes me wonder why God, represented by the Master/Host in this parable, wants such a full banquet hall that “none of those invited earlier will taste any food at my banquet.” (v. 24)

It would appear as though simply turning people away because they rejected is not enough. It seems like He wants it so full that even if one of the earlier invitees reconsiders and shows up late, there wouldn’t be any room – even the “standing only” space would be all filled up.

This doesn’t seem like a loving, inclusive, and forgiving God – but then why would Jesus have spoken it? Why would God/Jesus be this bluntly exclusive to those who originally rejected the invitation?

I don’t know.

One reason for this might be because God had a different idea in mind for these original invitees. There is no way of knowing this within the decisions and details in the parable itself, but I wonder if the invitation itself asked the person being invited to also bring their friends.

If this were the case, the original invitees would have been responsible for filling up the banquet hall with their friends (and their friends of friends) and the Master would have had a full banquet hall without needing to bypass the original invitees. Because the original invitees reject the invitation, the Master goes around them to get to the people He wants to include.

If God gets irritated, this might be a place where we could see it. It seems as though the Master (i.e. God) is irritated because those He originally invited rejected the invitation and we see this in His desire to see the banquet hall so full that these people are excluded.

This brings me to our big idea: God wants us to be inclusive towards others and Him. We are to be matchmakers – connecting our friends to our God and Savior. It is not His intention that we keep our relationship with Him to ourselves.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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