“When one of those (a Pharisee) at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’” (Luke 14:15-20)
In High School I was never invited to the after-game parties the cheerleaders and football players went to. The popular crowd considered me lame. At that time I longed to be invited to those parties. But I imagine now there was no love at those parties, just a competition to be the greatest. Yesterday I returned from a family vacation in the North Carolina mountains. We had great banquets, filled with love, every day. That is the kind of party I always want to be part of.
Jesus told the Pharisees they should invite the poor and lame to their parties. That was laughable to them. It was the perfect time for Jesus to tell a parable in which God prepared the banquet, and the leaders of the temple were the guests. These leaders didn’t know God’s heart and wouldn’t feel comfortable at a party with Him, especially when Jesus was the invitation. The first couldn’t part himself from His land, the second couldn’t part himself from his possessions, and the third couldn’t part himself from his family.
God’s family parties will be beyond our imaginations. I don’t think I could feel more loved than I did on our North Carolina vacation. But God is love, and He will teach us how to love perfectly. Jesus is the invitation. You’re invited, so I hope you will accept and that I’ll meet you there. He wants you to come. Make time for Him.
Father God, I pray for your Jewish children. Help them to see Jesus not as a prophet but as their Savior. Help me find quiet time daily to be with you, and nudge me when I’m making excuses that keep me from You. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.