Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our text for today is part of a longer story in chapter 14. Jesus was invited to the house of a Pharisee and seated at the table. After performing a miracle and telling another parable, someone suddenly said, "Blessed is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God." The answer was the parable for today.
The man lacked something in his understanding. Jesus spoke in the previous parable of the promise of eternal life as an invitation to a great wedding. In his mind, this man focused on the future, after the final judgment. One day all the believers would be in the presence of God forever. He did not understand that all those in the house were in the presence of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
Then, Jesus spoke again of an invitation to a banquet. "A man made a great supper, and invited many, and at the time of supper he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, Come, for everything is ready, and they all began to make excuses. First one said: I have bought a farm, and I need to go see it, I beg you to excuse me, and another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them, I beg you to excuse me. Still another said I have married, and therefore I can not go, and the servant returned, he told these things to his lord, and then the father of the family was angry. "
Why was the father was angry? Because all the excuses were insults. Who buys a farm without seeing it? Who buys cattle without trying them? Who can not attend another party after their wedding is over? All the reasons imply a lack of respect for the father and his invitation. They had other things to attend to, but not very important things.
Therefore, the master said to his servant, "Go quickly through the streets and streets of the city, and bring in here the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind. And the servant said: Lord, I have done as you ordered, and there is still room. And the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Because I tell you that none of those men who were invited will enjoy my dinner. "
The Lord is going to assure that all the positions in His table will be occupied. If not with those who despised the invitation, then with those for whom the invitation has value.
Some scholars think the figures of the first guests who rejected the invitation represent the Jews, the chosen people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The poor in the streets and the countryside represent other nations. But, in a broad sense, the parable applies to us today as well.
The invitation is the preaching, or proclamation of the gospel, which is the good news of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Jesus Christ. Today there are people who have heard the gospel since childhood. They grew up in a Christian family, and were instructed in the Word of God. But then they despised the invitation, because for them the invitation never mattered.
In truth, nothing is more important than the promise of eternal life, because eternity is longer than our earthly life. All the things of this world will pass, as our hymn says, based on Psalm 46.
The Third Commandment says, "Remember the sabbath, to keep it holy." In the Small Catechism, Dr. Martin Luther explains the meaning of this commandment for us: "We must fear and love God so that we do not despise the preaching of His Word, but consider it holy, hear it and learn with pleasure."
We must meet regularly to confess our sins and listen to the preaching. Furthermore, in the service we receive the gift of God in the sacraments: forgiveness and new life in baptism and the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Lord's Supper. The sacrament is a preview of the eternal festival in the heavens. It is our preparation for that day. Also, in the Holy Supper we are in the presence of our Lord now.
However, sadly, many people think, "I am baptized, I have taken First Communion. Now I am ready. I have the promise of eternal life for the future; Now I can enjoy the pleasures of this world. One day I'm going to get married according to God's will. Today I can try many women or many men until the day of my marriage. If I do not marry at last, the Lord will forgive me. I have a lot of time to fix my life. " But, this is not the truth. Nobody knows the time of judgment, physical death or the return of the Lord in glory. On the day of judgment, it will not be the opportunity for repentance. The opportunity to repent and receive the gifts of God is now.
The problem with the first guests in the parable was they did not recognize their need. They had the good things in this life and thought they had a good relationship with God. But, to put the things of this world on God is not to have a good relationship with God.
But, the poor, the blind, the deaf and the sick acknowledge their need. Those who are hungry do not turn down a banquet. In Venezuela today, many people queue up every day, not for fun, but because they need rice, flour, milk or other food. They recognize their need, then, no matter how many hours to queue. In the same way, those who recognize their spiritual need seek the Word of God wherever it is preached. They have no other priorities, because they want to take the opportunity to receive the gifts of God. We have this opportunity every Sunday. We are going to take advantage of it. In this we have the hope and the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
Send Pastor David Ernst an email.