Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Luke 14 reports that a prominent Pharisee invited Jesus to a Sabbath lunch. A sick man was there, probably because the Pharisees wanted to see if Jesus would break their rules about how to behave on the Sabbath.
Of course, Jesus healed the man. Then he sent him away, because the Pharisees just wanted him as a prop and not as a guest. Facing the Pharisees’ disapproval, Jesus said, “Why shouldn’t I heal a man today? If your ox falls in a well, you would pull it out on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you?”
The Pharisees had no reply, so Jesus gave the host some advice. “When you plan a lunch,” he said, “don’t invite important people, and rich people, and relatives. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then you will have a reward in heaven.”
Oooh. Looks like all-around rudeness here. The Pharisees set up Jesus to heal on the Sabbath so they could complain about his Sabbath-breaking, and Jesus replies by criticizing the guest list.
Then Jesus told this story:
A man prepared a banquet and sent his servant to collect the guests. But all the guests had excuses.
The first one said, “I just bought a field and have to inspect it.” Really? Did this man trust the realtor’s description without bothering to look at the property first? Most people prefer to have a look before signing the deal.
Another invited guest begged off by saying he’d bought five yoke of oxen and wanted to try them out. Another lame excuse. When you buy a used tractor, do you test drive it before you pay for it or after?
Still another guest said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.” What’s up with that excuse? Hard to say.
When the servant reported that no one was coming to the banquet, the master got angry and said, “Go out into the streets and alleys, and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.” Soon the servant reported back, “All done. But there’s still room in your banquet hall!” “OK,” said the master, “Go into highways and byways and compel them to come in. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will taste my banquet.”
Jesus, the Pharisees tried to sign you up for their banquet of rigid Sabbath rules and frequent hand washing and social distancing from outcasts and the unclean. You went to their luncheon, Lord, but you subverted their program. You rudely rejected their social exclusions and violated their system of rules.
And you extended a counter offer, inviting them to come to God’s banquet. But they made endless lame excuses. God’s banquet didn’t suit their interests or their culture.
Like the Pharisees, Lord, we have served you by throwing banquets for our friends, by social distancing from the poor and needy, by building rules to tell us who’s in and who’s out.
Lord, help us lose our desire for social status. Help us relax our obsession with rules. Help us see the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame. We accept the invitation to your banquet. Help us to be friends with everyone who attends.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.