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The Parable of the Great Banquet

Rev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., July 14, 2019
Part of the The Parables of Jesus series.

It has been said that in chapters 14 and 15 of Luke’s Gospel we discover the “unqualified offer of grace to sinners” as it is “set forth in all of its majesty” (Bailey, Through Peasant Eyes, 88). In these two chapters there are no less than five parables presented by Jesus, each displaying the wonder of redeeming grace:

The Parable of the Wedding Feast (14:7-1)

The Parable of the Great Banquet (14:12-24)

The Parable of the Lost Sheep (15:1-1-7)

The Parable of the Lost Coin (15:8-10)

The Parable of the Prodigal Son (15:11-32)

And even chapter 16 begins with yet another parable, that of the Dishonest Manager (16:1-13).

So here in Luke 14-15 we have a significant concentration of our Lord’s stories, each designed to tell us something about the Kingdom of Heaven, or the gracious rule of our King and Savior.

This coming Sunday, we are going to take a close look at ‘The Parable of the Great Banquet’ recorded in Luke 14:12-24. As you read it, you’ll immediately connect with it, as this parable illustrates the wonder of God’s grace by means of images we are all familiar with. I won’t spoil it now by revealing this connection, but when you read this story for yourself you’ll see exactly what I mean!

In verses 12-15 Luke sets the stage for the parable. Then in verses 16-24 he relates to us the story as told by Jesus. Be sure to carefully observe the fuller context of the parable (verses 1-14), and the comment by one of the Pharisees that actually sparked this parable (verse 15).

Luke 14:15-24

15And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 16Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (KJV)