EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES!
Luke 14:15 And 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.
Susie: Jesus is still dining at the Pharisee’s house. After Jesus talking about inviting the outcasts to dinner, a man tosses out that one is blessed to dine in the kingdom of God.
Susan: He may have wanted to take the focus off the uncomfortable talk of humility and serving others.
Susie: This man (possibly another Pharisee) may have assumed that only devout Jews will be at the heavenly banquet. Jesus uses a parable to dispel this belief.
Susan: These Jewish leaders seemed to assume that only Jews as God’s chosen people would be attending the heavenly banquet. They may have thought God’s invitation was only extended to righteous Jews, probably not people deemed to be “unclean” or certainly not Gentiles. They had forgotten that God’s promise to Abraham was not exclusive to Israel but included people of all nations who would trust in the One True God and ultimately, His Messiah.
Susie: They were too myopic to see that God intended to extend a blessing to all nations using the descendants of Abraham as His conduit.
Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Luke 14:16-17 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
Susie: Jesus launches into a parable to prove the point that all types of people are invited, but few respond to the invitation.
Susan: I would suppose that people invited to such a fantastic feast would clear their calendars long in advance of that date and be prepared to attend. If it were me, I would work hard to afford a new dress for the occasion because I’m a girly girl.
Susie: However, these potential guests did not seem that excited about the invitation. Apparently, no one had RSVP’d that they did not plan to attend, so the man, assuming they were all coming, sent out the servant to announce that dinner was ready. People were invited ahead of time but the exact time for the feast to begin would be announced only after everything was set up and ready.
Susan: Therefore, the servant was sent out to ring the dinner bell!
Susie: These pre-invited guests represent the Jewish nation, who had ample evidence in the Old Testament scriptures pointing to the coming of the Messiah and this heavenly banquet. They were the first to receive the invitation to trust the One whom God would send beginning with Eve to whom God promised a descendant who would stomp Satan on the head.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Luke 14:18 And 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.
Susie: Jesus uses hyperbole here saying “all” the invited guests made excuses.
Susan: All the originally invited guests (symbolic of the Jewish nation) declined the invitation or at least “begged off” for this particular date.
Susie: The Jews as a whole did not acknowledge or trust Jesus as their Messiah. Thus, they refused to attend the feast.
Susan: Again, we would like to point out that there were Jews who believed and accepted Jesus’s call to follow Him, thus confirming their attendance at the marriage feast of the Lamb. Among these would be His disciples, the women who followed him, believing Pharisees such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, as well as all who placed their trust in Him.
Susie: It seemed as if they had conferred with one another, for they all gave similar reasons for not coming to the party. The point of this passage is that all the excuses were flimsy. After all, who buys a piece of property sight unseen?
Susan: I didn’t know they had “flippers” in ancient Israel! In actuality, the man may have wanted to survey his land; but it seems he just wanted to avoid the banquet because evening would not be the optimum time to take a closer look at the farm. His land would still be there after the party since he already owned it.
Luke 14:19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
Susan: He would not have bought these beasts of labor without trying them out first. If the oxen don’t plow well, the farmer cannot plant as much and his crop yield will suffer. Therefore, he might not eat.
Susie: Either this man is a total clodhopper or again, he is lying to get out of attendance at the feast. I believe these excuses demonstrate a total disrespect of the man throwing the banquet. Just as the leaders of the Jews completely disrespected our Lord, Jesus.
Susan: This would be like a girl who suddenly has a sick headache or an urgent need to wash her hair when the boy comes to pick her up for prom! This is obviously an excuse and not a reason.
Luke 14:20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
Susie: Newlywed men were excused from military service or business that would call them away from home in order to help his wife transition from her home to his and solidify the marriage relationship. However, this did not mean they could not attend enjoyable social functions.
Deuteronomy 24:5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.
Susan: In reality, meeting the man’s friends would help the young wife to acclimate to life as a married woman representing her husband and household.
Susie: All in all, these were lame excuses. The invited guests were quite rude to the host by not letting him know beforehand and making up excuses at the last minute. They represent the Israelites who should have been the first to recognize and honor the Messiah but instead rejected Jesus and plotted to kill Him.
Luke 14:21 So 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.
Susie: The servant reports back to his master that all the invited guests have made excuses not to attend. The man throwing the feast is incensed and rightly so. He had invited his peers in society. Since they refused; and he already had all that food prepared, he sent the servant to invite the outcasts—" the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.”
Susan: Wow! This would be me!
Susie: This group would represent people who were still Jewish but would not be considered worthy to attend the heavenly feast by the Pharisees with whom Jesus sat at the table.
Luke 14:22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
Susie: The servant reported back that he had invited all the outcasts, and many had come in to the feast, but there was still room at the tables for more.
Susan: There is always room until all is fulfilled for one more surrendered heart.
Luke 14:23 And 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.
Susie: Therefore, the Lord of the banquet sent him back out to the highways and hedges which symbolizes the Gentile nations. He was to compel them to come in.
Susan: In modern usage, “compel” has a connotation of force. However, the servant was to be persuasive and engaging, compelling them with his words.
Susie: The man throwing the feast would not be satisfied until his house was completely filled with guests. Our Lord, in His divine plan, has built a kingdom with plenty of room for both Jews and Gentiles, all who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
Luke 14:24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
Susie: The host then declares that none of those excuse-makers would ever be allowed to dine at his banquet. Those Jews who rejected Jesus during His time as the God-Man on earth, and died in their sin, never having trusted Him, will not enter heaven. This is the reality for all who refuse the gracious gift of salvation that was purchased by Jesus on the cross.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ponder this and Apply it: The Lord invites us to partake of the Bread of Life and the Living Water, the spiritual feast found in a saving relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Like those outcasts and those in the bushes, we have done nothing to deserve the invitation; but by grace He has extended it to us. Have you been making excuses to Jesus, refusing to accept the gift of salvation because you are too busy living your earthly life? God is gracious to forgive us and offer us a place in His kingdom, but it is a limited time offer. If you have not already done so, respond positively to the invitation to surrender your life to Jesus. The ROI (return on investment) cannot be beat. We lay our sinful selves at His feet with nothing to offer Him, and He bestows upon us peace in this life and the promise of eternal life in paradise with Him.