Gospel Words: 21. The Great Supper

Luke 14:16‑24  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 5
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Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God, said one to the Lord. Far different is the real thought, as was shown in the parable. Grace is repulsive to nature; man shrinks from God and slights His call.
“A certain man was making a great supper, and bade many; and he sent forth his bondman at supper-time to say to those that were bidden, Come, for things are now ready. And they all at once began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, I bought land and must go out to see it; I pray thee, have me excused. And another said, I bought five yoke of oxen, and I am on my way to prove them; I pray thee, have me excused. And another said, I married a wife, and on this account cannot come. And the bondman when he came up reported these things to his master. Then the house-master in anger said to his bondman, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring here the poor and maimed and blind and lame. And the bondman said, Sir, What thou didst command is done, and yet there is room. And the lord said to the bondman, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [them] to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper” (vers. 16-24).
The corresponding, though scarcely the same, parable in Matt. 22:2-142The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:2‑14) is a likeness of the kingdom of the heavens, which gives prominence to the wedding feast for the king’s son, to the dispensational difference of the Jews, and to the judgment that befell their city. Here man’s moral roots are more laid bare; and where sin abounded, grace surpassed.
There was no harm in buying land, in acquiring oxen, or in marrying a wife. The evil lay in pleading these things, or any else, to set aside the call of God. The heart is at fault, which makes present interests or even duties a reason for putting God off and neglecting so great salvation. Have you, my reader, no object or pursuit, which stands between you and the knowledge of God and His Son which is life eternal? Be not deceived. Sin gives Satan the means of blinding every soul to the light of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ, as well as to his own ruin and exposure to the Gehenna of fire, where one’s worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Your peril is extreme.
God in the gospel meets you in your need and guilt and danger. He asks nothing, He gives all things; and they are now ready. He provides a great supper; He invites freely. Oh, begin not once more to excuse yourself. Too long have you turned aside. Why should you die in your sins, lost forever? The Son of man expressly came to save the lost. But it is through faith.
Those who first had the invitation valued what was before them, forgot God’s judgment for eternity. The Lord recorded their folly that you might fear God—the beginning of wisdom—that you might hear and live. He would give you another life, which is only in Himself, life eternal; and this life in Him loves the will of God, as it refuses the baits and bribes of the enemy. It begins with faith-obedience, and is sanctified by the Spirit to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Thus one becomes a child of obedience instead of fashioning oneself according to the former lusts in one’s ignorance. The call of God is paramount. He calls one to receive His grace in Christ. This is His commandment that we believe the name of His Son Jesus Christ. The first of rights is that God should have His rights; and He commands us to believe on the Lord Jesus.
See the activity of God’s love. He is not content with gathering in the poor and maimed and blind and lame from the streets and lanes of the city. He will have His bondman go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them in importunate earnestness to come in. He insists that His house be filled. What a God is ours A just God and a Savior He is assuredly. Why then trifle, when all blessing is proffered in Christ, when all is and must be ruin where He is refused? For does He not say to you, that none of those that were bidden shall taste of His supper? Are you not bidden? Come, then; for He welcomes in the name of His Son. Come without delay—dangerous everywhere, most of all in presence of your sin and of God’s everlasting judgment. Now it is all grace, grace reigning through righteousness unto life eternal by Jesus Christ our Lord. Practical love follows, and practical obedience. It is the first step that weighs. That it might be open to you, it cost the Savior all in unfathomable humiliation and the sacrifice of Himself for you and your sins. Oh, put off no more, but believe and be blessed in and with Him!
In vain men talk of a larger hope. There is no Savior but Christ, nor any way to the Father but Himself by faith. For not to believe is to give very deep insult to God and to His Son. There is another evil yet worse; the abuse of His grace, the attaching of indulged lusts and passions, of unjudged pollution of flesh and spirit, to that worthy Name. Should such men taste of His supper?