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Women World Leaders' Podcast

May 24, 2023

A great banquet is coming—greater than anything we could ever imagine! And YOU are invited! Will you RSVP today? Join Julie Jenkins as she unpacks the parable of the Great Feast as told in Luke 14:12-24.


Welcome to Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders’ Podcast. I am your host, Julie Jenkins, and it is my honor to walk with you as we open scripture together and ask God what He wants us to know today.

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Well on this, the Wednesday edition of the podcast, we are currently walking through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John chronologically. Today’s scripture comes from Luke 14:12-24. Before we begin, let’s pray.

Dear Most Holy God – we are humbled to come before you today, and we are ever-thankful for your presence! Thank you for guiding us as we open your Word together. Father, we long to know you more and understand all you have for us. Thank you for meeting us where we are and teaching us in those magnificent “aha” moments, and in little bite-sized nuggets. You alone know exactly what we need to hear and when we need to hear it, so we give you the reins and ask you to guide us into YOUR teaching, teaching us the lessons you have for us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

The scene for today’s scripture was set at the beginning of Luke 14, where we were told that Jesus was in the home of a prominent Pharisee for a Sabbath meal. Jesus had already stirred the pot by healing a man with swollen limbs on the Sabbath and then boldly teaching about the humility each guest should exhibit as he chooses the appropriate seat – as far away from the host as possible.

Today, we read about Jesus’ continued teaching to the Pharisee and his guests. Beginning in Luke 14:12 from the New Living Translation…

12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

As we’ve said in the past, meals were a time of honor and celebration. There were often two main reasons why someone would have been invited to a meal: either the host was fulfilling an obligation – that is, the guest had previously invited the host to his home; therefore the host was now making the scales even. The second reason for issuing a specific invitation was so the host himself could step up the social ladder by having a particular guest of distinction in his home.

In other words, the invitation list often had more to do with the host trying to elevate himself than any form of gracious hospitality.

So Jesus calls out the host – in front of everyone. He teaches that a host should invite those who could never repay him.

Jesus calls each of us to give to others out of pure love and generosity.

This teaching can go so deep. Because although we understand the concept of unselfish giving, it is SO difficult to do on an ongoing basis – because it is in our nature to want to be seen and appreciated. My mom raised seven children. And although I am a mom of three and I understand SOME of what she went through, I will never know her exact thoughts and struggles as she graciously gave of herself for all of us so that she could be the mom God called her to be. But God knows.

God sees us each time we put ourselves on the back burner to care with a pure heart and unselfish motive for someone who may never repay us. God is CONSTANTLY calling you and me to a higher standard. He is continually helping us grow into the fully glorified version of ourselves that He has created us to be.

Jesus called out the host, and He calls us out, too, to put ourselves aside and look out for the good of another. And…He promises us HIS reward – which will be far better than any earthly reward could ever be.

One man who was listening, was beginning to understand. The reward for Jesus’ faithful followers will be offered at the banquet to end all banquets – hosted by God in heaven when we reach the end times. Verse 15 continues…

15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet[a] in the Kingdom of God!”

16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

In this parable, Jesus says that “a man” – God—prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.

This is indeed a picture of the amazing banquet God will hold in the end times, which the people knew about from the teaching of the prophets.

Now in Jesus’ day, any major social event, such as this, required two invitations. The first invitation told of the upcoming event and required an RSVP – so the host would know exactly how to prepare. And then, when the preparation had been completed, a second invitation would go out to all those who had already committed to come, telling them to “Come now – the celebration is about to begin.” It was considered extremely rude and insulting to the host for the guest who had already committed to coming to change their mind. Yet, in this case, many did just that.

Jesus gave three examples of the type of excuses the host received from those who did not attend the banquet. If we read through these quickly, we might mistakenly think these potential guests were justified in walking away at the last minute, but on further examination, it is clear they were in the wrong.

The first excuse for not coming was,  ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 

Purchasing a field was a major undertaking and would never be done lightly. Anyone buying a field would inspect it BEFORE the purchase. So yes, this matter may have seemed pressing to the individual, but the reality is that it was not immediately necessary as the purchase, by this time, was complete. And yet the potential guest clearly chose his own excitement for the newly purchased property and his own worldly future over his commitment and relationship with the host.

When have you and I been so concerned about securing OUR future on earth that we have neglected our relationship with the Lord?

The second excuse was,  ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 

This man had JUST purchased ten oxen, no small investment. Again, this would not have been done without the purchaser first examining the animals and ensuring they were a team that was suitable for all that he needed.

So this man was now giving up an opportunity to give honor to the banquet host and giving INTO the unending call of work.

When have you and I neglected our time with the Lord in order to get “just one more thing” done?  

The third excuse was, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

Clearly, this man’s wedding celebration was no longer going on. We know this simply because there would not be two simultaneous celebrations in the same town. And further, the wedding had certainly been in the past, as the potential guest had responded that he would come to the banquet. So, for a reason we don’t understand, this man was using his wife as an excuse not to fulfill the obligation he had already committed to.

How often do you and I choose to put Jesus on hold? Even using our loved ones as an excuse?

God is patient and long-suffering. But He will not wait forever. And if we choose again and again not to come to Him, our hearts will become more in tune with the world and will be hardened to hearing and responding to God’s call.

The host of the banquet sent out the first round of invitations and received RSVPs from the expected guests, but when the actual celebration arrived, many claimed they had something better to do.

This group represents the people of Israel – God’s chosen people. They were called to salvation by God, but when Jesus came and told them that He was the Messiah, God’s Son sent to usher them into eternity, they turned away – using flimsy excuses.

In the parable, we read that this turning away made the master furious. God’s anger is something we don’t read about all that often in the Bible. But there will come a day when God’s fury will be unleashed at those invited guests who have consistently turned away from Him.

So, in the parable, the host opens His arms to those not originally on His guest list. He invites the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, and then he invites all those from the country lanes and from behind the hedges.

The translation is that God’s invitation is not limited to the Jewish people—those we know as God’s chosen people. Those, the originally invited guest of honor, turned away, and now, ALL are invited to the banquet! The invitation to the Lord’s celebration is for everyone! Whether you are Jew or Gentile, no matter your color, social status, or country of origin. YOU are invited as one of the Lord’s honored guests!

All you have to do is put Jesus first. Put aside what you are doing and make your relationship with Jesus the most important part of your life!

This parable was a warning to the Jewish people – but it is also a warning to us.

Yes, we are all invited. But to be able to enter into the Lord’s banquet, we must each choose individually to not only RSVP, but to show up! This will be the best party ever, but there is a chance YOU will miss it.

Were you raised in a Christian home, and now figure that since your parents are saved, you are, too?

Did you grow up going to church with your family, but never truly made Jesus YOUR Lord and Savior?

Have you always believed in God but never really made time for Him?

Do you put your financial future, your work, or even others in your life above your relationship with Jesus?

If so, this message may be a wake-up call for you. We each are responsible for our own walk with Jesus. We are ALL invited, but we EACH must say yes. There are no good excuses.

There will no doubt be a point when God WILL turn away from those who have consistently turned away from Him. The parable ends with the words…

For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

Will you pray with me today? Will you make the decision to secure YOUR place at the banquet?

Dear Most Holy God, I give my life to you. I’m here not only to RSVP to your invitation, but to invite you to be Lord of my life. When you say jump, I will jump. When you tell me to run, I will run. Jesus, I will hold onto you, humbling myself and putting others in front of me, and putting you at the very front of it all. I honor you and thank you for loving me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.