NOTES from Sermon:
- What has been your experience when you went to a banquet? I remember an athletic banquet in high school and a choir Magical Banquet in college. Most recently at our son's wedding where there was lots of music and good food.
- Jesus life was: He healed, He taught, and He ate a lot. Even after his death he made breakfast for his disciples.
- Luke 14 is a parable. Before he told this parable a Pharisee made the assumption that he would be blessed at the banquet of the kingdom of God. Jesus was at the home of the Pharisee when he replied with this parable.
- Look at the cultural context - when a banquet would be held, the invitation would go out to say who was invited. A servant, most likely a slave, would go to those who were invited to tell them it was going to happen. Date and time to be announced later. Be prepared. So these people had already accepted the invitation. Banquets might be as long as a week. You were asked to commit to this length of time. The servant was most likely a Jew. Perhaps he had gotten into debt and would need to serve a seven year period of time to pay off his debt.
-So now in this parable the servant has gone out to tell them the banquet is ready. "Come." Now.
- This is told again in Matthew 22. But in Matthew a "King" is preparing the banquet. If a king invited you, you would not turn him down. It would have been dangerous to turn down the king's invitation.
- To make this parable more meaningful - insert yourself into the parable. Become one of the characters. How would you feel? How would you think? What was it like to be there? This morning I have chosen to become the servant in the story.
- If I, as the servant, have been told to go out and invite people to the banquet - I have a list of who to invite. I might be glad to do something different from the mundane daily chores.
- I invited everyone on the list. Now, I am going back to the same people to tell them the banquet is ready. I do not anticipate any problem.
- I go to the first person and am told, "No." I go to the second and the third and am told, "No" each time. I am very concerned about what am I going to tell my master/king. Would I be blamed? Is it my responsibility that no one is coming? I begin to think about what I am going to say to the king? How will I make my case to the king?
- I go back and tell the king and he tells me who to invite now. I tell him I have already done that. I had a back-up plan. I invited other Jews that I most likely knew - those from my class of people. Most of the people were poor. No middle class. You were either rich or poor. 95% were poor.
- But there is still room at the banquet and my master/king tells me to go out to the roads and country lanes and invite "them" to come. But even though I am a servant/slave - I am a good Jew. He is asking me to invite the Gentiles in. I am to invite the "unclean" to the banquet of the king. How can I a good Jew do such a thing? How is this possible? I, a good Jew, should not even talk to them. But that is what I am told to do!
- Today, I am a good Pharisee. I know what the rules are. I know what I am to do. I have convictions on what is right and lawful. Do I look upon certain people as "unclean?" I really believe everyone is invited to the banquet, but do I live that way? I am having to examine my life as to how I feel toward illegal immigrants in this Country. I look at them as a whole - one way, but I think individually I would have compassion on that one person. How do I relate? Is everyone invited into my home, into my church? I have some self-examination to do. I have a lot of work to do. Do I really live like everyone is invited? Am I inviting everyone?
- I see something about myself when I put myself into the role of the servant in this parable. I have work to do.
- I encourage you as you read the Bible to do these three things:
1. Hear the scripture as if you were there.
2. Imagine the scripture like you were one of the people in the story.
3. How does the character you choose speak to you?
* Then let God speak to you as you see yourself in the story. Allow the Holy Spirit to tell you what God is saying to you. Be open to hearing what you are being told. Be willing to listen and obey.