Christ Jesus was invited to eat in the house of an important Pharisee on the Sabbath day. Luke said there was a “certain man before him which had the dropsy,” a condition that could have been the result of liver disease. It seems likely the man was there as a trap the Pharisees set for Jesus.
They wanted to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath, and He did not disappoint them. He asked them first if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath, and then He healed the man.
Jesus then spoke a parable about humility and compassion for people who could not repay them. Call to their feasts “the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed,” Jesus said. He promised they would be “recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
Hearing Jesus say this, one of the guests said, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.” Like many Jews, the guest assumed he would be in the resurrection of the just, so Christ Jesus gave another parable in which a “certain man made a great supper, and bade many.”
When the supper was ready to be served, he sent his servant to each invited guest to tell them the feast was ready. In that day, people were invited twice to a banquet, so these people had already been invited once and had accepted the invitation.
All of the guests made excuses for not attending the banquet. The first man said he had bought some land and needed to see it. It was supper time, though, and there would not have been much light left in the day for the man to see the land.
The second man said he was going to try out five yoke of oxen he had just bought. Again, it was late in the day and the man had little time to test the oxen. A third man said he had just gotten married and could not attend the banquet. For Jews, weddings were quite elaborate events and the man would have known when he was invited the first time that he was getting married and might not want to attend.
When the servant reported to his master that he had gotten nothing but excuses, the master became angry. He told the servant to go “into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.”
When the people who were least likely to be invited to a banquet accepted the invitation, the servant told the master there was still room in the banquet hall. The master said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
The banquet hall door was closed, and the people who made excuses could not come in even if they changed their minds. The message here is that, for the most part, Jews refused to believe on Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, so the gospel invitation went out to Samaritans and Gentiles, people the Jews believed were least likely to be invited to a feast.
Every believer carries an invitation to people everywhere to accept Christ and attend the great marriage supper of the Lamb of God. None of us knows when the door will be closed, but we know for sure it will one day be closed and it will be too late for the people who have not accepted the gospel invitation. My prayer is that no one reading this will be standing outside the door.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]