“He replied, “Once a man gave a banquet and invited many people. When the time came for the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready!’ But they responded with a chorus of excuses. The first said to him, ‘I’ve just bought a field, and I have to go out and see it. Please accept my apologies.’ Another said, ‘I’ve just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to test them out. Please accept my apologies.’ Still another said, ‘I have just gotten married, so I can’t come.’ The servant came and reported these things to his master” (Luke 14:15-20).
Below are the words from a song from when I was in youth choir. I don’t know why the words stuck in my head – perhaps it’s because we used to mix them up and say, “I have married a cow and bought me a wife,” but the idea remained the same. There was a banquet being held and the invited people made excuses for not attending.
“I cannot come. I cannot come to the banquet don’t bother me now. I have married a wife, I have bought me a cow. I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum. Pray hold me excused, I cannot come.”
At the time I sang this song, I was attending a Lutheran church and had no clue as to what the song was about. All I knew was some sort of banquet invitation had been given and poor RSVP excuses were made.
After I became born again into God’s Kingdom, I found the account of this great banquet in Luke 14. I didn’t even know the song came from the Scriptures until I read Luke! I understood it from the only perspective I had at the time. The ‘banquet’ referred to accepting the invitation to enter the Kingdom through faith in Jesus. I had done that; I was born again so I was ‘at the banquet.’ It was not until ten years later when the Spirit of God opened my eyes to the Feasts of the LORD that I grasped the enormity of the invitation and the gravity of making excuses.
The fall ‘appointed times’ arrive each year: Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Feast of Tabernacles. The institutional church does not acknowledge these dates and times and remains ignorant 2000 years after Yeshua’s Parable of the Great Banquet. Others who may be familiar with the ‘appointed times’ remain complacent and do not embrace the celebrations that Adonai Himself provided for His people to see, know, and understand His Son more intimately and prophetically.
“The angel said to me, “Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 19:9).
Like the individuals in the parable, they make excuses as to why “I cannot come.” They are still getting married, buying and selling homes, can’t stay out that late because of small children, have wood to chop, bread to bake or are preparing for the next day’s activities. The worst excuse I have ever heard is that these are Jewish feasts and the invitation is completely rejected by Christians due to centuries of anti-semitism.
“Then the owner of the house, in a rage, told his servant, ‘Quick, go out into the streets and alleys of the city; and bring in the poor, the disfigured, the blind and the crippled!‘ The servant said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ The master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the country roads and boundary walls, and insistently persuade people to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet!’” (Luke 14:15-24).
The parable states that those who made excuses for not attending the banquet enraged the host. Read that again, the host was enraged by the responses of the people! In his rage he deemed that “not one person who was invited and made an excuse will even get a taste of his feast.” This statement reveals the magnitude of the host’s fury. These same words are found in Hebrews 4:3 regarding Israel and their disobedience to the Sabbath, “And in my anger, I swore they would not enter my rest.” It is dangerous to refuse an invitation from Adonai Himself.
Matthew 22 relates the same Parable, but adds more details. First, the banquet is a wedding feastfor the a king’s son. When used in context to the Feasts of the LORD, it is the wedding feast of the Lamb, Yeshua.
“Yeshua again used parables in speaking to them: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son, but when he sent his servants to summon the invited guests to the wedding, they refused to come. So he sent some more servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, I’ve prepared my banquet, I’ve slaughtered my bulls and my fattened cattle, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they weren’t interested and went off, one to his farm, another to his business; and the rest grabbed his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was furious and sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and burned down their city.“
Those invited to the wedding feast refused to come –– refused to come! They weren’t interested –– weren’t interested! Others, offended by the suggestion of going to a Jewish King’s wedding feast mistreated and killed the emissaries of the King.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘Well, the wedding feast is ready; but the ones who were invited didn’t deserve it. So go out to the street-corners and invite to the banquet as many as you find.’ The servants went out into the streets, gathered all the people they could find, the bad along with the good; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
The King told his servants that the ones who were invited didn’t deserve to come. They were not worthy; they did not merit the right to come to the wedding feast.
So the king’s servants went to the streets and invited those who were poor, blind, and crippled. When the king’s house was still not completely full, the servants “intently persuaded” others to come to the banquet. Persuasion. Intense persuasion.
Sometimes people can be persuaded to attend, but only to appease the servant; sometimes they just don’t care. Ultimately, it was not the original invited guests that filled the king’s house and sat at the table of the his son. It was not those who ‘refused to come’ and ‘weren’t interested’ who tasted the goodness of the feast, but only those who had willing hearts and marked the ‘appointed time’ on their calendar.
“One of the people at the table with Yeshua said to him, “How blessed are those who eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” (Matthew 22:15).
“The angel said to me, “Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 19:9)
“Now when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who wasn’t dressed for a wedding; so he asked him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth, for many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).
Another guest is described at the wedding feast ––– the one who came without wedding clothes. In ancient cultures, proper wedding clothes were provided by the host to everyone attending the feast so there was no distinction between rich and poor. Yet, this guest was rebellious to the requirements of the host for attending the wedding banquet. This guest’s arrogance made him speechless when confronted by the king about his wrong garment. He believed he could come to the wedding banquet however he pleased because he believed the king to be more gracious than righteous.
How many who believe they are in the Kingdom will miss the greatest event of all time because they refuse the invitation to come to the ‘rehearsal feast?’ How many will miss the greatest blessing in eternity because they make excuses for God’s ‘appointed times’ now? How many more who believe they follow God will be weeping and gnashing their teeth in the outer darkness when they realize God doesn’t honor man’s ways?
“For many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).
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