When it comes to faith, many of us want formulas. A + B = C, we want linear steps. We want straightforward answers to our questions, but often, when Jesus was asked a question, he didn't respond with a straightforward answer. Often, he would say, "It's like this," and he would proceed to tell a story. These stories are what we call parables
I want to look at a parable called the Great Banquet the Great Supper. I can only assume I've picked the Great Banquet because of how much I love food. I love food! Recently, a friend of mine was going on vacation. I asked him, "Have you chosen any fun or unique places to eat yet? He responded by saying, No. I'm going to be honest. I'm not really into food. I was personally offended. When I go on vacation, the meals are one of my favorite parts.
In this parable We're receiving a feast that is more satisfying and more joyful than our favorite meal. Our Creator is offering us a feast, but we don't understand how good the invite is, so we either ignore it or we reject it. Now I have a question for you...Would you say your life is full? Would you say your life is satisfying? Have you ever wondered if your life could be more complete? This is why it's so important for us to pay close attention to this parable, because we are being invited to a full life, a life where every deep desire is provided for, a life of delight and wonder and joy.
You are being invited to the kingdom of God. Whether you're a teenager or a “boomer”, whether you're a young professional or a parent, whether you're a Christian or whether you'd say today that you don't believe in Jesus, this parable has the potential to illuminate great truths for our lives. There is a feast, and you are invited, but the response is up to you.
In Luke 14, verse 16. Jesus is talking. "But he said to him, 'A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, "Come, for everything is now ready.” ‘“On a side note in the ancient world being invited to a feast or a banquet was a huge privilege and a huge honor. Today, we have these magical devices where we can push a button and have food delivered to our house instantly, or we can drive a couple of miles to Lowe’s Foods or Trader Joe’s and get meat and produce. In the ancient world, they would have been amazed by this.
For them food was not a convenience. They didn't have food in abundance, so to be invited to a banquet or a feast was a great honor. "But they alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused. ‘And another said, 'I have bought five yokes of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused. ‘And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. ‘So, the servant came and reported these things to his master."
We see three straight examples of people who had been invited to this grand feast. It was such a privilege, but they turned down the invitation for excuses. It's interesting. In Jesus' story, these excuses weren't absurd. They were not immoral. These people were just busy with their normal, everyday circumstances like you and like me. They were busy with their circumstances.
What is one of the most common phrases you hear when you ask someone how they're doing? "I'm busy. I'm good, but life is busy. It's crazy. It's hectic." You and I live in a world of volunteer commitments like PTA meetings, birthday parties, homework, ball practice, business dinners, errands, and hobbies. Not only these things, but we have our different Internet and social media accounts and news feeds and Amazon purchases. It's fair to say that we have more options than ever. Like the examples in the parable, a lot of these things are not bad at all. They're fine, but what we learn in the parable is these people weren't even interested in the feast or the invite because they had better things and more important things to take care of. These options mattered more.
Today, we see it's not about the excuses. Jesus is teaching us about values, priorities, our desires, and our longings. Jesus is talking to us about what matters most, the kingdom of God.
Those who are full of other priorities will miss the feast. Those with full schedules and those who seek things equally will miss the feast, because they don't need the feast. They're already full of other things. What do you value the most? If someone were to look at your schedule or your calendar, what would your priorities look like? Would they even be able to tell, or would it just look like thing after thing after thing? What do you say, "Yes," to? What do you say, "No," to? What do you invest in? Those who are full of other priorities will miss the feast.
Hopefully, by now you've thought of your favorite meal or some of your favorite meals. I've been thinking about what makes a meal special. I've thought of a few different reasons. The first reason is sort of non-negotiable. The food tastes good or it leaves you content and satisfied.
The second reason would be the company you're surrounded with. When I thought of my favorite meals, they go, hoping it will bring you fulfillment. usually included Robin or my family or my friends (great company).
The third thing would be some kind of experience or moment, like maybe an adventure or a different locale.
What makes your favorite meals so special is exactly what makes the kingdom of God so special. The kingdom of God, just like your favorite meal, is filling. It's satisfying. It tastes good. The Bible says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Jesus himself said, "I have come that they may have life to the full." This is what the feast is. It's an invite to live a full life with God.
Just like your favorite meals, the kingdom of God has great company. One way to think about the kingdom of God is the with-God life. The invite to the feast is an invite to spend life moment by moment with God. This is what the feast is. God wants you to sit with him, to be with him every moment. Then, the kingdom of God, like your favorite meal, is out of the ordinary. It's an adventure. If we're open to it, God wants to lead us to new and bold experiences. This is what the feast is.
Jesus is the Bread of Life. He wants to invite us to his feast,