Great Banquet, Great Heart, Great Joy
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
Yesterday we told you that we’re launching a new series talking about Jesus’s powerful parables. We talked about this dinner party in Luke 14 where Jesus was a bit of an awkward dinner guest at the house party of a wealthy religious leader.
The passage we’re looking at today is the start of the parable Jesus tells at this dinner party. And it starts with preparation and an invitation.
In the ancient world a big banquet would take a long time to prepare. The initial invitations would likely have rolled out even before the beginning of that preparation process in order to shape how much food and drink to gather.
But finally, after many days of work and hours upon hours of labor, the banquet is ready. The man sends his servant out with the joyful news: “Come! The banquet is now ready! Come and celebrate with me!”
We will look at the guests responses over the next few days, but for now it’s important to note that Jesus very much understood his arrival and the kingdom he inaugurated to be the banquet that has been in preparation for centuries.
Jesus himself was the servant calling the people of the promise, the people of Israel who had the Old Testament Scriptures, to join the feast that had been foretold through all the law and the prophets. It had been in the works for many generations but it was finally here.
Note the key phrases from this passage: preparing a great banquet, invited many guests, come.
All three of these speak to the generous, loving, longing heart of God. All three speak to the labor he has put into the great work of redemption. Jesus’s joy-to-the-world-restoration project has been in the works for a long time, many people far and wide are invited into it, c’mon in and enter into the joy!
Which of those three phrases resonates most with you today? Why? What does that phrase tell you about the heart of God? How might you live under the generous love of that phrase today and have it percolate in your heart and mind throughout the day?