The Full House2
‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.”
The pre-invited guests have all backed out. But the banquet is prepared, the food is ready, the table is set. So the master of the banquet sends his lead servant back out to gather up all sorts of people who wouldn’t ordinarily get invited to a big fancy banquet.
There are still seats available.
So then the master looks further afield, sending his servant outside the city gates into the less densely populated areas, the byways and seldom-traveled roads to gather people for the banquet.
The heart of the master of the banquet is a full house, lots of laughter, and conviviality. The house will be full and full of joy, it’s just a matter of who will get the privilege of participating in it.
Ultimately, this parable ends up mirroring the unfolding narrative of the Scriptures. The Old Testament prophets were the ones who pre-invited Israel and prepared the way. The favored servant Jesus arrives and tells the Jewish religious leaders that the long-awaited kingdom of God has finally arrived and their time has come! But they’ve all got other, more pressing concerns to attend to.
So then Jesus moves on to the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame within Israel. They respond much more readily to the invitation. But there’s still room.
So the work of Jesus (and eventually the church) will spread beyond Israel, to the other nations. This was one of the hardest things for the early Jewish church to accept.
There are a number of threads woven throughout this parable: 1. the eagerness of the master of the banquet to have a full house, 2. the wafer-thin excuses that demonstrate how little-valued the banquet is to the original guests, and 3. the surprising turn to a more expansive invitation that draws in the previously overlooked.
Which of those threads most resonates or challenges you?
Spend just a few seconds taking one of those threads and think it through to the next logical step or two. What else does this tell us about the Master of the Banquet, about how our priorities get out of whack, or about how the invitation needs to continue to roll out to our community?