Why do you not want to Worship?

When we consider a banquet, we will normally think of a feast costing up to a hundred dollars or two, per person. It will be a meal with many courses, wine, and good company. Normally, people organize these banquets as a method of celebration.

In modern times, such a celebration is normally held during weddings or an as an anniversary celebration. At these celebrations, we will reflect on and commemorate the goodness of love or an organization’s achievements. Likewise, when Jesus said that there will be a feast in heaven (Revelations 19:9), He is not kidding.

But when Jesus said that we should give a banquet for “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” (Luke 14:13), what on earth is He talking about?

To make sense of Christ’s logic, we need to take a look at His reasoning. He said that if we were to invite the rich, they might invite us back and we will be repaid (Luke 14:12), but if we invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, they will not be able to repay us. It is, for this reason, we will be blessed and be repaid at the resurrection for the righteous (Luke 14:13-14).

After Jesus said all these, someone who was listening to Christ’s teaching of banquet etiquette replied Him saying, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 14:15, NIV).

Inwardly, He must be thinking about the food that will be served, the celebration that must be taking place, and the recipients of all this goodness will not only be rich but also the poor. On that day, all who eat together at the table of Christ will share the goodness of God that will be served. And to that receiving of goodness, this man must have reasoned, how blessed must it be to be there!

But to this, Jesus replied to Him saying that people who were initially invited [1] all made excuses not to come. One said that he has just bought a field and must tend it. The other bought five yokes of oxen and must try it. The other said they just got married and cannot attend. (Luke 14:18-20).

Now the question we must ask is this: if the feast in the Kingdom of God is going to be a celebration of God’s goodness, then why would they not want to come?

Earthly Things a Barrier to Worship?

While trying to make sense of what the three persons must have said, I picture them saying this. “Sorry, I know you have invited me, but now I have bought a field. I don’t know the conditions of it. I know you have invited me, but I think my field is more important. It needs urgent attention. So please excuse me.”

Or, “sorry, I just bought five yokes of oxen. This is awesome and will help me in my work. I think trying if it is efficient is more important than coming to enjoy this banquet.”

None of this made sense to me. If you were to eat at the “Kingdom of God”, then that in itself should signify that we are already in heaven. Earthly lives should have ceased to exist and we should all be gathered with Him in celebration. Why focus on work or the efficiency of work?

Okay, let’s consider this from another perspective. We are still living and we need food to live. Then consider that God Himself is preparing a ten-course meal for you filled with all of His goodness, will you choose to work and not dine with Him? I mean, a meal wouldn’t affect your work, right? Will you allocate three hours of your time off work so that you can dine with the King of Kings?

Okay, now let’s consider that maybe they are all so busy that they are unable to dine with Him for that few hours. Shouldn’t they have allocated time off since invitation was already sent way beforehand? [1] This is just a second invitation; a gentle reminder of some sort. After all, they have all agreed to come at the first invitation, right?

To the contemporary reader, it simply does not make sense. And it does not make sense to God as well. And He burnt with anger (Luke 14:21).

 

God Prepared Himself for us to Worship Him

“Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” (Luke 14:16-17, NIV).

When Jesus said this parable, He was referring to the kingdom of God. This kingdom of God needs to be prepared. And now when He is saying this parable, He refers to the time when it is now ready. He had done all that needs to be done to prepare for this feast.

“This is a feast that cost Christ His life. It is a feast that displays the goodness of God in all its entirety. And if we choose to not attend this feast, we choose to reject all that He has done to prepare for it.”

And to prepare for this feast, Jesus took His body and broke it for us; and with His blood, made a new covenant with us. This is a feast that cost Christ His life. It is a feast that displays the goodness of God in all its entirety. It is a feast that was to be done in remembrance of what Christ has done so that we may dine with Him. And if we choose to not attend this feast, we choose to reject all that He has done to prepare for it.

Those who were Not Invited will Worship More Fervently than Those who were Invited

The feast must be enjoyed. People must be invited to partake in the goodness of the Lord. Those who were not initially invited will be welcomed. In a fit of anger, the Master of the house opened His doors to the poor, the blind, the lame, and the crippled. Everyone in the open roads and the country lanes will be compelled into the house of God. They were barbarians, people who are uncivilized. They are the robbers who attack people between cities (Luke 10:30). They will be invited into the feast of the King.

It is at the feast that their sins (sins that are greater than those who are invited) will be forgiven. For that, they will love Him more (Luke 7:42-43). It is they who pray at a distance, who do not dare look up to the heavens, who beat his chest and ask God for mercy in acknowledgment for their sins (Luke 18:13). It is they who will be justified before God (Luke 18:14); it is they who cannot repay the price Christ has paid for them (Luke 14:14); it is they who will dine with the King.

The House Must Be Filled

“The feast has been prepared personally by the King and there is nothing else better than to partake in the goodness of the King. Everyone is welcomed.”

Now that we consider all of these, we know that the house must be filled. The banquet must go on. The feast has been prepared personally by the King and there is nothing else better than to partake in the goodness of the King. Everyone is welcomed. However, those who reject His invitation will lose out in the enjoyment of His goodness. Nonetheless, the door is still open. Will you join in the celebration?

 

Footnotes:

[1] – According to Jewish traditions, people normally receive two invitations to a single banquet. The second will be sent when it is ready. (Refer to “Manners & Customs”)

References:

Manners & Customs: Banquets and Feasts. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=39&sub=413&cat_name=Manners+%26+Customs&subcat_name=Banquets+and+Feasts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s