A Compelling Invitation

KEY VERSE: “The lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” —Luke 14:23


THERE WAS A certain man who made a great feast and invited many guests. When the time for the feast arrived, he sent his servants to inform them, saying, “‘Come, for everything is now ready’. But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me’. Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me’. Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come’. The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame’.”—Luke 14:17-21, New International Version

Looking for the meaning of this parable, we see that God had indeed provided a great feast. Many years before, he had sent word to the Jewish nation that they had the privilege of becoming members of the body of Christ, and sharing with the Messiah in the blessing of all the families of the earth. Yet, when Jesus appeared, and the time for the feast came, these became careless and indifferent, and said in different ways, ‘I am too busy with my worldly interests’. Thus they slighted the invitation that God had extended to them through the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. During the ‘three and one-half years of his ministry, Jesus’ preaching was to the poor of Israel—publicans and sinners, those who had “ears to hear.” (Luke 14:35) But the Pharisees rejected Jesus for many reasons, one of which was that he received and ate with sinners.—Luke 15:2

The great feast of this parable we understand to represent the rich blessings of God’s providence, and the knowledge of his “high calling.” (Phil. 3:14) This feast has been spread forth for the last nineteen hundred years, for those whom God has been inviting to know his purposes for mankind. A few of Israel came, but not enough to fill the places set.

So the master sent out his servants a third time, saying that they should go outside the city to the highways and byways, and urge all the people to come in that the house might be filled. Because Israel had rejected their promised Messiah, the parable relates how the invitation to the supper was extended to the Gentiles.

This call continues to go out to all who have hearing ears and responsive hearts. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” (I Cor. 1:26,27) hath God chosen, but chiefly the “poor of this world rich in faith.”—James 2:5

Ultimately the full number of heirs to the kingdom purposed by the Great Householder will have been called, accepted, and found worthy to share in that great feast. It will be the nuptial feast, in honor of the marriage of the Lamb, after his wife hath made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7-9) After this account, we have the Lord’s message to these saying, “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Those originally called, who refused, will not taste of this feast. But thank God that he has arranged for another banquet which, in the kingdom, will be spread for all people—a “feast of fat things.”—Isa. 25:6-8

Dawn Bible Students Association
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