Don’t Miss The Great Banquet
Chan Gin Kai
Jesus was dining at a Pharisee’s house and he did not hesitate to call out their hypocrisy and arrogance. It is not surprising that there was no retort from them as all that Jesus said made sense. Jesus then went on to tell a parable about a great banquet — an invitation to heaven.
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
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 14:15-17)
The man was a superb host, and he prepared “a great banquet”. He was excited for people to come, so he “invited many guests” and then sent out reminders when everything was ready. He was eager to provide the best for his guests, and eager for them to attend.
That’s how God is too. When the Creator of the universe says He will prepare heaven for us, we can trust that it will be the most incredible place ever. Think of the most beautiful scenery you have ever laid eyes on, and reminisce the most wonderful experience you’ve ever had. Now multiply that by a zillion times, and add the element of eternity. He wants to pamper us with the very best and it will be far beyond our capacity to imagine!
Now think of the most excruciating pain you’ve ever felt. Think of the saddest moment in your life. Think also of your loneliest, angriest, most shameful, and most discouraging times ever. How much of these physical and emotional pains do you still feel? Unless any of them are recent, you’ll notice that your pains all fade with time; and especially so if you’ve replaced them with happier memories. Every pain you've ever felt will be washed away after you’ve spent some time with God in heaven.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Heaven is going to be awesome, and we’re all invited!
“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.’” (Luke 14:18-20)
It is interesting that Jesus said, “they all alike”, because fools seldom differ. These people were silly on two counts. Firstly, it was silly to miss the great banquet, with all that sumptuous food, music and party. Secondly, they’ve really got the silliest of excuses.
Why must the first guy see his new field so urgently? Wouldn’t he have seen the field before he bought it? And why can’t he go to see it after the banquet? It was a really weak excuse. The second guy wasn’t any better. He too could wait till after the banquet to try out the oxen. As for the third guy, what has being newly married got to do with not attending the banquet?
Excuses are easy to expose; and people who give excuses don’t know how silly they sound. A candid decline would have been disappointing, but an excuse is offending. It is more than a rejection to the other party, it is an insult to his intelligence.
Yet how often do we give excuses to others? How often do we give excuses to ourselves? And most importantly, how often do we give excuses to God?
The worst thing about give excuses to God is this… we will miss His party.
The Determined Host
“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.’
“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
“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. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” (Luke 14:21-24)
The owner of the house (the host) “became angry”, and justifiably so. The invited guests who have foolishly rejected him will not get a taste of his banquet, to their own detriment. But the host was determined to invite many more “so that my house will be full”.
It is interesting that the host told his servant to “compel them to come in”. Jesus certainly didn’t mean coercion or an “Inquisition-type” of “invitation”. But the point was clear, the host knew that the people needed to be convinced, and he wanted his servant to be highly persuasive.
The world needs to be convinced because they don’t understand the love and generosity of our good Host. They need to be persuaded because they’re deceived that their material pursuits are more precious than our treasures in heaven.
We are God’s invited guests, let’s not miss His invitation. We are His servants too, let’s go out and invite more people in.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.