Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’” (NLT)
Before we were even born into the world, God wrote out a name tag for each of us for the party he throws for us. He doesn’t want any to miss out on eternal life with him, so he invites all to join in. If he had not so acted, we would be utterly lost. We can’t demand God grant us his friendship. He has to take the initiative.
That is the good news: we are invited to the party irrespective of race or language or education. The more sobering news is that we don’t have to accept the invitation. We can refuse it and so miss out. That is not God’s fault. He does not reject us, we reject him.
Jesus told this story to warn his privileged Jewish audience that they were certainly invited. But they were not the only ones. The most unlikely people would also be invited and history shows that they more readily accepted the invitation.
As far as salvation is concerned, God has done his bit. The party places are set, the food is ready, the name tags written. Yet salvation also involves our bit. We can choose to take our places or miss out. The party will go on regardless.
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