Luke 14:15-24: The Parable of the Great Banquet
We are all familiar with missed opportunities. A most important decision comes along and we don’t grab it, we choose the wrong thing and we regret it. There are many examples of this, here are some well-known examples from the world of business. In the early 2000s the company Yahoo was approached by Google to buy it for 1 million dollars, they rejected the offer and in 2020 Google reached the 1 trillion dollar mark. In 2000 Netflix approached Blockbuster to buy it out for 50 million, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and today Netflix is worth 228 billion. None of these compare to the losses of those who rejected the greatest offer in the universe. The parable we are looking at today, the parable of the Great Banquet in Luke 14:15-24, is all about how the religious leaders of the day, and the Israelites who followed them, missing out on the kingdom of God. By rejecting Christ, they rejected any opportunity to enter the Kingdom of God and lost everything including their eternal souls.
Our portion picks up in the middle of an awkward dinner party. It is a Sabbath day meal at a religious leaders house. The house is full of important guests and there are lots of people sitting outside the doors and the windows hoping to catch the table talk. Jesus is very confrontational with the religious leaders as He exposes their lovelessness because they are against His healing a man on the Sabbath; He exposes their pride as He remarks on their desire for the best seats and shows how pride people will not go to heaven; He offends every person in the room including the host as He talks about who should be invited to a feast. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife and that is where our portion picks up. V14 ended with a reference to the end of the age when there will be the final resurrection of the dead and the final judgement. V15 picks up this thread and gives opportunity for Christ to give the famous parable of the Great Banquet.
We will look at this parable under two headings, firstly, there are the invited guests, and then there are the unexpected guests.