Church of the Good Shepherd

The Parable of the Great Banquet

1.  The Kingdom of God is a Party

… A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.  - Luke 14:16

Most Parables are about “The Kingdom”

The kingdom of God is like …

  • A grain of mustard seed that a man planted in his field
  • A treasure hidden in a field
  • A merchant in search of fine pearls
  • A net that is thrown into the sea and gathers fish of every kind

A.  Jesus doesn’t Say “The Kingdom of God is like a Great Banquet”

A man in v.15 sets up a connection to the Kingdom.

“When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” ” (Luke 14:15, ESV)

Assumption – The Kingdom of God will be a feast like this one

A party can make or break your social standing

-          Get invited to the right ones and you’re made

-          Get humiliated at a party, and it could mark you for life

This Feast:

  • On the Sabbath (14:1)
    • So after they all went to worship together
  • At the house of a ruler of the Pharisees (14:1)
    • Probably mostly Pharisees invited
    • Pharisees are the religious elite
      • Not a job
      • But a group within Judaism
      • Some were full time teachers, but others had day jobs
      • Yet they all were known for being strict, lots of rules, rigorous ways of thinking and acting
  • Because they were all “important” they struggled over who would get the best seats
    • V.7-11
    • Jesus’ teaching on not choosing the best seat
      • “Best Seat” is closer to the center of the ”U” – near the host
      • If you choose the best and someone more important  shows up, you’ll be asked to move down a slot
  • A few uncomfortable moments in the party so far
    • After all – Jesus was there
    • The Pharisees were watching him carefully so see how he’d act (v.1c)
      • There were strict rules for eating
      • Strict rules for being at a party
      • Strict rule on how to act on the Sabbath
        • Jesus had already healed a man on the Sabbath (v.2)
        • An uncomfortable silence
        • Followed by Jesus’ teaching on how to be humble at a party (v.7-11)

So Jesus was at this party

Man Yells “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

Jesus doesn’t disagree that life with God is a party – a celebration

Jesus stretches the man’s thinking about what sort of party it will be.


2.  The Kingdom of God is a Party Characterized By Who Attends

A.  You can Judge a Party by the Guest List

Grandma vs Cujo

B.  Original Guests Bailed on The Party

Remember the setting where Jesus told this story

  • Right after worship on the Sabbath
  • At the house of a ruler of the Pharisees

Probably we can assume that the originally invited guests would fit in at this party

-          The “right” sort of people

-          A-List religious folks

-          Good Guys

-          People grandma would have gotten along with

  • Cujo would have hated them


Their Excuses Don’t Hold Water

v.18 – “I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it.”

-          Who buys a field without seeing it first?

-          Even if you did … the field isn’t going anywhere

-          If the man wanted to go to the party, he really could

-          This is a lousy excuse

v.19 – “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them.”

-          Again, this is a bad excuse

-          Back then, oxen were work animals

-          Similar today to a John Deere tractor

-          Most farmers had one or two yoke of oxen

  • This guy bought 5 yoke … 10 ox
  • He’s wealthy
    • Like saying “I just bought a fleet of 10 new pickup trucks and I haven’t seen them yet.”
    • You probably would have inspected them prior to purchase
    • OR … you would have someone on staff who can handle that sort of a thing
    • Either way … the oxen aren’t going anywhere

-          If he wanted to go to the party, he really could

v. 20 - “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”

-          Trend of bad excuses just getting worse

-          When the guy RSVP-ed to the party, you think he didn’t know he was getting married?

  • Jewish law has one year after getting married without military responsibilities
  • But nothing to stop you from taking your wife to a party with you

-          Again, if this guy wanted to come, he really could … and he could easily have brought his wife

Original invite list of “the right people” was filled with people who really didn’t want to be a part of the celebration.

C.  Round Two of Invitations-Crippled & Poor (v.21)

“Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.”

-          People who can’t pay you back

-          V.12-14

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” ” (Luke 14:12–14, ESV)

D.  Round Three – Highways & Hedges (v.23)

“And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. ” (Luke 14:23, ESV)

Who would be out traveling on a Sabbath?

-          Not Good Jewish People

  • You could only walk approx. ½ mile from your home on the Sabbath

-          Outsiders

-          Roman Soldiers

-          Traveling Merchants

-          Gypsies

-          Wild, no religious common ground

-          No shared rules

-          Just big appetites, crazy stories and some laughs

What Sort of Party Is the Kingdom of God?

  • Religious Types Won’t Want To Show Up
  • The Broken and Needy Gratefully Accept A Last Minute Invitation
  • And Wild “Outsiders” Are Invited to Crash the Party

Knowing all that, will you look at that group and still say, “Blessed is everyone who will eat in the kingdom of God!” ???

3.  What Is Our Role In the Banquet?

A.  What Group Are You?

-          Religious

-          Broken

-          Rebel

B.  Servants Inviting Others

Attending the Feast Feels A lot Like Inviting Others

Jesus & The Woman at the Well – John 4

The Disciples all went to Applebees (v.8)

After Jesus talked to this lady … someone who is definitely a “Highways and Hedges” sort of girl

-          They tell him to eat

“But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” ” (John 4:32–38, ESV)

The Best Feast / Celebration in Life = Advancing the Kingdom of God

-          Coming to Church isn’t a Party

-          Small Group isn’t a Party

-          Teaching 3rd Graders isn’t a Party


  • But … seeing a 3rd Graders Life Changed – that’s a Party, a Celebration
  • … seeing a marriage get healthy
  • … seeing a young lady stop cutting
  • … seeing someone get sober – for more than one week
  • … seeing someone you love and have prayed for up here in the baptism tank – that’s a celebration

Its work, it takes effort … but it’s worth it.


Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.  – Thomas Edison


4.  People Who Are Frustrated With their Faith Probably Aren’t Participating In the Mission

Tommy Allen & “I’m not being fed”

Most People who aren’t growing, who complain, who are frustrated … they look at the messy party that Jesus is throwing and opt out.

-          They want to show up every week to the meal

-          They want to be surrounded by comfortable feeling friends

-          They want to be handed a good meal

-          And they want to go away satisfied

The Kingdom of God is the sort of party that is best enjoyed by inviting, not by consuming.


1)      Pray (weekly bulletin spot)

2)      Weave this into your everyday life

3)      Eating

4)      Celebrating

5)      Having Fun

6)      Always Be Inviting


Do you remember when you got invited to the party that made your life?

-          How did it feel to get asked?  (Or to have her say “yes”?)

-          To get welcomed?

-          To feel like you belong?

That party probably didn’t change your life, but at the moment you felt like it could.

Today … there is a party you are being invited into.

  • Will you make excuses?
  • Or will you get involved?


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