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Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
June 17, 2012
Central Passage
Luke 14:15-24
Description
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
 
Notice that Jesus didn’t rebuke the man who said, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God.” Jesus didn’t rebuke him because he is not wrong. He is very right. Jesus wasn’t rebuking this man by the parable of the banquet. Jesus is teaching this man who it is that eats bread in the kingdom of God: the lame, blind, crippled, deaf, mute; the vagabonds and street dwellers.
It is not those who are invited to the banquet that eat the Master’s food. It is those who are compelled to come to the banquet that eat the Master’s food and drink His wine.
 
My children, you are the blind, the lame, the mute, the deaf. Some of you are vagabonds and street dwellers; homeless drifters; beggars. This is not a physical reality as all of us have some measure of wealth and possessions. It is a heavenly reality. And so too is it a heavenly reality that none of you were invited to this heavenly banquet.
 
And yet all of you are here. You are here because you have been compelled to come; compelled by the Spirit of God who is the messenger sent by the Master to gather guests to fill the His house. You are compelled to come and taste His banquet and dine in His presence. You are compelled to drink from His cup the wine He has mixed, the wine of wisdom, and your hearts shall be gladdened.
Blessed are you who eat bread in the kingdom of God because you eat heavenly bread.
 
The irony of this parable is that there is no invitation to the Master’s banquet. There is no RSVP card in the mail. There really is no opportunity to politely decline the Master’s call to come to His house and eat His food and drink His wine. The evidence of this is in the way the man treats those who decline His call to come to His banquet. They shall never eat of His banquet.
 
Those who think the Master is simply sending out an invitation, an RSVP, are fools. They are proud, pompous, self-loving fools. They’re the kind of people who turn down invitations so that the one who invited them will be impressed that they’re too busy with life to be able to come to the party. They brag about the reason they can’t come. They want people to think that they’re so busy that they don’t have time for pointless little banquets and gatherings. They think were invited because they impressed the one throwing the party or having the dinner.
They are in love with themselves, thinking that any party they attend will be better for it. They’re the ones who think “fashionably late” is a measure of status when really it’s a measure of disrespect. It’s a mark of pride to be fashionably late. People are fashionably late so they don’t appear needy or eager; it says to the host and the other guests, “You’re not as important as what I was doing before I got here and I don’t really need to be here. I have other things I could be doing.” Same with leaving early. It says, “It’s been fun but I’ve more important things to do than to wile away my time with you.” These things may be conventional wisdom among men, but the Man of this hour is not conventional.
 
Those who rejected the call were bragging about their lives. They don’t need the man’s banquet. If anything, He needs them to make the banquet a success. If anything their presence at the banquet would make it a better banquet. Perhaps they think they’ve even given the host and the other guests something to talk about: about those friends that were invited but couldn’t come because they’re so important, rich, and busy. They think their names are worth dropping. And they will be dropped. They will be dropped from the guest list and they will never taste of the Master’s banquet.
 
Those that they think they are worth inviting are fools. The truth is, there is no invitation. There is only the call to come. And those who come are compelled to come. They cannot refuse because they have no excuse to offer. They are in need of the food and shelter the Master offers. They are blind and lame. They are deaf and mute. They are homeless drifters and vagabonds. They get by by stealing or begging. They are street dwellers. They are wise.
 
Their wisdom isn’t in their many possessions or in their intelligence. Their wisdom is in their poverty. Those who come know they are simple and poor. They know they are beggars and vagabonds; street dwellers and homeless souls. They are the simple that turn into the house of wisdom and they fill the house of God. We think it an insult to be called “simple” or “poor” or “needy”. But these are the names of the blessed. Blessed are the poor; theirs is the kingdom of God.
 
You are wise because you see your poverty. You have no lasting wealth; no permanent possessions. You have nothing that will not fade away or be destroyed by rust or fire or moth. Your body fails you at every turn. Whether you are lame or blind or crippled or sick or infected or attacked by disease, whether your bones are brittle or your heart is weak. You feel the mortality of your nature. You have no place in this world to lay your head but on the silky pillow of a coffin. And you are wise because of it.
 
You are not invited to be here. There is no invitation. You are compelled to be here. If you thought you were invited then you would decline the invitation because that’s what the unrepentant do. They decline the call of God. Those who do not attend the divine gathering, the holy convocation, the banquet in the house of God, they think they have been invited to church but simply have other, more pressing things to do. They think they can politely refuse the invitation and still remain in the Master’s good graces. They believe that since the Master invited them they must be desirable to the Master and will be invited again. But they are not invited any more than a schoolboy is invited to the principal’s office when his presence is requested by the man in charge; or of a daughter whose father bids her come home. To deny the request of your presence is not simply to say, “No thanks; I’m good,” but it is to deny the call of the Master.
 
But you are here. You have heard wisdom’s call and you have turned to her house. You fear the Lord and you have knowledge of the Holy One. Though you have nothing to offer Him and nothing that would make Him consider you, still He sends out His servant, the Holy Spirit sent from the Father, to compel you to come to His banquet. The Holy Spirit calls you by the good news of Jesus: that for His sake your sins do not condemn you and by His obedience you are called obedient. Jesus’ blood and righteousness is your sure defense against the stain and rot sin, death, and the power of the devil. He has purchased you with His innocent suffering and death and by His precious, holy body and blood given and shed for you.
 
The table is set. The wine is well mixed with righteousness and life. The Master calls: “Take, eat; take, drink. This is my body and blood which is given for you.”
 
Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed is everyone who eats bread in the kingdom of God. Blessed are you.
 
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +