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Reawakening to Christ's Missionby Duane Mabee on January 26, 2022
In Luke 14:15-23, Jesus told a story to some religious people who didn’t want to include certain kinds of people in their “church get togethers”. A wealthy man invited lots of people to a banquet, but they all made flimsy excuses for not coming. It was nasty insult, but the man chose to respond by extending his invitation to people who didn’t deserve to be there – the kind the people Jesus’ audience wouldn’t have had anything to do with. Look up the story and read it.
Consider the actions of the servant. It was common in that day to send out servants to let the invited guests know the meal was ready and it was time to come. The servant dutifully went to each invited guest, but the guests refused to come, so he reported back to his master as you would expect.
The master was furious and sent the servant into the city to invite the Jewish outcasts, the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame – people who could never repay the master’s extravagant grace. Notice the servant’s response in verse 22. It appears he may have anticipated his master’s response and had already invited the outcasts, but there was still more space at the tables. The master then instructed the servant to go to the countryside and bring in people who probably were not Jewish. Jesus’ audience would have called them “Gentile dogs”. The master wanted his banquet tables filled.
Of course, the story isn’t about putting on a dinner party. It’s about God’s desire to save all kinds of people – including those we don’t want to have anything to do with. It’s also about what good servants will do to bring about God’s desire. Good servants anticipate God’s heart and reach out to everyone, not just the people we like. They invest significant effort and creativity in filling up God’s house. And they will be persistent until the master’s desire is accomplished.
In verse 23, the master told the servant to “compel or make” them come to the banquet. That doesn’t mean he was to force them. It’s a Middle Eastern way of saying he was to continue persistently inviting them until they believed the master really wanted them to come and wasn’t just being polite.
As we pray for God to reawaken us to the mission of Christ, this story should guide us as to what that will look like. Christ wants to save as many people as possible. He wants heaven filled with people who look like us AND people we wouldn’t invite to dinner. Do we understand His mission? Do we anticipate His desires? Are we willing to persistently invite people until they believe Jesus really wants them to come? Will we invest significant effort and creativity until our Master’s house is full? If not, we must not understand the heart or the mission of our Savior.