Select Page

Luke 14:12-14 Then Jesus said to his host, When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous

Jesus could be the rudest guest you ever had in your home. He was being entertained, along with many others, by a prominent Pharisee—a leader in the community. This could be an excellent opportunity for Jesus to win friends in high places. But always the teacher, Jesus chose to instruct his host on how to entertain. Instead of inviting all the right people, he should invite all the wrong people, and be repaid in the age to come. Jesus calls us to lower our social status to care for the needs of the poor. 

I knew a high school student who was quite above average academically, athletically and socially. He could have sat at any table in the cafeteria, but recruited his friends to spend their lunch eating with students with special needs. They talked with them, carried their trays, and built relationships. This idea would have never crossed their minds apart from the radical teaching of Jesus Christ. By following Jesus’ teaching, however, they made some friends, found some joy, and changed the culture of their school.

Luke 14:15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God. 

This man had a measure of social grace and intelligence. Jesus had offended everyone, and he was trying to get the party back on track, by saying something agreeable. What could be more agreeable than Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God? But Jesus would talk about this in a way that would offend everyone again. 

As godly Jews, they all assumed they would be at this feast. But Jesus would tell them, probably not. He proceeded to tell a story about a man who prepared a great banquet and invited many guests. But they all began to make excuses like, I just bought a field, or I just bought some oxen, or I just got married

So the master sent his servant into the streets to gather the poor and the lame. But there was still room, so he sent him out again saying, compel them to come in, so that my house will be full (Luke 14:23). God is trying to have a party, but no one wants to come. He is inviting people into his kingdom, but many are putting him off. This is just like church.

People have time for everything else, but are often too busy to gather with God at church. They have to go to work, buy a car, mow the lawn, or feed the cat—anything but church. But if people will not gather for worship on earth, why would they hope to be gathered in heaven? 

A young lady was celebrating her sixteenth birthday, and her parents wanted to give her a party. They rented a roller rink and bought enough food for about a hundred people. They decorated lavishly, and invited everyone from her class. But they all began to make excuses, and only two people came to the party. It is the birthday she will never forget.

Parties are risky, but God has taken the risk, and wants his house to be full. We have received our invitation, and God wants us to spread the word. Thinking of those who declined his invitation, Jesus said, I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet (Luke 14:24). 

Luke 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus

Jesus didn’t need a praise band, a microphone, or even a building to get a crowd. There were no hot dogs, beer tents, or special prizes—just thousands of people hanging on   his words. Most preachers never see more than a couple hundred, and whenever the crowd swells, they like to gather contact information to invite everyone back.

But whenever Jesus got a crowd he might say something radical to make them go away (John 6:53, John 6:66). This is because he wanted to make disciples, not just gather a crowd. His radical sayings had the power to separate curiosity seekers from those who truly believed. But what Jesus said next was radical, even for him.

Luke 14:26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple

Most people assume that God is pro-family, and there is much in the Bible to support that idea. God created marriage (Genesis 2:21-22), is against divorce (Matthew 19:8), commands us to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), and provided a family for Jesus (Matthew 1:18).

But if God is pro-family, he is pro-Jesus even more. We are commanded to follow Christ even at the cost of losing our family. Many Christian wives have been rejected by their unbelieving husbands, and many Christian husbands have been rejected by their unbelieving wives. Many Christian children have been rejected by their unbelieving parents, and many Christian parents have been rejected by their unbelieving children.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household (Matthew 10:34-36), said Jesus.

When Jesus said we are to hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, he did not mean that we are to wish them harm. He meant that our love for him should be so great, it makes all other loves seem like hatred by comparison. 

Perpetua lived in a time and place when following Jesus was a capital offense. She was a nursing mother, just twenty-two years old, when she was arrested and sentenced to death. All she had to do was renounce her faith in Jesus Christ and she could return to her family. They begged her to do so for the sake of her child, but out of love for Jesus Christ, she committed her family to God, and was thrown to wild animals. 

Under normal circumstances Christians should be the best family members possible. But if there is a conflict between obedience to Christ and obedience to family, our first loyalty must always be to Christ.

Reflection and Review
What does Jesus think about social status?
What did Jesus think about crowds?
How important are families to God?