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To His Supper Leads Us All (St. Luke 14.15-24)

Second Sunday after Trinity

“To His Supper Leads Us All”
Rev. Jacob Sutton, Pastor

St. Luke 14.15-24

13 June 2021

 

+ In the Name of Jesus + 

Your great love for this has striven

That we may, from sin made free

Live with you eternally.

Your dear Son Himself has given

And extends His gracious call

To His supper leads us all.               (Lutheran Service Book #559, stanza 2; public domain)

 A man gave a great banquet. It would be the chief meal of meals, a lavish ceremonial meal held in honor of some notable event or person. In 1 Corinthians, St. Paul uses the word for banquet here in the phrase, “the Lord’s Supper” or the Lord’s banquet meal, to refer to the Holy Communion.

However, the great banquet of Jesus’ parable is not just the Holy Communion, He no doubt has that in mind, for sure.

It is also not just the end times blessing of those who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God, as the Pharisee rightly exclaims to our Lord Jesus. You see, prior to telling this parable of the Great Banquet, Jesus has been at a Sabbath evening banquet with Pharisees and Lawyers, and He has been teaching them not just to invite their own friends to their banquets but to invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind – people who cannot repay the generosity – for God will repay such good works at the resurrection of the just, at the end of time. Thus, the man at table with Jesus is right – there will be a great banquet of eating bread with the Messiah in the eternal Kingdom of God.

But the great banquet – the Supper to which Jesus leads us all – is not just those two things. It is also the entire story of the Old Testament preparation, from the beginning of Genesis through the partriarchs and prophets and kings of Israel, whose story culminates in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection – this is the banquet that even now, the Master of the House tells His slave, is prepared, and the time is at hand. The great banquet is the Kingdom of grace to which all are invited, laid on the foundation that is Jesus Christ. As we learn, not all come.

Because of His eternal love which overflows, God creates countless beings in whom He wanted to reveal His love and with whom He wanted to share His goodness. God created the heavens and the earth and all that fills them. God did not have to extend Himself in this way. Yet His love desires an object to show love to, even undeserved love – grace. He especially poured the fullness of His goodness upon man, endowing mankind with His image to share in His eternal joy and bliss.

You know the story turns sad. The invitation to God’s Kingdom of grace and His great creation banquet was rejected at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The invitation of Satan was accepted instead. God’s image was lost to mankind. By nature we are completely unfit for the blessed Kingdom of God for which He had destined us all.

Yet God sent His Son – the slave or servant in the Great Banquet parable today, who issues the invitation. Remember, the Apostle Paul says Jesus “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant [or “slave”], being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philp. 2.7-8)

To the very hour of the banquet itself, Jesus keeps inviting man back to His father’s house, to share in His service to them of His Father’s love and grace. Our Lord allowed Himself to be consumed on the cross for our trespasses, for rejecting His invitation to His great banquet both by your sinful inborn nature, and in your daily words and deeds against His holy will. He took the anger and wrath of God upon Himself for you, so that on account of His body broken and blood shed, you would be made fit for the great banquet of grace here, and of eternal bliss and glory there, at the end of time.

The great banquet in the parable is the entire story of God and His people, the entire Old Testament preparation culminating in the death and resurrection of God’s Son – and all of the blessings which flow from those most important events in all of history – “come, for even now, it is prepared” – Your dear Son Himself has given – And extends His gracious call – To His supper leads us all. 

The warning of Jesus’ parable today is this. There is only one city of God in heaven and on earth. The banquet across all of time and eternity is a united one. God calls us to a holy life, here in time, and there in eternity. Whoever wishes to live within the city of God in heaven, whoever wants to enter there into the Holy of Holies must enter here in the vestibule of grace. Whoever wants to share in the glorious entering into the capital of the Kingdom, the new and heavenly Jerusalem to come, the Church triumphant, dare not here remain a guest and a stranger in Christ’s Kingdom of grace in this time of pilgrimage which we call the Church Militant. You must even in this world be a citizen with the saints and of God’s household. Christ’s first public invitation was therefore: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.” (St. Mark 1.15; ESV)

“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’” (Luke 14:18-20; ESV)

In Jesus’ parable today, we might surmise that there is something worthy of condemnation in farming, tending and transacting livestock, and marriage in and of themselves. Yet, Abraham had great wealth, and Jacob owned a great deal of livestock. God clearly institutes marriage in the Garden of Eden and blesses it.

The sin here is not in the things mentioned by the people in the parable, but the sin is in the rejection of the gracious invitation of the Master – that is, of the Gospel itself, and therefore placing anything else in God’s rightful place. Nothing must take priority over God’s invitation into His feast. What counts is to be feasting with Jesus and all the saints, to gladly hear and learn His Word, receive His gracious mercy and forgiveness. To allow anything to stand in the way of this is to reject the invitation into God’s kingdom of grace, which He has prepared for you out of His great love for you. It is to reject God’s love and thus to reject God Himself.

Repent, for not one of us children of Adam and Eve are innocent of the sin of taking God’s gracious invitation for granted, of taking it lightly, of even at times outright rejecting it and turning for our comfort to the cares and pleasures and things of this world.

Repent of all the excuses you’ve given God from your sinful flesh why you sometimes stay away from this great banquet of grace that is given h

Repent of accepting worldly excuses from your family members, your friends, your neighbors for why they do not attend with you, and pray God’s help and guidance and strength to keep on lovingly inviting and encouraging them, to not give up on your brothers and sisters. That’s today’s epistle reading from 1 John 3(.14): “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” The loving thing to do is to insist that the banquet is even now at hand, it is prepared and God’s house will be filled.

It is time to take shelter now and enter now into the great banquet, to the Supper to which Christ leads us all. I know, this is an article of faith – it is something believed, not seen or felt so much – we believe the great banquet is Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the life of the world to come – not glorious now in the world’s eyes, but the eye of faith in Christ knows we must be pressing on towards the promised glory to come. That pressing on, this pilgrim journey, is taken here, with your brothers and sisters, where you pass out of death into life through Baptism into Christ, hearing in your ear the preaching of the Gospel and the announcement of your forgiveness in Christ, and receiving His heavenly forgiveness on your tongue.

Terry Miller’s funeral was Tuesday at French Funeral Home in Brazil. Her family heard the comfort of the Gospel proclaimed.

For these last years, Terry begged and pleaded for the only thing that supplied her strength to go on and press towards the glory of heaven’s eternal banquet which she so strongly desired. Would we bring the vestibule of grace to her, that she might have the Holy of Holies in her home? Could God’s great banquet come to her in her weak physical condition? For my first eight years here, we gladly and with no second thought drove once a month over to 935 S. Chicago Ave., Brazil, Indiana, and then for the last two to three years, as she anticipated death was at her door, we drove over a few times a month and then this last year or so, once a week. It was our joy and privilege to minister the Gospel and give comfort in Christ to an eager Christian. She has been on our prayer list all of my years here, again, at her insistence. I would have been in big trouble with Terry if I had removed her name from that prayer list!

Even if we have to drive back and forth between Brazil and Terre Haute, or further out: let it be inconvenient to us. Let it cost more time and treasure. Let it be more miles on the car. Let there be all the more prayers for you and your family for your brothers and sisters to raise up to God on your behalf. Let yourself be found here, Sundays for sure, and even for those saints’ days Divine Services that happen here on odd days of the week. Keep praying for and encouraging those brothers and sisters missing out. Tell one and all of your gracious God and His free banquet of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. It simply is that important. Jesus Christ gave His life to be the banquet feast of forgiveness and mercy for you and for every man and woman, and conquered death itself that you live with Him in His Kingdom forever. So let nothing stand in your way to Him and His gracious invitation to enter with Him.

+In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit +

 

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