It is quite ironic as I read the chapter tonight that there are those who God invited to come to feast with Him are not interested.
Perhaps it is burdening in my heart and saddened to see those who come to Church, who profess as Christian find other things in life so much more attractive than feasting with the Lord.
As I read the rest of chapter 14, it just dawned to me how Luke string two events, which at first seem un-related, to one another so beautifully.
I am referring to the Parable of the Great Banquet (v. 15 - v. 24) and the Cost of Being a Disciple afterwards (v 25 - v. 35).
Jesus spoke the Parable of the Great Banquet as a direct response to the title of this post. Indeed, it is blessed to be eating at the feast in the Kingdom of God. Jesus, then, tell a parable to show the insanity some will decline to such invitation. In fact, it is almost as if they do not want to come because they are looking for excuses to justify their decline.
It is like the boy who like a girl and yet the girl doesn't like the boy. When the boy asks the girl out, she has to make up some excuses for her to say no.
One is too busy with his new land to come.
One wants try out his new oxen.
One too busy with the marriage.
It is through the generosity of the master that these are invited. Yet they all decline (rejected) him. How sad is that. The master is so angry. Instead, the master invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame (v 21). Even afterwards, there's still room. And so invite everyone else out in the street, in the roads.
Right after, Jesus told the crowd what it cost to follow Him. They must give their family ties and carry their own cross. Then He told them about counting their cost first before following Jesus.
The irony is that in the parable of the Great Banquet, those who choose not to come to the feast, is doing so because they are not willing to give up what they have. The land. The oxen. The marriage. This is preciously the cost a disciple needs to make before following Jesus. Count your cost first before you follow Him.
I see that this happen also in today. Those who follow Christ are not willing to give up. Career, lifestyle, money, things. And those who follow Him are busy with their own things that when the Lord invites them, they make excuses for not going.
This might be going on mission. Might be sacrificing for a ministry.
Jesus always tell what it is like to be His disciples. Even when it feels harsh (do I really have to leave my family to follow Jesus?). He tells it like it is.
At the same time, He gives people a choice to respond.
Just as those who are invited first were declined by their choice.
We also have a choice to follow Him by counting our cost.
Indeed, just as Jesus ended the teaching with...
"Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear"
May those who have ears to hear hear.
Side note: The irony parable of the Great Banquet is that in the next chapter, it started off with the tax collectors and the sinners, those that shouldn't be feasting at the Kingdom of God follows Jesus. One would imagine the Pharisees and Experts to be feasting, yet they were the ones that are grumbling against Jesus!