Today’s Reading: Luke 14:12-24
And the master said to the servant, “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus finds Himself at another banquet. Early on, people loved to invite Him to these kinds of things, that is, until He garnered for Himself a certain reputation. At this particular banquet, Jesus makes things a little bit uncomfortable by telling the man who threw the party that he only did so in order to become more popular with the “in” crowd. If he really wanted a heavenly reward, he should have gone and invited those sitting at the losers’ table. Awkward . . .
Someone tries to tamp everything down by making a bland, “Duh,” sort of statement, meant to quiet the situation. So Jesus turns the awkwardness up to 11. The mysterious parable of the Great Banquet is then told: Everyone should clamor to come to this feast, but none of the cool kids want to. They all have better things to deal with: a new field, a new cow, a new wife. They seem like legitimate excuses, but are they really? The man isn’t asking them to slave away in the coal mines. He is inviting them to a party. “Eat, drink, dance the night away. Don’t worry about cleaning up afterward or inviting me to your party next week, just have the time of your life!” But everyone refuses.
Such is the way of the sinner, especially the one who has become so very bored with the things of Jesus. Why would anyone refuse a party? Why would anyone refuse the eternal Gifts given by the Lord of Life? It sounds weird when you pose it that way, but that is exactly what the sinner does.
And so the man invites the bums off the street and the wanderers of the byways. He invites the people who would never have hoped to be included in such a shindig. He invites the ones who couldn’t pay Him back or throw a rival party. Those are the people who pack the banquet hall: the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame, the losers, the nobodies, the worthless, the sinners. Yep, you guessed it, He invites you, and you get to feast with Him for all eternity at the best never-ending party ever thrown. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Lord, since You never fail to help and govern those whom You nurture in Your steadfast fear and love, work in us a perpetual fear and love of Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Second Sunday after Trinity)
-Rev. Eli Lietzau is pastor of Wheat Ridge Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, CO.
Audio Reflections speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Come on an adventure with author Eric Eichinger as he unpacks the saga of Jesus’ Hero Journey. You’ll see how aspects of this journey are seen in popular stories, and how God used Jesus to create the most action-packed one with a real Savior for all. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.