Listen to This Sermon
This text will be replaced
1. And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
2. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
3. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4. And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
5. And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
6. And they could not answer him again to these things.
7. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them.
8. When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
9. And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
10. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
11. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
12. Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
13. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
14. And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
15. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
16. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
Please keep your Bible open and follow along as we talk about what Jesus did at this particular banquet and the sayings, the teachings that He gave in regard to how people are to act when invited to a banquet. Or, if a person is a host and he issues an invitation, and then finally, the emphasis on the great final banquet of the Lord when He invited people to come and share at His table, the Great Banquet Hall of the Messianic Banquet that is to come.
In the setting of this particular situation, Jesus has been invited into the home of an unusual man. He is a chief of the Pharisees. Right away, when we know that we become suspicious as to what this man may have in mind inviting Jesus to come to a meal in his own house, and especially bringing a group of people together along with Jesus on the Sabbath Day in particular for a special banqueted time. So Jesus accepted the invitation and He came to eat bread. Right away He noticed the attitude of the people. They were sort of suspicious as they watched Him. They didn’t seem to be relaxing and enjoying the meal so much as they were intent on keeping their eyes on Jesus to see what He was going to do or what He might say at this particular setting. I want to tell you and we already know that when Jesus attends, you can expect anything to take place. When the Lord is present, whether it is a worship service or at a banquet table, there is no telling what might happen when Jesus is present and when He takes charge of the situation. There is something about Him that regardless of the attitudes of criticism that may be against Him, regardless of the unbelief that may be coming against Him, there is this supernatural pull upon Him when there is someone in need. I believe that wherever people meet together in honor of Jesus Christ, regardless of what the needs are, and you may have needs here tonight, but I’m saying to you I believe on the authority of this Word that I’m talking to you about tonight that your situation, your need pulls at Him. It just simply attracts His attention.
In this case, the Pharisees had brought in a man who was very sick. They had put Jesus on the spot. They were literally giving Him a test to see what He would do on the Sabbath day. Jesus knew that. He knew their motives, but He also had His own motive and I thank God that Jesus can push aside ulterior motives in regard to who He is and His power and just simply take charge of a situation and allow the great blessing to come from Him to meet needs of people. I’m so glad that it is so. Christ has the power and the authority to do miraculous things even in the midst of unbelief and criticism and attitudes that are very suspicious about Him. The Bible says in verse 3 ‘Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees,…’ This seems a little odd because up until now they haven’t said anything, so what is He answering. They haven’t made any statements yet it says He answered the lawyers and Pharisees. What He is doing is answering the critical attitude that they are manifesting. You know you can be around some people who are overwhelmed with hostility and you seem to get vibrations of that hostility. Or, you can be around someone with a very critical attitude and you seem to get the vibrations of it in some way. Jesus is answering their attitude. He always knows what is on the inside of peoples’ hearts and minds. So He starts answering the very questions that they have raised in their minds, in their thinking. So He answers them with a question. He asks ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?’ That put them on the spot. They thought they had Him on the spot, but in the gospels again and again we see what is called the reversing of the tables. When people who are trying to move in on Jesus and put Him on the spot, they turn out to be the victims as He turns the tables upon their own heads as it were. He asked ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’ They are afraid to answer because if they say no, they will be taking a stand against the marvelous works of God. If they say yes, they’ll be condemning their own theory and their own doctrine and their own regulations about keeping the Sabbath day. So they are the ones who turn out to be on the spot themselves. So, not answering Jesus and staying silent just caused the Lord to go ahead and take charge and do whatever He felt in His heart to do. So, He reached out to this man and He took him. Oh hallelujah! I’m glad when the Lord takes our case, aren’t you? It does not matter what it is. When the Lord reaches out and He takes your case then you are in good hands. You’re in good hands when the Lord takes your case. How many of you have had the Lord, when you didn’t have any hope and you didn’t know exactly which way to turn, and this Great Physician took your case and you felt a peace because you knew your life was in His hands and you were given over to His perfect will? Amen! What a wonderful experience when He is on the scene and takes your case.
He took him and He healed him. Then He let him go. He let him go. He delivered him and brought freedom to this man from this terrible disease. He knew that this man had not been invited here to share in the fellowship of this great meal. He knew that this man had just been put there to challenge Jesus. So, He let him go on his way. I imagine the man could feel a lot more like rejoicing as he went on his way with the delivering power of Jesus working in his life.
Then Jesus took that opportunity then to take charge a little further and He began to teach. He spoke to three different groups of people. I want us to look at each of them.
First of all, He gives us lessons about the guests at a banquet. He had watched them as they gathered and the way they did and they clamored for the highest and best seats and best positions in the room. He saw that what was really going on here was a banquet that was to put on display the riches of the host that would cause people to jockey for position, a sort of politics of who would get to sit in what seat and at what particular table in the place of honor. And Jesus says ‘When you are invited to a banquet, you don’t need to be doing this clamoring and pushing and pulling and trying to elevate yourself and be sure that you are at the head table or at the seat of honor. You may be embarrassed. You go and sit in the highest position and you get all comfortable and ready to receive the honor of the people and then the one in charge comes up to you and says Look, I need you to step down because there is a more important person that needs to sit in this seat. You go away embarrassed.’ Jesus was teaching this: whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
There are so many paradoxical teachings in Scripture. Things don’t add up according to human reasoning and rationality. Here He is saying that if you humble yourself you abase yourself, you will be exalted. The way up is first of all down. But if you exalt yourself and you try to rise higher, there is a divine law at work that is going to cause you to be abased and cause you to come down. You and I have seen the examples through the years and through history in the whole political world and in other situations, but especially in the church world. We have seen people who started out to decide they would be superstars and we watched them crumble and fall. We watched others who were unassuming and who feared God and whose lives were dedicated to God and they humbled their hearts and we watched the great hand of God just exalt them and lift them up. There is a law at work. It is a divine law and God is saying if you want to be exalted, then you must humble yourself. He chooses these greedy, grasping people at this banquet to preach this message. I’m sure it didn’t fall very kindly on their ears. They must have been pricked to their heart.
Then He went on in verses 12-14 to give instruction to people who host banquets. Here again, it is a tremendous lesson because He is saying when you plan and you put on a great wedding feast or a banquet or whatever it is, don’t be exclusive about whom you invite to this banquet. Don’t just pick out the choice people that you want to be there, the special friends and special family, rich neighbors and people that could do you some good. He said because when people do that, they just want to be recompensed. They invite the people that can do them good. I think we all know about business lunches and expense accounts and people are wined and dined, not because of hospitality, but because of what that individual can do for me or my company or this situation or that one. Hypocrisy…the face of hypocrisy, trying to be hospitable, but it’s not hospitality when you are giving a party or a banquet and your main concern is how this will benefit me. While Jesus was talking, He was striking deep into the heart of this chief of Pharisees, the host, because that is exactly what his intention had been. Jesus said ‘When you are hosting a banquet, don’t call those kinds of people. Instead reach out to people who really have need; the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind.’ Then look at this, the tremendous blessing attached to this kind of attitude, He said you shall be blessed. You want to invite important people, Jesus said, so that you will be recompensed, but that’s not the way you get it. You invite the poor and you feed them and you look after the needy. You look after people who need help and you will be blessed because they cannot recompense thee. They can’t pay you. They don’t have money. They can’t invite you back. They can’t put on a big spread and invite you in return. They can’t do anything in any great political sense.
It reminds us of the story of the woman of Shunam. She and her husband made a tremendous investment in behalf of the prophet of God. The prophet says ‘Look, for all this great hospitality you’ve given me, what would you like for me to do? Would you be spoken of to the king? You want me to tell everybody how great you are? She said ‘Oh, no. Everything is alright with us. This is an act of love. This is an investment of love into the work of the ministry of the prophet of God.’ Elisha was thinking it over and his servant said they have not child. Here was a woman and her husband who had been married a long time and had no child. Because of her generosity and her attitude, the prophet pronounced that she would indeed have a child and she did. She was blessed, not because she had selfishly or greedily tried to entertain the prophet to gain an advantage through him, but out of a heart of love she had recognized God at work in his life and honored God through him by making an investment in the ministry of the prophet of God. Jesus said thou shalt be blessed when you feed the people who can’t help you in return. He said for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
Wouldn’t that be something that on the day of the resurrection, all of a sudden, you begin to understand some of the great reward that’s coming to you and it’s coming to you because of something that you already forgot. You did it. You did it as unto the Lord, as Jesus would later say like a cup of cold water in My Name, you will not lose your reward. Things, simple small things you have done for people who maybe could not help themselves and all of a sudden the reward is being heaped upon you and you are being recompensed far beyond your expectation and your imagination. Here you are receiving rewards that you didn’t count on for things you perhaps have already forgotten about.
That’s the way the Lord does spiritual mathematics. That’s the way He does spiritual bookkeeping. That’s the way He does spiritual accounting. Sometimes we may think this is something He will surely add to our account and it may not be written down. Other times we may not be aware of what He is writing down to our account. What a lesson he would learn that doing things out of love for people and out of love for God brings to us a reward we may not see it fully in this life but we will certainly see it fully in the resurrection of the just.
Then He goes on to talk about a third banquet. Here He is talking about a general one where the Lord sends out invitations. This is an unusual one. This is the banquet that really counts and He says ‘When the invitations were sent out for this great banquet, the response was very, very disappointing.’ The people that you would have thought would have responded right away began to offer the most pitiful excuses. Again and again in the gospels we come up against this fact that Jesus came to His own and His own received Him not. The very people that He came to bless and to seek and to save, were the ones who were disinterested and who turned a deaf ear to His voice and His teaching. Here Jesus is bringing it out in the open so very, very clearly.
Look at these feeble excuses they made. Not only do they show that the people are feeble in their excuses, but they are somewhat dumb and foolish in the kind of excuses they made. One man said in his response, ‘Well, I have bought some land and I have to go and look at it and I can’t come to this banquet.’ Now isn’t that dumb? Not a one of you would go and buy and land sight unseen. You would go look at it and you would see it and examine it and you would get all kinds of reports before you laid down the good hard cash to buy a house or land or property. What a dumb excuse. It almost sounds like he is lying. Another one is the same way. He said ‘I bought a yoke of oxen and I must go and try them.’ Again, how dumb. Now the old saying is true, I don’t know where it came from or how far back in the centuries it goes, that you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If somebody gives you a horse, well you don’t do like the old horse traders and farmers and grab hold of the horse and look at his teeth to see how old he is and if he is sound. Being raised on a farm, I know all about this that I’m talking about. That’s the way you tell. But if somebody gives you a horse, you don’t go through all that. You just thank them and go on. But if you’re about to buy one you examine it. And nobody is going to buy a yoke of oxen without seeing them work and without trying them and seeing how it is done. I doubt if there is anyone here old enough to remember ever seeing oxen work, but I have. You don’t go and buy them without you seeing if they are going to work or if they are just going to be stubborn and lie down and you can’t control them and can’t get any work out of them. You see, the people who reject the invitation of the Lord to the Great Banquet, it is pathetic what they offer up for excuses. One even said I’ve married and wife and we can’t be at this banquet. Don’t look for us. You see, people are looking at possessions, business, and the working world, and they are looking at things of natural affection and all these are crowding in to keep them from responding to the invitation of the Lord to His Great Banquet.
I think perhaps one of the greatest shocks that a lost person is going to have when he has to stand before God is the feeble kinds of excuses he used to not accept the invitation of the Lord to the Great Banquet. You see, the plans that He has for us, and sometimes I think we need to stop and look again at what the coming of the Lord is going to be like and the Great Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the Great Messianic Banquet when the redeemed of all the ages have been brought in. The Bible teaches that Jesus Himself will gird Himself and wait on the people and serve. One thing is for sure and for certain here. The Lord intends to have His house filled when He gets ready to do His great banquet. The people who reject and do not respond to Him, who use flimsy excuses, they can go on and do whatever they will. They will just not make it, but He says I want you to go out in the highways and byways and everywhere to the poor and the maim and the halt and the blind. Go into the streets and the lanes and the alleys. Take the invitation everywhere to the people who are unfortunate and invite them.
We have been somewhat preoccupied with the news during this season and will be as we have looked at the horrible realistic pictures of people starving to death in places like Somalia; people who never will know in this world what a real banquet is like, people who will never know in this world what it is to have plenty to eat and a good place to sleep and good medical care, all these kinds of things. Oh, how they would respond to the bringing of an offering of food to them if they had opportunity. And now then our government is going to endanger the lives of many of our military personnel just to be sure that the food gets to where it is supposed to go; to the starving people. We hope and pray they will be successful. That gives me a picture tonight that is heart-breaking when we realize that this world spiritually is in similar condition and Satan is trying to rob the very food supply that comes to feed the life, the soul of individuals. There are people who attack the very ones who bring the gospel. There are dangers on every hand, but the Lord says you go where the poor and the halt and maim and the people who can appreciate an expression of love, people who can appreciate a hand of kindness and generosity that reaches toward them. Those are the ones I want you to serve and reach and bless.
When we come to the Marriage Supper, I think we will be surprised to see who the guests really are that the Lord Jesus feeds and waits upon and blesses. Oh God, help us to have the right attitude. Help us to become a part of this group that goes out to bring them in. There is something about this Spirit that drives us forth to share the love of Christ with others. That is the most wonderful thing in this whole world. It brings the deepest satisfaction. In fact, Jesus expressed it like this in the fourth chapter of John. When his disciples came and He was hungry, they had gone to buy food, but in the meantime He had dealt with the Samaritan woman and had touched her life and had touched the very thirst of her life with the explanation of the Living Water. She had gone proclaiming that this must be the Christ. When they said ‘Lord, we are ready to eat,’ He said ‘I have meat to eat that ye know not of.’ How long has it been since you’ve attended a banquet like that; where you had a part in bringing a blessing to somebody who was desperately in need and you felt the tremendous satisfaction and peace and contentment in your own heart as a result?
I’m going to ask you now to stand for our prayer together tonight. We often sing ‘Jesus has a table spread,’ and the invitation goes out to ‘Come and dine.’ I want to ask you tonight if there is a hunger, if there is a thirst in your life, will you just open up your heart and receive from Him. When Jesus attends the banquet, He brings healing. He brings the bread of life. He brings His miraculous power. He brings His greatest love and He showers forth His abundant blessings upon us. Let us pray.
Find more sermons by