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The Banquet

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Introduction (Might replace)

How many people went out to Aaron and Anna’s on Monday? Did you have fun?
When God’s people get together to eat, build relationships, and just have fun, it’s always a good time. It’s like we are one big family eating at one big table… It’s like a large Christian banquet.
This is what I want to talk about this evening. I want to talk about the banquet that Jesus teaches about. In Luke 14, Jesus teaches a parable about this great banquet, and as we read through this context, we see that it’s a huge part of the context.
We see it in Luke 13, 14, 15, and 16.
This is what we are going to talk about in this lesson. We are going to talk about this idea of the Messianic Banquet and make application to our lives.

The banquet is coming.

One thing that is clear when reading through Luke 13-16, is that the Messianic Banquet is coming. Luke 13:22-30.
Luke 13:22–30 ESV
22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
So, it’s clear that the banquet is coming, and we will either be a part of it or not. But what is the Messianic Banquet?
Exodus 24:1-2, 9-11.
Exodus 24:1–2 ESV
1 Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. 2 Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”
Exodus 24:9–11 ESV
9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
It begins with Moses. As the people of Israel become the people of God, Abraham and the elders share a meal that was provided by God.
This was God’s way of assuring the Israelites that they were his people, and he would bless them.
But the problem with this banquet is that all of God’s people did not attend. Only certain representatives were allowed to participate in the banquet.
In the book of Isaiah, God promises that he would host another banquet for his people. Isaiah 25:6-12.
Isaiah 25:6–12 ESV
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” 10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill. 11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim, but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill of his hands. 12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down, lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.
There are a couple things to notice about this banquet.
This banquet isn’t just for some of God’s people. Isaiah 25:6.
Isaiah 25:6 ESV
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
This banquet is a joyous event when God will defeat death, and God’s people will rejoice in his salvation. Isaiah 25:7-9.
Isaiah 25:7–9 ESV
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
This banquet isn’t just a joyous event. It’s a frightening event when God will judge his enemies. Isaiah 25:10-12.
Isaiah 25:10–12 ESV
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill. 11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim, but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill of his hands. 12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down, lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.
So, the Israelites were looking forward to this Messianic Banquet where God would reward his people and judge the wicked.
In the New Testament, Jesus teaches us that this banquet will take place when he returns.
On that day, there will be those who are dining with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and there will be others who are cast out. Luke 13:28-29.
Luke 13:28–29 ESV
28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.
Revelation gives us even more information about this banquet.
When John describes Christ’s return, he describes it as a wedding ceremony where the lamb and his bride are married. It’s not just a wedding ceremony. There’s also a wedding feast. Revelation 19:6-9.
Revelation 19:6–9 ESV
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
In the last lesson, I said that the wedding is coming. In the same way, the banquet is coming. It will be a day of Joy and a day of Judgment.

The unexpected are invited.

In our culture, when prominent people throw a big party, they invite all of their prominent friends.
For example, if there’s a dinner at the White House, I don’t get invited. Usually, the wealthy and powerful get invited to things like that.
When a political candidate hosts a fundraiser dinner, it can cost about $10,000 a plate.
What’s my point? When wealthy people host a grand dinner, they invite other wealthy, prominent people. When God hosts a banquet, the unexpected are invited.
This is something that Jesus makes clear throughout his ministry. This is especially prevalent in Luke 13-16.

Luke 13

Luke 13:22-30.
Luke 13:22–30 ESV
22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
There are people who will say, “We drank with you, and you taught us. We are Israelites. We are God’s people.” Jesus responds by saying that these people will not be allowed into his banquet.
Instead, those who come from the east and west will be allowed into the banquet. These are the gentiles.
Isn’t this unexpected. The Jews, God’s people, aren’t allowed into the banquet, but the gentiles are?

Luke 14

Luke 14:12-24.
Luke 14:12–24 ESV
12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” 15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 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.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 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. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”
In this context, Jesus tells the people to not just invite the wealthy and powerful. They are also to invite the poor and weak. Again, the unexpected are invited.
Then we move into the next section of the text, and we see the parable of the great banquet. In this parable, the people who were invited refused the invitation, so the master invited the unexpected people.

Luke 15

Luke 15:11-23.
Luke 15:11–23 ESV
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.
In this parable, we would expect the older son to be thrown a banquet. The older son has been faithful, and it seems like he’s the one who deserves the banquet.
Instead, the younger (unfaithful) son is thrown the banquet.

Luke 16

Luke 16:19-31.
Luke 16:19–31 ESV
19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”
In this parable, the rich man gets to eat whatever he wishes. He throws a banquet for himself every night, but the poor man just wants his crumbs.
After death, the rich man is in torment, but the poor man is sitting next to Abraham. In chapter 13, Jesus said that many will come from the east and west to dine with Abraham. This poor man was with Abraham.
So, what do we see in these verses? We see that all people are invited to this banquet… even the people that we don’t expect.

Will you be there?

We are all invited to this banquet… It’s up to us to accept the invitation. Again, this is something that we see throughout Luke 13-16.
In the Luke 14 parable, the wealthy are invited to this banquet, but they don’t accept the invitation. Instead, the poor are the ones to accept the master’s invitation.
In the Luke 15 parable, the older brother is invited to the father’s banquet, but it seems like he refuses to go in. Instead, it’s the younger brother who goes in to dine with the father.
This is why Jesus tells us that the unexpected are going to be dining with him in the Kingdom.
The wealthy and powerful believe that they have everything that they need. They don’t need the food that God offers.
The weak, vulnerable, and broken know that they are in need. They know that they need what God offers.

So what?

So, the question for us is: Are we going to be there? Will you accept the invitation to this banquet?
This is a vital question for us to ask ourselves. Think about this: who are we in these parables?
In Luke 14, are we the wealthy people or the poor people?
In Luke 16, are we the rich man or are we Lazarus?
Is there any wonder why Agur says these words? Proverbs 30:7-9.
Proverbs 30:7–9 ESV
7 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
So, are we the wealthy people who fail to realize their need for God, or are we the poor, sick, and blind people who truly realize that they need the healing that Jesus offers?
So, we need to ask the question: who am I? Am I the rich man or Lazarus?

Conclusion

As we said earlier, everyone is invited to this banquet, but it’s up to us to accept the invitation.
Will you be there?
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