Read Luke 14
Jesus at a Pharisee’s House
14 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.
5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
The Parable of the Great Banquet
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
The Cost of Being a Disciple
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
This passage explores the heart of God to be with all people and describes what it takes to follow Christ. The heart of God sees and draws near to the crippled man and heals him on the Sabbath. God sees the poor, the lame, the crippled, and the blind, and He thinks they should be invited to lavish banquets. His heart is full of love and compassion. God longs to be with the people who accept the invitation to be with Him, and it doesn’t matter how wealthy, healthy, or valuable the world says they are. God simply desires to be the number one love in the lives of His people.
So, we are all invited to follow Jesus, to be with Him, but accepting that invitation is costly. Jesus is clear that humility and surrender mark those who follow Him. He calls His disciples to love Him more than their family and more than their comfort (v. 26-27). To follow Christ means relinquishing everything (v. 33). In Luke 14, Jesus is clear that it’s a good idea to count the cost of what it takes to follow Him because it isn’t easy.
To be a Christ follower is to live humbly and take the lowest position. Jesus refers to the humble as “friend” (v. 10). Christ followers invite the poor, the lame, the crippled, and the blind into their lives. Not coincidentally, Jesus says this while sitting in the home of a Pharisee, someone who was considered full of power and authority in Jewish society, someone who was deemed “good.” Jesus explains to him how he cares more about a humble and repentant heart than worldly influence, power, or an external image of goodness. Where do we fit in this story? Are we the powerful and influential who care what the world thinks of us and our friends and guests? Who do we invite to our tables? Are we too busy or “important” to accept God’s invitation, or are we desperate and humble, willing and eager to accept God’s invitation into His house?
We are to count the cost of following Christ, to notice any excuses we might make, and to surrender all to Him (v. 28-32). If we follow in Christ’s way, we do what He did. Scripture tells us “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus humbly surrendered everything first, for us.
What are we to do about this? Look to Jesus, the one who became poor for our sake so that we might become rich through Him. True wealth is found in the grace and forgiveness of God, in the miraculous ability to be in relationship with the most high God. When we accept the invitation to follow Jesus Christ, we get to surrender all of our small riches to Him so He can give us the abundant richness of a life with Him.
- What is something that is holding you back from a relationship with God?
- Do you believe He is better or has better for you? Why or why not?
- Who can you invite into your home to tell them about the life that God has invited you in through Jesus?
Father, thank you for how you revealed yourself through Jesus Christ and have invited us to be with you in heaven one day. Thank you for inviting me in, Jesus. Please bring to my mind a person who I can invite into my home for your sake. Father, I pray that you reveal anything that might hold me back from saying yes to you and help me to trust that you are better than anything the world offers. I pray that you continue to teach me your Word and that I would love your Word. Holy Spirit, please do what only you can do. I love you, Jesus. Thank you for loving us first! In the name of Jesus Christ who is able, amen.
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