Sunday, March 10, 2024

Luke 14:15-24

Most of us have had a guest or two not show up for a party, but in the parable of the great banquet, virtually the whole guest list begs off when all is prepared. Anyone who has planned a party can empathize with the host’s frustration and anger. Jesus used this parable to talk about those who refuse the abundant grace of the kingdom.

Starting Out:
1. If you could invite anyone in the world to go with you to a banquet, who would you invite?

Read Luke 14:15-24:
2. What character in this story do you identify with the most: those who excused themselves, the man who prepared the banquet, the outcast who was grateful to be invited to the banquet, or the outcast who didn’t even get invited until the second round?
3. Jesus was having dinner with a group of Pharisees when He told this parable. Who do the characters in this parable represent: The host? The guests who refused the invitation? The poor, crippled, blind, and lame?
4. Wealthy people received double invitations to a banquet such as this one—one well ahead of time and a second one on the day of the event—to let them know when the banquet was ready to be served. Knowing that, how would you feel about these excuses given so late in the process? What is the difference between a legitimate reason for missing such an event and an excuse?
5. What exactly does the banquet in the parable represent? What is the significance of the fact that such a wide variety of people, most of whom would never have been to such a feast, were invited?
6. Why do so many people say “no” to God’s banquet? Are such refusals a problem of inadequate “marketing” or certain flaws in human nature?
7. Does the banquet Jesus is talking about only come when we get to heaven, or is there a sense in which God makes present life into a banquet as well?

Taking it Home:
8. What is the excuse you most often use to keep God and the banquet He offers at arm’s length (i.e., I don’t have time; I don’t understand what God wants of me; I’m no different than anyone else; it’s hard, etc.)?
9. How would you describe your Christian life right now, in terms of a banquet: enjoying the hors d’oeuvres; eating leftovers; didn’t know there was one; helping in the kitchen; other?
10. How can you get rid of the excuses that come between you and God?