Bible Series For Life

Hospitality: How Ordinary People Can Live on Mission                      30 AUG 15

LUKE 14:7-11 Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs in his book an exposition of the gospel of Luke, Baker Book House, 1966, pages 226-227 wrote “In this section Jesus exposes the Pharisees’ distorted sense of values. With consummate skill He causes them to look into God’s mirror to show them how foreign are their standards from those of the kingdom of God. Then He crowns the whole with a parable which shows their attitude toward the kingdom with its tragic results for them… Second, there is the distorted value of pride over humility. The healing of the man probably took place before the meal. When they were called to eat every man sought the chief reclining places (v. 7). The Talmud says that on a couch holding three persons the center place was of highest honor, the left side was second, and the right side the third. Everyone wanted a center place.

            Seeing this Jesus drew a lesson from it. When one is invited to a wedding feast he should not out of pride seek the chief reclining place (v. 8). Instead out of humility he should seek the lowest place (v. 10).

            Certainly one should not take the lowest place hoping to be moved up. This would be mock humility or hypocrisy. For humility to be pleasing to God and man it must be genuine.

            The point of this example is summed up in verse 11. Whoever exalts himself shall be brought low. Whoever humbles shall be exalted. Self-seekers are an abomination to both God and man. Those who are willing to play second fiddle make beautiful music indeed in the symphony of life.”

LUKE 14:12-15 Dr. Hobbs, page 228 “Third, there is the distorted value of selfishness over true hospitality. Looking over the group of invited guests, Jesus noticed that it included only the Pharisees' friends, relatives, and rich neighbors (v. 12). It was obvious that he had invited them with a view to receiving like invitations from them in return. His was a selfish hospitality. He had an angle by which to benefit himself. He expected to get back the cost of the meal in invitations to dine elsewhere. The "rich neighbors" suggest that he may have expected even more. His hospitality could become a paying proposition.

But Jesus said that if he would show true hospitality he should invite poor unfortunates from whom he could expect no return (v. 13). He would be blessed in doing it. He would receive their gratitude. This would be quite a change from the boredom suffered by those who engage in an endless round of dinners within one's set, which have little purpose beyond staying in the social whirl. But beyond the sense of satisfaction which comes from an unselfish deed, there would be the far greater spiritual reward in heaven "at the resurrection of the just" (v. 14).

This last phrase suggested to one guest, probably a Pharisee, the kingdom of God. So he said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God" (v. 15). Among the rabbis a banquet was a common figure for the joy of heaven. This man assumed that he would be present at such a meal.”          

Is Jesus saying we can never have a party for our friends? Are all church meals to be for the poor only? No indeed, or the early churches were wrong to have their fellowship meals. We must remain focused upon the reason Jesus is telling these parables. It was the Pharisees’ distorted sense of values. A parable has one central idea or purpose. The details cannot be pressed into having many ideas. Jesus often told parables with strong contrasts so His central point would be as plain and clear as possible. Such acts of kindness showed the fruit of a righteous life and will be rewarded in the future time of resurrection.

Paul addressed this generally in (1 Cor 3:11-15 RSV) "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw--each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." It is not what good is done but why it was done that makes the good worth gold or straw. The Pharisees did good to be praised by society and fellow Jews. They were not looking specifically for God’s praise sometime in the future.

LUKE 14:16-24 Dr. Hobbs, page 228-229 “But evidently Jesus cooled his ardor as He spoke a parable to him. A certain man gave a great supper, and invited many guests (v. 16). It is implied that they all accepted the invitation. A common practice was to invite the guests in advance; when the meal was ready servants were sent to tell them to come to the feast (v. 17). But when the servants did so, the invited ones all made excuses as to why they could not come. One had bought some land, and must go to see it (v. 18). Another had purchased five yoke of oxen, and must go to try them out (v. 19). Buying land without seeing it, or oxen without proving them? On the surface their excuses were too flimsy. At least one man had a shadow of an excuse. He had married a wife, and therefore could not come! (v. 20).

The truth of the matter is that none of them had a reason, only an excuse. They had agreed to come, but now they had other interests. They simply did not want to attend the supper, regardless of the trouble and expense the host had been put to in order to prepare it.

Naturally when the host heard this he was angry. So he sent his servants into the streets and lanes of the city to invite the poor, maimed, halt, and blind (v. 21). They literally scoured the city for the unfortunates. But still there was room (v. 22). Then the lord sent them outside the city to the highways and fenced fields to compel, or urge, passersby to come (v. 23). His banquet hall would be filled, but none of those who were originally invited would taste of his meal (v. 24).

Now the meaning of this is quite clear. God has prepared a heavenly feast in His kingdom. The Jews regarded themselves as having a priority on this privilege. God had chosen Israel as His peculiar people (cf. Exod. 19). And she had accepted the bidding. Now in Christ the feast is ready. But the Jews as a people refused to come to it on the terms of God's invitation. This was especially true of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious and social elite. They were so involved in their system of religion and their pursuit of worldly glory that they were not interested in the kingdom as proclaimed by Jesus and His disciples.”

LUKE 14:24 The prime point is in this verse: (Luke 14:24 RSV) "For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'"" Why not? The reason is stated plainly in the Law. (Exo 19:5-6 RSV) "Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."" The parables’ invitation is representative of God’s call to salvation and service. Israel was invited to be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” In order to have the benefits of being “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, they had to obey God and keep His covenant. The essential statement of this is in (Deu 10:12-13 RSV) ""And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I command you this day for your good?"

            In the parable the invited people who did not show up were replaced. Dr. Hobbs, page 229 “Therefore, the invitation is given to those Jews (inside the city) who were considered as being social outcasts. And they gladly accepted the invitation. Furthermore, those outside the city, the Gentiles, are invited and urged to come. They too will come. But those who considered themselves the privileged ones shall not "taste of my supper."’

            Today, Israel was replaced by the Church as God’s light to the world. Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah and they still do today.

            So the real lesson from these verses is not about Hospitality, but about having proper values as we witness to the world. Christians are to live in society not for praise from society but as humble and obedient serve to the Father. Our values are not to be distorted. They are to be holy. Jesus made this perfectly clear in (Mat 7:21 RSV) ""Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."


Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher.                                                                                        

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