We left off earlier with the reaction of one of the guests at the Pharisee’s house where Jesus had been speaking to them about the Sabbath and the Kingdom after He had healed a man right in front of them on that Sabbath day. As you will recall, it would seem that none of these great men had much to say that day until after Jesus gave them some social advice in 14:7-14:
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.” (14:15)
As you can see, verse 15 is the transition between the last part and the Great Banquet parable. In this parable, a man puts on a large banquet for many guests. When the banquet is about ready, he sends his servant to let the invited participants know the time has come, but in the three examples we have in the parable, each guest has a lame excuse. The first must rush out to see some property he has just purchased; it would seem he bought real estate sight unseen. The second invitee needed to try out a new team of oxen he has recently purchased, and the third says he must stay home because he’s a newlywed.
The host is not at all pleased, and sends his servant out to invite the poor in the town; they come gladly, but there is still room, so he sends the servant back out to the highways and byways to invite all comers, for he is determined that none who have rejected his generosity will taste of his banquet.
Consider the scene in which this parable was given: Jesus is dining in the home of a Pharisee on the Sabbath. The other guests are Pharisees and teachers of the law, and they have set Him up by having a man present who was in need of healing; they wanted an excuse to accuse Jesus of a violation and Jesus obliged them. Then He gave His explanation asking if they would not save their ox or child if either had fallen into a well on the Sabbath and they had nothing to say to that. Then He told two brief parables about banquets, one dealing with the place of honor, humility and the first being last and the last being first, and then about the blessings of inviting people to their tables who could not repay them with a return invitation, and now this one.
When we look at it in context, we can easily see that the ones Jesus was speaking to were the ones who gave lame excuses at the last minute to the Great Banquet, and that the Great Banquet is the Kingdom of God, and that God is the host. Jesus was in their midst proclaiming that the Kingdom was at hand; they were the ones with the lame excuses like “let’s see if He will heal someone on the Sabbath so we can accuse Him!”
Such great men of high position would never taste God’s banquet, but those who were poor and outcast, even Gentiles, would receive God’s invitation with gladness.
I wonder what the guy who had spoken up in verse 15 was thinking at that moment…