Theme: What Jesus Demands
In this week leading up to Easter, we focus on an event that shows how Jesus would have received the crowds on Palm Sunday if they had truly come to him in faith and repentance.
Scripture: Luke 13:31-35
It’s very easy to interpret this parable of the great banquet. Sometimes the parables are hard, but not this one. The people that were invited were the people of Jesus’ day, particularly those in Jerusalem, and the banquet was the great marriage supper of the Lamb, a symbol of salvation. And those who were finally invited that did come were all of the outcasts, the Gentiles primarily, but also the kind of people that we would pass over and say, “Well, they really aren’t worthy of such a thing.” The problem is not in the interpretation of the parable but rather in the application of it to our own day. How do you apply it today? I’m afraid that the people who give flimsy excuses today are far more numerous than the people of Jerusalem. They apply to most people in our time.
You say, “Well, I just have things to do. I’m very, very busy. I have a fortune to amass, a career to develop, a business to grow. I can’t do that and follow Jesus Christ, too. Please hold me excused. I cannot come.” Jesus looks at you and you find Him saying, “Oh, how I have longed to gather you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you are not willing.” What you have to learn is that spiritual things should always take a greater priority over mere temporal things. You have to hear something else the Lord said. He said on one occasion, “What does it profit a person if they gain the whole world,” that is become as rich as they possibly could be, “and yet forfeit their own soul?”
Well, claiming to be too busy may not be the primary reason people give today, or even back in Jesus’ day. I guess the people of Jerusalem in some cases would have said, “Yes, I am busy, that is true, but that’s not really the reason I don’t come. I could certainly make room for Jesus if I wanted to. I’m orderly enough to determine my own priorities. My real difficulty is that I find his demands too difficult.” Do you find yourself thinking that way? Busy, yes, but you say, “I could do it if I wanted to, it’s just that His claims are so extreme, and His demands are so pressing. I know enough about what He’s saying to realize how costly it would be.” I think Jesus had that in mind also, because in the verses that immediately follow the passage about the banquet we find Him dealing with that.
He has a great crowd traveling around with Him, but they’re not willing to pay the price and so He tells them about it, being perfectly honest, up front as we would say, about what it means to be a Christian. What He says to them is this: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. Any anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). He didn’t mean literally that we’re to hate the members of our family, but He did mean that in terms of priorities we have to be willing to pay any price. If fathers or mothers, or brothers or sisters are standing in the way, yes, even if our own conception of our life is standing in the way, it is far wiser to give that up and pay that price and find salvation then not to do it and to perish.
Then He used a few illustrations to show what you have to do when you count the cost. He said, “Here’s a man who is putting on an addition to his house.” The way he talked about it was, “building a tower.” He said, “When he is going to do that he sits down first and figures out whether he has enough money to complete it, because it would be a very foolish thing, and everyone would ridicule him, if he started out and laid the foundation but then didn’t have enough money to put on the roof.” Again, He said, “It’s like a king. Another king is coming against him with 20,000 soldiers. This king only has 10,000. He’s going to figure out whether with 10,000 soldiers he’s able to resist the king who has the larger army. If he can’t he’s going to send a messenger and see if he can seek for peace before he gets there.” Then He wrapped it up with this: “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (v. 33).
What is another reason why people do not come to Jesus?
What are some specific costs that someone must pay to be a follower of Jesus?
Key Point: If fathers or mothers, or brothers or sisters are standing in the way, yes, even if our own conception of our life is standing in the way, it is far wiser to give that up and pay that price and find salvation then not to do it and to perish.