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When someone prepared a big banquet or party - at the time Jesus walked on this earth - they usually sent out an invitation to the honored guests a few hours, or even days ahead. Thereby, giving them and themselves, time to get ready. Naturally, those who accepted this invitation, were definitely counted on. Then, at the time everything was ready, the host sent out another invitation telling the guests that they now can come. Thus, when on a Saturday, Jesus was eating at a prominent Pharisee's house, and his host and friends were shocked to see him heal a man on the Sabbath, believing that he was sinning; he told them a parable related to this custom. Why? Because these people were shocked to see him heal a man on Saturday, believing that by doing so, he was sinning against the ten commandments. Although they had no problems to pull out their son or oxen from a well, if they fell into such, on a Saturday. In other words, they were sticking to the letters of the law, without knowing God himself, and his grace. Therefore, Jesus, wanting to shed more light on the subject, according to Luke 14:24 (NIV) said to them:
"A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, "Come, for everything is now ready," But they all alike began to make ex- causes. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.' 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.' Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' Then the master told his servant,' Go our to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet."

What did Jesus want to explain with this parable to the people at the banquet, and to us?

First of all, we have to examine what he was talking about. For, according to Matthew 22:2 (NIV) Jesus telling the same parable said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son." While in Revelation 19:7 John talks about hearing a multitude praising God, "For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready." In other words, with the help of these Scriptures we understand that when - in today's parable - Jesus was talking about a "great banquet"; he was referring to the marriage supper of the Lamb of God, Jesus, in Heaven. Furthermore that the "owner of the house" was none other than God the Father himself.

Yet - according to our parable - who will be able to participate at that festive occasion, or go to Heaven? For that we have to know that after the first couple sinned, God - due to his great love for his creation - found a way whereby people did not have to perish. He chose for himself a nation which was called to believe in him, faithfully serve him, and – with their words and deeds - witness about him to the whole world. Thereby making it possible for everyone to turn to him and avoid eternal damnation. However, the chosen people repeatedly turned against him, worshipped idols, complained and rebelled in other words, didn't fulfill their calling. And although God tried to call them back to himself through countless miracles, love, and grace; they remained unfaithful. As a result, most of them did not get into heaven and didn't draw others there either. Just like in the parable of Jesus the people who were first invited to the banquet, didn't end up to participate.

In addition, God - like the owner of the house in the parable - became angry at them, yet continued to deeply love them and all his other creations, to the point that he came up with another solution. He prepared a way, or a second chance for everyone to enter into heaven by sending down his dear Son to this earth so that - shedding his blood for the sin of the world - he could make it possible for all who believe in him, ask for his forgiveness, and invite him into their heart, to go to heaven and spend eternity with him; regardless of their religious background, race, or color. And this Son of his was the Lord Jesus Christ, himself, who - sacrificing his life for the sin of the world - became the Lamb of God. Thus, ever since, the invitation is for every human being: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved" (Acts 16:31) - whether they belong to the chosen nation, a pagan society, or are atheists, friends or foes, rich or poor. Meaning that, whoever accepts this "second invitation," will be able to participate in the wedding supper of the Lamb of God; where eternal joy and blessings will wait for him or her!
Thus, through this parable, Jesus wanted the Pharisees, guests, and even us to understand that anyone who wants to receive eternal life by sticking to the letters or words of the law, yet ignores God's grace; is mistaken. For we, can never assume that because we belong to a certain race, or religion, or even follow the law, go to church, and may even tithe and fast, etc.; we will go to heaven because these things do not provide eternal life. Only faith in Jesus, invitation of him into our heart, and pleading for, and receiving his forgiveness of our sin, will lead us there!

Yet, - according to our parable - even after the second invitation went out, there was still more room in the banquet hall. Therefore the master told his servant: "Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full." Which means that - although there were many people who accepted Jesus and received eternal life; yet to this day, there is still more room in heaven, for anyone who is willing to listen! While for those of us who - by inviting Jesus into our heart - became God's servants already the message is: Go and invite as many lost people to Jesus, as possible so that each seat at the banquet hall of the Lamb of God, may be filled!

In which case, the only question that remains is this: To which group do we belong? To the group of the Pharisees, who were trying to find fault with Jesus and therefore stayed lost? To the one that was invited, but did not attend, and therefore went to hell? Or to the group that invited Jesus into their heart and totally yielding themselves to the Lord, became his tireless soul- winning servants?

Today, heaven's gates are still open! If you are not one of God's children, you may listen to his call: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved" and inviting him into your heart, and asking him to forgive your sin; you may become a child of God who will participate at that beautiful marriage supper of the lamb over there; right now! Please don't wait any longer. God is inviting you and waiting for you! On the other hand, if you are his child already and therefore have a reserved place at that marriage supper of the Lamb of God; make sure you keep faithfully calling the lost to the Savior so that the banquet hall may be filled.