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Exegetical Study of Luke 14:12-24
The Parable of the Great Dinner

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12 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." 15 One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, "Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" 16 Then Jesus said to him, "Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. 17 At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.' 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.' 19 Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.' 20 Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.' 21 So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.' 22 And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.' 23 Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.' " (NRSV)

 

INTRODUCTION TO LUKE

            The Gospel According to Luke is considered, by tradition, to have been written by Luke, although his name does not appear on the document. The writer of the gospel does express his purpose in the opening verses. After acknowledging that a number of accounts had already been written, Luke indicates that “I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed” (Lk 1:3-4 NRSV). Indeed, Luke provides a full account of Jesus’ life, from birth to death, resurrection, and even ascension.  Luke also provides a narrative of Jesus’ ministry, as well as Jesus’ forerunner John the Baptist and Jesus’ disciples whom he instructed to continue his work on earth after he ascended to heaven. Luke is considered both historical in inquiry and theological in insights.

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Jesus told the parable of the great banquet (or the great dinner) while at a meal at the home of a Pharisee. The parable portrays how the kingdom of God includes people who are downtrodden – the Pharisees had dismissed such people. The parable is in the context of humility (Luke 14:11).

The Parable of the Great Banquet