Faith in Christ leads to action
The Parable of the Great Banquet
page 12 of 13
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).
This passage sheds light on God’s purpose of widening the scope of salvation (as it had been perceived at that time). On the other hand, in order to enter God’s kingdom, one must be humble or be humbled by God. The poor and disadvantaged are welcomed by God into the kingdom, and in a sense (consistent with faith in Christ), the poor are God’s entryway into the kingdom for the well-to do. This brings to mind “the least of these” referred to by Jesus in Matthew 25:40 and 25:45. Showing concern for the poor is showing love for God.
There is immediacy to the invitation. “The action of the parable is not to be related to some remote (or even near) eschatological future, but to the present of Jesus’ ministry (and by extension to the present of the early church’s ministry): now is the time to be taking up the invitation and coming along to the messianic banquet.” The person who truly wants to live in fulfillment with God will accept Christ’s invitation. To reject it is to lose the banquet blessings.
The warning “None of those who were invited will taste my dinner” (Lk 12:24 NRSV), should not be interpreted as exclusion from salvation, at least in the sense of conversion. It is to be interpreted in the fullest sense of salvation; that is, Jesus offers to us the fullness of life (including earthly life and eternal life). By attending the banquet to which Jesus invites us, we receive the blessings associated with it. We will be in fellowship with Jesus and others who join him in the banquet. “Jesus declared that his MEALS were the center of the kingdom. . . . It is no coincidence that the typical setting of appearances of the risen Jesus is while disciples were taking meals together.” Life on earth becomes joyful, purposeful, and harmonious.
 Nolland, Word, 755.
 Katharine Doob Sakenfield, ed., The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 3 (Nashville, Abingdon, Press, 2008), 516.