Faith in  Christ   leads to action



            Jesus may be alluding to a principle expressed in the Hebrew Scriptures. “Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble” (Prov 25:6-7 NRSV). Whether Jesus is referring to this proverb or not, the principle stated by Jesus is much more extensive than the principle expressed in Proverbs 25. “Jesus is not giving a piece of worldly advice; he is teaching people to be genuinely humble. He reminds us that the truly humble person will finish up where he ought to be and receive the honour that is due.”[1] This principle is at work in human relationships, such as seating at a wedding banquet, and it is vitally important in our relationship with God. Jesus’ conclusion is all-encompassing: all who exalt themselves will be humbled. God will humble all those who take pride in themselves and in the positions to which they believe they are entitled. On the other hand, as Ultimate Authority, God will lift higher those who humble themselves before God and before their fellow human beings.

            Jesus tells a second parable at the house of the Pharisee: the parable of the great dinner (or the great banquet).[2] Before examining this parable, we should keep in mind that the lesson in humility is an important precursor to the second parable. Jesus demonstrates a unique ability to teach as he moves from the principle of humility to a related principle of accepting the invitation to participate in God’s kingdom at the time and on the terms that God has set forth. For the readers of Luke, Jesus’ use of a wedding banquet and the great banquet may have invoked apocalyptic images and the theme of a divine marriage depicted in Isaiah 54:5-55:5. “This theme is then taken up in the NT, where it becomes a prominent image for the joys of the kingdom in the gospel tradition, especially in the parables . . . [including] Luke 14:7-11 . . . .”[3]

[1] Leon Morris, Luke: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Volume 3 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 250.
[2] The view of this paper is that this parable is distinct from the one in Matthew 22:1-14; see Morris, Luke, 250-51.
[3] David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 4 (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 790.

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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