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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

Faith in  Christ   leads to action

 

THE PARABLE OF THE GREAT DINNER (OR GREAT BANQUET) – Luke 14:12-24

            Jesus advises the host to invite those who cannot repay to a banquet (vv. 12-14)

           Before telling the second parable, Jesus speaks to the Pharisee who invited him to the meal. It would seem to be another awkward moment. Jesus instructs the host on the types of guests he should invite to a meal. Jesus had already made a point about the way the guests seated themselves in places of honor. Now he interjects his ideas about the types of guests that the host had invited to the meal. Since the guests had been invited and most or all had arrived, Jesus’ comments could be taken as an affront by the host, or as advice for the future. As the parable unfolds, it is clear that Jesus is speaking on a higher level than either of those scenarios. In fact, Jesus’ words to the host serve as a fitting introduction to the parable of the great dinner, for both remarks by Jesus relate to showing hospitality to the poor, the infirmed and downtrodden.

           Jesus advises the host not to invite his family members, friends, or others who can repay him. “Standard patterns of reciprocity and concern for those of our own standing are overturned here.”[1] Rather, Jesus tells the host (and the guests, as well as us) to invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, for they cannot reciprocate. If the host invites the poor and the infirmed, he will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. The contrast is striking. If one caters to those that can repay the favor by temporal means, their repayment is the only compensation that will be received. On the other hand, if one aids the poor and others who cannot make a payment in return, the generous person will be repaid by God, with an eternal reward.

            The power of Jesus’ words, reflecting the heart of God for both the poor and those with the means to help, is stunning. The heart of God can work in and through people who follow God’s way in human relationships.  “Real love never reckons with recompense; and because this is so, generosity will find its reward at the resurrection. The reciprocity expected must give way


[1] John Nolland, Luke, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 35B (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1993), 751.