The original guests refuse to respond to the good news that the banquet is ready. They are confident that the banquet cannot proceed without them and that the entire event will thus become a humiliating defeat for the host. But not so – unworthy guests are invited. The host is not indebted socially to the poor, maimed, blind and lame, and they will not be able to respond in kind. The offer is what we have described elsewhere as “unexpected visible demonstration of love in humiliation”. The dramatic, visible nature of the demonstration is clear. It is unexpected and breaks in upon the new group of undeserving guests as a stunning surprise. The host may anticipate suffering since the original guests will be infuriated that their attempt to abort the banquet has failed, and they will taunt the host as one who is unable to put together a banquet without “bringing in the riffraff”. Again, as in the case of the Prodigal Son, this unexpected visible demonstration of love in suffering theologically foreshadows the cross and demonstrates in essential form its meaning. (page 100)
Jesus does not here teach either a mechanically operating predestination, which determines from all eternity who shall or who shall not be brought into the Kingdom. Neither does He proclaim that man’s entry into the Kingdom is purely his own affair. The essential points in His teaching are that no man can enter the Kingdom without the invitation of God, and that no man can remain outside it but by his own deliberate choice. Man cannot save himself; but he can damn himself… He (Jesus) sees the deepest tragedy of human life, not in the many wrong and foolish things that men do, or the many good and wise things that they fail to accomplish, but in their rejection of God’s greatest gift (From Manson, on page 110)
1. Jesus is God’s unique agent calling for participation in the messianic banquet of salvation.
2. The messianic banquet promised by Isaiah (Isaiah 25:6-9) is inaugurated in the table fellowship of Jesus (realised eschatology). But the parable is left open-ended. All the guests are not assembled. The parable breaks off with the house not yet full. Thus there is an unfulfilled future anticipated by the parable (futuristic eschatology). The full vision of the messianic banquet is yet in the future, when the faithful will sit down in the kingdom with Abaraham, Isaac and Jacob (Luke 13:28-29). Thus the messianic banquet of the end times is both now and not yet.
3. The excuses people offer for refusal to respond to the invitation to join in the banquet are stupid and insulting. The original guests have their counterpart in every age.
4. The invitation to table fellowship at the banquet is extended to the unworthy who can in no way compensate the host for his grace. These outcasts may be from within or from without the community.
5. Grace is unbelievable. This is so true that some special pleading is required for many of the undeserving to be convinced that the invitation is genuine.
6. There is a centrifugal force to the mission taught in the parable. The servant, with his invitation, is told to go out beyond the city. If God’s salvation is to reach to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6) someone must take the message out and present it with all the winsomeness possible (Luke 14:23).
7. There is a self imposed concept of judgment. Those who by their own choice reject the invitation thereby shut themselves off from the fellowship with the host and his guests.
8. There is a warning addressed to the presumptuous in the believing community. God can get along without them. If they fail to respond to his invitation, he will proceed with outsiders.
9. Time runs out on the invitation. As Charles Smith has said, “Places are not kept open indefinitely at the Messianic table and those who assume… that there will always be room for them are likely to receive a rude shock.”
10. The guests must be invited. No one “storms the party” Attendance is by invitation only. Yet the guests must respond and come in. There is no participation at a distance. (pages 111-112)