Lesson 81: Parable of the Great Supper and Counting the Cost
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome to lesson #81. We said at the end of our last lesson that it was a bad time to break; so, I trust you reviewed and have the setting in mind. Jesus was invited into the house of a Pharisee to eat bread, Luke 14:1. Jesus healed a man with dropsy on the Sabbath day, and the lawyers and Pharisees that were present "could not answer him again to these things." (Luke 14: 6). Then in v.7-14, Jesus gave a lesson using a wedding feast as an example as to the way the guests and host should conduct themselves on such an occasion. Jesus concluded that section in v.14 by saying that one should invite those who CANNOT recompense thee, i.e. repay; and "thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." But, I made the point at the end of our last lesson that the things said there set the stage for that which follows, which we are now ready to read. I read to you some thoughts on table arrangement by McGarvey and Pendleton. NOW, you need to keep in mind the things that we're going to read, took place in the house of that Pharisee where Jesus was invited. The statement in v.15, that we're going to read in just a moment; was made by one of the guests in that Pharisee's house. This was NOT Jesus' statement! What possessed one of the guests to make that statement is not exactly clear to me. It would appear that he was highly impressed with Jesus and may have made his point in a moment when he was touched by anticipation of the kingdom. Thus, Jesus picked up on the guest's thought and gave the parable that follows in v.16-24. Are you ready to read? Luke 14:15-24. Beginning in v.15. "And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have brought apiece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: 1 pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore cannot come. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper."
O.K. have you got the picture in mind? Whoever it was that made the comment in v.15; made reference to the blessedness, i.e. the happiness of those that eat bread in the kingdom. You can see, undergirding that statement was the thought of how it was going to be LIKE in the kingdom of God. Now, the person making that statement; most likely, DID NOT have a clear understanding of the kingdom or church as it really WOULD BE. Nevertheless, they were THINKING, trying to visualize, and they were impressed with that thought. Therefore, the parable Jesus GAVE demonstrated how shallow that most people regarded that kingdom. Notice in v.16, that Jesus directed this parable of the great supper to the one that made this statement AND, of course, for the benefit of all who were looking on. And that includes us, that Luke relayed it to through this book. We could preface this parable with those words that Jesus so often used, "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto..." with out doing it any violence. The description in this parable was applicable to the conditions surrounding the kingdom then, i.e. the kingdom was eminent (or at hand) and invitations were being issued, "Come, for all things are now ready." And, of course, that kingdom came into existence a few months later and if you projected that on down to the present, those conditions still exist. Although, the kingdom or church came with the new age a few months later, the thoughts here are still applicable to us. So, the kingdom of God is like a GREAT supper. The invitation had started with Moses. They were instructed to watch and be prepared. John the Baptist was another servant that came preaching the kingdom. Finally, at SUPPER TIME Jesus himself came bidding the Jews to get prepared for his supper, figuratively speaking. But, what did they do? They ignored the Lord's invitation. Offering frivolous excuses. Examine those excuses; JESUS SAID they WERE excuses. Now, there's a difference in a REASON and an EXCUSE. An excuse is a SHAM reason. That's what the dictionary says. Do you know what a sham is? You might want to look it up. Each of the three sham reasons, deal with something new. (#1) "I have bought a piece of ground." (#2) "I have bought five yoke of oxen." (#3) "I have married a wife." Now, do new things keep us from serving God? Maybe that's the reason we don't get as many new things; God's trying to help us out. You see, if he gave us MORE new things, He might be doing us a dis-service. The first one said, "I must needs go see" my new piece of property. Tine second said, "I go to prove" my oxen, i.e. try them out. The third said, "I cannot come." This said, in effect, that these things were more important than serving God? Is there anything wrong with buying land and taking a look at it? Of course, NOT! Is there anything wrong with using oxen, or a tractor? NO! Is there anything wrong with getting married? NO! If everything else is legitimate; that's fine. You see, it's the way these things are used that causes the evil. Putting them before God, causes them to be evil. And, you know that people will use any kind of excuse, any petty thing is good enough to prevent them from attending the worship service and studying the Bible. Far less frivolous things are used in our day as an excuse, I've got company. I've got to wash my car. I've got to go to the lake. I've worked hard all week, I need to rest. I don't have any clothes to wear. Excuses! excuses! excuses! What does Jesus, the master of the house, think about our excuses? Look at v.21! "Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant..." Do you get the idea? Other servants were sent out; they went into every quarter seeking persons to fill the house of God. What kind of people were invited? Those in the streets and lanes of the cities. Those that are poor. Those that are maimed, halt, or blind, from the highways and hedges. When it says hedges here, we would say fence rows. Compel them to come in! Is it wrong to pressure a person to become a Christian? Well the idea is not to literally compel them; but, the point is to use strong persuasion. What about those people that use excuses to reject Jesus? He said, "I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." That's equivalent to saying, they'll be lost. Who does the Lord invite? Everybody! Do you remember Matt. 11:28? Jesus said, "Come unto me..." WHO?? ALL! That doesn't leave out any, does it? All are invited! Will all come? Obviously NOT! What does this parable teach? See if you can make the connection with those verses that follow.
Let's read v.25-33. Luke 14:25-33. Beginning in v.25. Are you ready? "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sister, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Count the cost! According to v.25, this was a different setting. A great multitude followed Jesus. Apparently still in Perea, across the Jordan. What's the lesson? Count the cost. It costs to follow Jesus. One may be deprived of doing many things he would like to do; things that are alright within themselves. It might keep us from going and seeing the land we bought when we would like to go. It might keep us from trying out our oxen, or tractor, or car, or race car, or boat, or something else. It might even keep us from marrying a wife. The commentators all point out that the word "hate" in v.26 means to HATE, comparatively speaking. That is, to love something less than another is said to hate it. The point is, simply what we would call PRIORITY. We cannot even put our family, parents, or even our children a head of obeying Christ. Now, look at v.27! Whosoever doth NOT do this, Jesus said, "cannot be my disciple." CANNOT BE? Jesus plays second fiddle to NOTHING! Either we must give it our all, or we may as well not start. Count the cost! It costs to follow Jesus. There are no bargains! There are no discounts! There are no seconds! Count the cost! People do it when they build a house. Kings do it when they go to war. Everybody has heard of cost accounting. We do it with everything else. Why can't we do it in following Jesus? If you're going to put everything else first; then forget about being a Christian. The bottom line is in v.33, get an eyeball on that. "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh NOT all that he hath..." How much is that? Does that include my property? Does that include my girlfriend? Does that include my family? WHAT does that include? "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not ALL that he hath, he CANNOT be my disciple." To forsake here means to be willing to forsake, have the right attitude and have the right priority: Jesus first in all things. Do you remember that man, apparently a Samaritan, back in Luke 9:59 who said Lord I'll be your disciple; but, "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." Can you imagine the reaction of many when Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their dead", but you go and preach. Now, there's nothing wrong with burying the dead. But, if it conflicts with your duty to Jesus; then you must put Jesus first. Can you do that? If you cannot and will not; then Jesus said, "he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33). Does that seem a little extreme to YOU? How much is heaven worth to you? Let me toss in another ball of wax right here. Did you know that the N.T. teaches that you cannot earn heaven? You cannot do enough works, enough good deed, or ABSTAIN from enough things to earn heaven. It's just not for sale. It cannot be purchased, period, explanation mark and unquote. O.K. how does one get heave then? It's a reward. You can't purchase a reward. A reward is AWARDED not purchased. God gives a home in heaven to those who have that attitude: Jesus first and foremost and then try to obey him in all things. Those who get the attitude right will act where action is required. They have counted the cost and no cost is too great. BUT! BUT! Look at v.33 one more time, "whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he CANNOT be my disciple." To acquire that attitude in the N.T. is termed, very simply, "repentance." And that word, means very simply: a change of mind. To resolve to do everything according to Jesus' requirements. Obviously, that requirement comes after faith; which was a requirement also, you'll remember. Without faith it's impossible, Heb. 11:6. Faith gives us the power to become, John 1:12. That is, believing that Jesus Christ is God's son; as Peter said at Caesarea Philippi, Matt. 16:16. You see, nobody, NOBODY is going to change their mind and follow Jesus, put him before their family and before everything else, until, UNTIL, they understand who Jesus is? When they understand WHO JESUS IS. Then, they BELIEVE, they have FAITH. Now, once you have faith; you must count the cost. Are you willing to repent, change your mind and develop that attitude that will cause God to award you heaven when this life is over? If you are willing to do that; then you must be baptized as Jesus told Nicodemus. Then, when you are born again you must be faithful until the end of this life. THEN you can go home and receive your reward. That's what the Bible teaches. But, Jesus made it clear that to be his disciple, we must put him first and foremost. Jesus himself said: count the cost, Luke 14:28.
O.K. What happens when we count the cost. Let's read v. 34-35. Luke 14:34-35. Are you ready? "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."What happens when you count the cost? Either you (#1) decide to buy it regardless of the cost; OR (#2) you decide you don't want it. Jesus used the idea of salt before. Matt. 5:13, "Ye are the salt of the earth..." Mark 9:50, "Have salt in yourselves." Here Jesus said, "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned?" The idea here is perseverance. If you're salty enough to count the cost and decide to be a disciple; you are the salt of the earth. But, remember, you've got to stay salty; "be thou faithful unto death." (Rev. 2:10). If you lose that salty attitude, then you have lost everything. We're not fit for the kingdom! Do you remember that plow-boy parable in Luke 9:62? Jesus said that if we LOOK BACK we're not fit for the kingdom of God. And Jesus said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." That was one of Jesus' favorite warnings. Jesus used that statement or some similar statement about 25 times in the N.T. When Jesus used that statement, it was a VERY IMPORTANT thought. That means, you better back up and listen at it again. Do you remember in Matt. 11:15, just after Jesus identified John the Baptist as Elijah? Jesus said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Over in Matt. 13:9, after Jesus had given the parable of the sower; Jesus said, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." After Jesus had explained the parable of the tares in Matt. 13:43; Jesus repeated that statement again. After Jesus had explained that inner man principle in Mark 7:15; Jesus said in the next verse: "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." And like I said, Jesus used that statement many times in the N.T. Jesus used that statement seven times in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation. What does it mean to hear? The point is not merely to hear but to dig deep and be sure you understand that thought. O.K. this brings us to the end of Luke ch. 14. The parable of the great supper, a great, great lesson on counting the cost. We'll continue in Luke ch. 15 in our next lesson. And truly this is a continuation of this lesson. To see the true meaning of the three parables in ch. 15; you need to see it in the light of Luke ch. 14. Until our next lesson, have a good day.