The Meal No One Can Afford To Miss

Title: The Meal No One Can Afford To Miss

Bible Book: Luke 14 : 16-24

Author: Terry Trivette

Subject: Invitation, God's



MSNBC’s website posted an article earlier this year with some alarming predictions for America’s future. The predictions had nothing to do with terrorism, the price of gasoline, or the economy. The predictions had to do with the size of America’s waistlines.

The article opens with this prediction, “If people keep gaining weight at the current rate, fat will be the norm by 2015, with 75% of U.S. adults overweight and 41% obese…” The predictions came from research conducted by a team from Johns Hopkins University. Currently, somewhere around 66% of Americans are either overweight, or obese.i

The truth is that none of us are likely to starve any time in the near future. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt most of us to skip a meal or two, here and there.

While most of us could more than afford to miss a meal, in Luke chapter 14, the Lord Jesus gives us a parable about a meal that no one needs to miss.

While attending a supper at the home of one of the chief Pharisees, the Lord gave a parable about a feast that was prepared by a “certain man”, who invited many to come and enjoy what he had provided.

Those who were originally invited refused to attend the great supper. Therefore, the man instructed that invitations be extended to the poor and the pitiful of his city, and anyone else who would come.

The Lord Jesus told this parable for the purpose of warning the Jews about rejecting the invitation that God had sent them in the Person of His Son.

For us, the story of the great supper reminds us of the invitation and importance of the gospel. In this parable we are challenged about our own response to the gospel, as well as the responsibility the gospel lays upon us.

This story reminds us that the gospel is a meal that no one can afford to miss. There is plenty of room at the Father’s table, both for us, and for those around us.

As we study this parable, we find three groups of people, and their relationship to the gospel. Notice these three groups with me.

Notice first of all that we find in this story:


In the parable, a great supper had been planned. Apparently, certain friends and neighbors had been invited to the meal ahead of time.

When the time for the feast came, and the servant went out to notify the guests, they each, one by one, began to excuse themselves from attending the meal.

When the Lord Jesus originally told this parable, those who refused to come to the meal represented the Jewish religious leaders that rejected the gospel preached by Christ.

For us, those who refused to attend in the parable remind us of those who reject the gospel still today. Notice a couple of things we find about those that reject the gospel. Notice first of all:

A. Their Excuses

As the servant went out to remind the guest of the meal, verse 18 says, “And they all with one consent began to make excuse…”

Each guest gave a reason for rejecting the gracious invitation of the host. Their excuses remind us in some ways of the excuses that people give today for rejecting the gracious offer of the gospel.

Notice that in some ways, their excuses were similar. The first man had “bought a piece of ground”. The second guest had “bought five yoke of oxen”. The third guest had “married a wife”.

These excuses are similar in that they all relate to the affairs of everyday life. The first guest’s land kept him from coming. The second guest’s labors kept him from coming. The third guest’s love kept him from coming.

These were not bad things. Yet they were things that kept them from the feast. So often, people will reject the gospel because they are more interested in the things of this life. Their possessions will keep them from Him. Their jobs will keep them from Him. Their relationships with keep them from Him.

These excuses are not only similar, they are also silly. Notice again verse 18. The first guest says, “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it…” Think of that. This man had bought a piece of property that he had never seen.

Look at verse 19. The second guest says, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them…” This man had purchased oxen without testing whether or not they would plow.

The third man’s excuse might be more understandable to some of us. Look at verse 20. He says, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” This excuse, while not a silly as the others, does not fully make sense either.

Here is the point for us. No excuse for rejecting the gospel makes any sense! To turn away from the gracious invitation of Christ is to make a silly and unreasonable decision.

No matter what your excuse, you are foolish to refuse to come to the Lord Jesus. Notice something else we learn here about those that reject the gospel. Notice not only their excuses, but notice also further:

B. Their Exclusion

Jump to the end of the story, and notice verse 24. The gracious host makes a stern declaration. He says, “For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”

The critical point in this parable is that there is a grave danger in rejecting the message of the gospel. To reject Christ is to seal your own doom.

There is a gracious feast prepared for those who come by faith to Christ. Yet, those, who for whatever reason, choose not to respond to Him, are excluded from the feast, and damned to the fire.

Contrary to the pluralism of our day, all will not be saved. Only those who accept the call of Christ will enter into heaven. Those who are too busy, too proud, and too good to humble themselves before the gospel will ultimately spend eternity in hell.

An old writer named William Taylor put it straightly and simply this way. He wrote, “The rejectors of Christ are themselves eternally rejected by Christ.”ii

Don’t be mistaken, those who would receive the meal, must not reject the Master. He is the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life, and no one can feast with the Father without saying yes to the invitation of the Son.

There is a second group we find in this story. We find not only those that reject the gospel, but notice also that we find:


Once the original guests had turned down the invitation to the supper, the “master of the house” sent the servant out after a very different group, a group that would have been glad to be invited to a feast.

Notice with me verse 21. It says, “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.”

In this next group introduced in the parable, we are reminded of the people that receive the gospel. There is a very specific group that is interested in the good news of Jesus Christ.

Notice first of all, those that receive the gospel are:

A. The Destitute

Verse 21 says that the servant was to seek out “the poor”. Obviously, a free and gracious supper would be appealing to those who did not have the means to buy their own food.

In much the same way, those who receive the gospel are those who realize that they are spiritually poor. They realize that they have nothing to offer God.

Those that are spiritually destitute, and aware that they have no righteousness and goodness with which to pay for their sins, are those that are interested in the gracious provision of Jesus Christ.

Friend, as long as you think you are good enough for heaven, you will never be willing to accept the message of the gospel.

Sinners are spiritually poor. They have nothing to offer God. They don’t deserve nor expect to dine with Him. That is why they are excited when the invitation of Christ is presented to them.

Poverty is a concept that is foreign to almost all Americans. Relative to other Americans we may think we are poor, but did you know that 3 billion people in the world live on less than $2 a day. 1.3 billion people worldwide live on less than $1 a day.iii

That kind of poverty is hard for us to imagine. However, spiritually speaking, all mankind is poor. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Those that receive the gospel are those who realize their destitute condition before God. Notice not only that those that receive the gospel are the destitute, but notice also further that they are:

B. The Disabled

Look again at verse 21. It is not only the poor that are invited, but the servant is also told to invite, “…the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.”

Each of these groups describes those with some kind of physical disability. In that culture, these would have been some of the lowest classes of humanity.

Spiritually speaking, it is those who understand their spiritual disability that ultimately run to the invitation of Christ.

The spiritually disabled understand that they cannot save themselves. They understand that their lame, crippled, and blind condition prevents them from ever reaching up to God.

Understand dear friend, the invitation of the gospel appeals to those who know the crippling condition of sin from which they suffer.

The old writer Marcus Dods writes regarding this group, “Whoever finds himself in a wretched and abandoned condition is taught here that God invites him to His table…he who has been maimed in the service of sin…to him comes God’s invitation…”iv

Is it not good to know that God calls those who are destitute in spirit, and disabled by sin to come and feast with Him?

In case you don’t know, if you are believer, this is your group. You were in the streets and lanes of sin, crippled by the fall, but the invitation came to you, and you were permitted at the table of the Father!

There is yet one more group that we find in this parable. We see not only those that reject the gospel, and those that receive the gospel, but we find also thirdly:


There is a third group that we find in this story, and they are represented by the servant. Each time the master of the house extends his invitations, he does so through the servant.

In many ways, we as the Church of Jesus Christ are the servants called by God to extend His invitation in our world.

Notice a couple of things about those that relate the gospel. Notice first of all:

A. Our Mission

In verse 21, the servant is sent out into “the streets and lanes of the city”, where he was to “bring in” the needy of the city.

In verse 22, the servant is sent back out into “the highways and hedges”, where he was to “compel them to come in.”

As we think about the servant in this parable, we are reminded about our mission as witnesses for Christ. We are reminded that our mission is clear.

In both verse 21 and 22, the servant was to “go”. He was not called to sit in the dining hall and wait for the guests to arrive. He was to go out to where the guests were, and bring them in.

In much the same way, we are clearly called by God to “go into all the world” with the gospel. We are not called to sit on our benches inside our buildings and hope the sinners will simply show up.

We are reminded not only that our mission is clear, but also that our mission is critical. In verse 23, the servant is told to, “…compel them…” The idea of that phrase is that the servant was to convince them of the importance of the meal.

Oh that we could see how critical it is that men come to Christ! It is no flippant matter. It is not light thing.

God calls us to compel sinners to come to Him. They must be convinced of the feast, and of the invitation the Master has extended to them.

In the servant we are reminded not only of our mission, but we are also reminded of:

B. Our Message

There are two things the servant could tell those he invited. The first is found in verse 17. The master sent the servant out with this message, “Come; for all things are now ready.”

We can go into our world, and we can say to those wrecked and ruined by sin, “Come, for in Christ all things have been made ready! You can be saved today! Now is the time of salvation.”

Not only can we tell them that all things are ready, but look also in verse 22. We can also tell them, “…yet there is room.”

“Though millions have come, there is still room for one. There is room at the cross for you!” The Church of Jesus Christ is an innumerable host, and yet there is still room in heaven for more.

We have a glorious message to relate to this world! We are not preaching a religion. We are inviting men to redemption. We are not pushing a church; we are promising a change. We do not sell a membership to a group; we offer a relationship to God!

Knowing that, I call upon you all! Go out into the streets of our community and compel them to come! Cry out to them that all is ready, and that there is room yet for their soul.

The feast is ready, and how dare we sit enjoy the food while we are surrounded by empty seats at the Father’s table.

The Barna Research Group conducted a poll not long ago that found that three fourths of Americans believe that Christianity is losing its influence in our society.v

The truth is that we are increasingly losing the battle for the souls of men. The reason for this is not that the gospel has lost its effect, or that Christ is any less appealing.

No, the reason surely lies in the fact that those of us who know about the feast are not telling anyone else about it.

It is true that there are those who will reject the invitation. But it is likewise true that there are those out there who would love to hear that Christ came to save sinners.

May we ensure that we have a place at the table, and may we then work to bring as many into the Father’s house as we possibly can.

He has prepared a meal that no one can afford to miss!


i; accessed 11/22/07

ii Parables of our Savior; Taylor, William; p. 301

iii McHenry’s Stories for the Soul; p. 219

iv The Parables of our Lord: Second Series; Dods, Marcus; p. 101-102

v McHenry’s Stories for the Soul; p. 34

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