Luke 4:15-24

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.




Imagine the scene. An important Pharisee had invited Jesus to a feast and now Jesus used the opportunity to teach those around the table. The conversation had become somewhat tense. One of the guests, perhaps in an attempt to diffuse the situation, made a comment about how those who eat at God’s table in His kingdom will be blessed. Jesus responded to the comment with a parable about a feast.

With no clocks available it was the practice to advise invited guests of the event ahead of time, but then to summon them by personal invitation when the banquet was ready to be enjoyed. Whilst many had accepted the initial invitation they were now having second thoughts about going and they began to make excuses. This was a grave insult to their host.

The first two excuses have to do with materialism. What sort of people were these potential guests? Only someone who is foolish enters such major transactions and only then checks whether their purchases are any good. The items they bought not only took precedence over their thoughts, but also occupied their time. The possession of land and the work the purchase of new oxen involved took priority over their acceptance of the invitation they had received at an earlier time. The third excuse was made by someone who was prepared to put their family before their relationship with the host.

It is obvious that, in fact, those who made the excuses did not really want to attend the banquet, as grand as it promised to be. Their responses did not invite argument. Each one of them was adamant they could not, would not, attend.

The host must have been surprised as well as angry. But he was not going to cancel his feast. Jesus has not forgotten the man’s comment that those who eat at the feast in God’s kingdom will be blessed. In effect He is saying to those gathered that whilst they admire the banquet God has prepared for them, they are not prepared to accept the invitation He is extending to them. He asks them an implied question: Will they too make excuses?

The host told his servants to go out again and make every effort to invite everyone they met to the feast, no matter who they were nor what their social standing may be. The servants were instructed to compel people to attend as the host wanted to ensure as many people as possible would be there. The word compel does not mean intimidate so much as convince, assure people that they were both welcome and loved. It emphasised the host’s eagerness to include all who respond. Commentators agree this is a veiled reference to the Gentiles, people no Jew would ever think to include in God’s kingdom, for God’s invitation would soon be extended to them as the Jews made excuses.


What was the most impressive invitation you have ever received? Did you accept or reject it? What made you respond the way you did?


  • How do you feel about the invitation God has extended to you to join Him at His heavenly banquet?
  • When did you last attend Holy Communion? How did you feel when you shared in this meal of remembrance? Is it a priority in your life or not? Why do you respond in this way?
  • How often do you go to church (rather than doing something else, like working overtime or playing some sport; or staying at home and worshipping online when you have no reason to do so, other than ‘because …’?) What reasons do you give that stop you attending worship? Are these real reasons – or excuses?
  • How do you feel about finding some people in heaven whom you do not expect to be there? Who would some of these people be? Why would it surprise you to find them in God’s Kingdom at the heavenly banquet? What does this say about God? What does it say about them? What does it say about you?
  • Who, in your circle, needs to hear God’s Gospel of Grace and learn about the invitation He extends to them? Is God bringing them to your mind for you to extend His invitation to the banquet to them? How will they hear if you do not tell them? How do you feel about speaking to them about God’s love for them and the invitation that is theirs to accept?
  • What struggles do you have about extending God’s invitation to the people you have named?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?


Pray for those in your circle who still need to hear the invitation God extends to them; and pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.


Be alert this week to opportunities to extend God’s invitation to those who may not have heard it. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and give you the courage you need to reach out to them. Report what happened back to the group.


Luke Chapter 14

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