THE PARTY MANY PEOPLE MISSED
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My eldest daughter was the first to be married. We spent a year planning the event. The venue was restricted to a certain number of people, so the guest list was limited. We sent out “Save the Date” cards in advance. Then we carefully created a seating plan for the reception so guests would sit with those they enjoyed. We planned the menu. We ordered the cake.
Our lesson this week reminds me a bit of her wedding. Jesus told a parable about a man who prepared a great banquet. He sent out the first invitation—his form of “Save the Date.” When the banquet was ready, he sent out his servants announcing, “Come and eat!”
Later, we also sent out invitations—hand-addressed and personalized. It told our guests the date, time, place, and, most importantly, included an RSVP card.
The servants in Jesus’ parable encountered excuses.
The servants in Jesus’ parable encountered excuses. Someone bought a field and had to see it. Someone bought oxen and had to try them out. Another recently was married. Who buys a field they haven’t seen already? Who buys oxen without testing them first? Why not bring your new bride to the banquet? While they had received the “Save the Date,” they weren’t really interested in enjoying the feast.
Our RSVPs were counted; all the seats were filled. But on the day of the wedding 20 people who said they were coming didn’t show up. Their places were ready. The name cards and wedding favors were ready. The chef had planned the food for them to eat. And we’d paid for them to be there. We were beyond disappointed, not unlike the man in the parable.
We were beyond disappointed, not unlike the man in the parable.
The man ordered his servant to find others to take part in his banquet. What a surprise they must have had with this unexpected invitation! We had a similar situation. My younger daughter had met a young man just weeks prior to the wedding. She wanted him to come to the event, but there was no room; all the seats were taken. At the last minute due to a cancellation, I agreed that he could sit in someone else’s place. He came. He enjoyed. He caught the garter, and my daughter caught the bouquet. Seven years later they were married.
Which kind of guest will we be? The King has prepared a place for us. A “Save the Date” has been sent; we’re to be ready when He calls. There’s a place with our name on it, more favors, and blessings then we can count, and the best meal we’ve ever eaten. The other guests are amazing, and the King is waiting. Will we make excuses, or will we accept the invitation? Come to the wedding of Jesus and His bride. Catch the bouquet! Be renewed.
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Jesus spent much of His time here on earth eating with others. Eating was a form of fellowship and acceptance. Here are some examples of those occasions:
- Jesus at the Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1-11).
- Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners at the home of Levi (Luke 5:29-32).
- Jesus was anointed by a woman in the home of Simon the Pharisee during a meal (Luke 7:36-50).
- Jesus fed the 5,000 (Luke 9:10-36).
- Jesus fed 5,000 with two barley loaves and two fish. (Matthew 14:13-21).
- Jesus ate in the home of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:25-42).
- Jesus ate with a certain Pharisee (Luke 11:37-38)
- It is implied that Jesus ate with Zacchaeus and his household (Luke 19:1-10).
- Jesus ate with His disciples at the Last Supper (Luke 22:14-23).
- Jesus stayed and had supper with the two disciples after the encounter on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).
- Jesus appeared in the Upper Room to the disciples after His resurrection and ate broiled fish Luke 24:40-43).
- Jesus ate fish with His disciples after His resurrection and the miraculous catch of 153 fish (Luke 21:1-14).
- There is a second occurrence of Jesus eating after His resurrection. This time was with His disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 14:35-48).
Making it Real
Did you know that one of the most important places for children and teenagers is around the family table for meals? Make it a practice to eat at least one family meal together each day. During the meal talk to your children about their day and weave important Bible lessons into the discussion.
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, who’s delighting everyone with her smiles. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.