The Invitation... In Three Parts (9AM)
Today is a day those of a certain age will not forget. We remember the tears, the lost lives, the shock. And we remember that buildings will fall, and life itself will end, but Jesus remains our only hope.
Part I (14:7-11): In Jesus’ day, as today, there were “status symbols” that helped people enhance their high standing in society. If you were invited to the “right homes” and if you were seated in the “right places,” then people would know how important you were. The emphasis was on reputation, not character. And so, in the first parable, Jesus counsels us to take the lowest seat, to forget our public image, because the Kingdom of God is about finding our identity in the One who knows us best.
Part II (14:12-15): When we are invited to a dinner or banquet, we enjoy time with family and friends. We want to return the favor. That's the way we often live, it’s our comfort zone.
But Jesus teaches that we should invite those who are in need, and those who need Him. Jesus wants us to invite those who cannot repay us. We follow Christ when we do just that. Our reward, we are told, will come later.
Part III (14:16-24): The third part of Jesus’ dining etiquette reveals the heart of the host, and the hearts of each invited guest. Each makes an excuse, and each excuse seems, at first hearing, reasonable. But they reject the generosity of the host, the door is shut, they are forever outside. Oh, may we stop with our excuses!