Pastor Rick Page reminded us of some of the more notable media events that occurred this year.
Among those events were the Enron trial, the loss of Steve Irwin (the Crocodile Hunter), that Pluto is no longer considered a planet, and the possible discovery of Noah's Ark.
This all led up to our church remembering the event just a short month ago known as Easter where we came together to celebrate the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ.
Now Pastor Page didn't want us to remember this because of some feel good fuzzy feeling it gives us. Instead he wanted to remind us that Christ raising from the dead isn't something that we should celebrate once a year, but every day. We need to remember that we would be nothing (hopeless and unforgiven) if not for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus did for us.
In Luke 14, Jesus used a parable to explain his death to one of the Pharisees. In case you didn't know, the Pharisees were the who bad-mouthed Jesus and tryed to kill him. This particular Pharisee was brave however and invited Jesus into his home to have dinner with him.
The Great Banquet
At dinner, Jesus told a parable (a story with a message) of a ruler who was holding his own banquet. Luke 14:16 says, Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many.
Pastor Page explained how it is understood that in this parable Jesus is talking about the kingdom of heaven, referring to it as the banquet.
In verse 17, this certain man sends out his servants to personally invite various friends and family. In those days, this means that the servants would go to each person's house and, with music and horns, officially invite the guest. The invited guest would have make his decision right then and there, so the servant could return with an accurate head count.
A Bunch of Excuses
Now the party was prepared but on the day of the banquet those invited were making excuses not to go. In Luke 14:18 one guy says that he just bought a piece of ground and has to go view it. In modern times this would be the equivalent of someone just buying a home and wanting to go see it.
In Luke 14:19 another guest says he has just purchased some oxen and has to go test them. Today this would be like buying a bunch of cars and going to test drive them.
The third excuse was that this person just got married and could not attend.
Pastor Page points out that all three of these people tried to justify their unaccountability for selfish motives; possessions and self pleasure.
But what happens next is rather incredible. The man holding this feast instructs his servants to go out into the city, the streets and bring in all that they can find including the lame, the blind and even the poor; but there is still room for more at his table. So the host then instructs his servants to go outside of town and bring in people from the roads and highways, so that my house will be full. Luke 14:23
In Luke 14:24, the host says, I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.
Preparing for the Groom
Pastor Ricky Page went on to explain that, in Jewish tradition, when a man becomes engaged to marry a woman he goes back to his father's home. While at home he begins working to build a room for him and his bride so that they will have a place to live.
Every day during the wedding ceremony the bride would wake up, go to the door, and see if her groom is approaching. If not she would use the day to prepare for his coming until that faithful day when he reappears. She would go to the door the next day and if no sign she kept preparing. A nother morning, no sign, she got ready some more. Not there. Preparing.
But when he did show up there was a party like no other that would last sometimes for weeks. In John 14:1-4, Jesus tells us that he has gone off to prepare our heavenly home.
Now are we waking every morning to see if he arrived and if not are we excited that we have another day to prepare? Or are we just watching the latest news, sitting in front of the tube, wasting time in other things? Or are we preparing for his coming?
He has got a great banquet for us and when the time comes lets not say "oh later, I just bought a house and I want to get comfortable in it" or "I want to play with my new stuff" or "I'm just going to stay in tonight." No. When it is time for the banquet Let's Eat!!