The Great Banquet is the Holy Gospel

The Great Banquet

Second Sunday after Holy Trinity

June 30 & 31, 2019

Text: Luke 14:16-24 The Great Banquet

Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Open Banquet

Growing up where I did in Wisconsin there was a place nearby that always had great banquets.  Big ones. Especially during June, there would be a wedding and everyone would look for it in the newspaper and the people would go to the wedding and but then at the banquet everyone in town was invited.  It was an open banquet meaning all were invited to attend.  

And you know the name of this town.  If you have ever grilled bratwurst you have probably heard the name of Johnsonville Sausage in Johnsonville, Wisconsin.  It is a small town. The Johnsonville Sausage company and the banquet hall is about all that is in the town with the exception of dairy farms all around it.  And everyone looked forward to going to those great banquets.

The Open Banquet Is The Holy Gospel

Our Lord, in this Scripture text in Luke, is speaking of a great banquet.  A banquet that doesn’t have just a few invited to it. This banquet is the Gospel itself.  This banquet is the full proclamation of God’s Word. And invitation sent to the entire world.  Jesus wants all to attend this Great Banquet which is the Gospel.

For God our Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should have eternal life.  That is what God has been doing since Adam & Eve. He threw the Great Gospel Banquet in the Garden of Eden. And even when Adam and Eve uninvited themselves that didn’t stop the Great Banquet.  God still invited them to repent and come again to the Great Banquet.  

The Invitation is For You

The Gospel Banquet was there throughout the Old Testament.  The Lord continued to send prophets proclaim that there is a Great Feast that we are invited to attend even here while we are on earth.  But all people are invited. Turn from your sin and receive this invitation. It is given to the whole world. You are part of the whole world therefore this invitation is also for you.  

Jesus came and fulfilled everything that was needed so that this Gospel Banquet could take place.  He did it. What did He do? He took your sins upon Himself. He died. He rose again. He suffered Hell that was reserved for you.  But Jesus did that for you and raised Himself from the dead so that you might receive a new invitation. Come to Me. Don’t go to hell.  Come to the feast! Come to the Gospel Banquet! You are invited for the sake of Jesus and all He did for you.  

This is why Jesus died.  This is why Jesus rose again.  To invite you to the Gospel Banquet.  There is not one on earth that is not invited!  

That is how great this Banquet is.

The Parable of the Great Banquet

Jesus speaks this parable to invite you with His Gospel to repent and come to the feast.   

Come to the Gospel Banquet where God’s Word is read to whoever will hear it.  This whole Divine Service is open to the public. Anyone can come here. 

Come to the Baptismal Font.  The Banquet is taking place there as well. 

The Banquet is taking place here at the pulpit and of course it is taking place at the Lord’s Table as well.  Come and eat. You who have no money, you who have nothing to give, come and receive from the Lord’s Great Banquet.  

Now Jesus tells this parable.  Unfortunately, right out of the gate, as soon as the invitations go out, the first complaint came in.  

Please have me excused.  I bought a field and must go and see it.  Even though this banquet is very great and you are very generous to give it to all of us, I have important things to do.  So, again, please have me excused.

Please have me excused, says another.  I have bought 5 yoke of oxen and I go to examine them.  

These guys are not saying the banquet is bad or anything.  They just have more important things to do.

Finally, please have me excuse.  I have married a wife and just can’t make it. 

The complaints come in.   

Our Focus is on Jesus

We could focus on that because part of the lesson in this text is that even though the invitation goes out to all, not all receive it.  In fact, most do not act on the invitation and receive the Gospel. Jesus knows this.

What we should focus on after the invitations have gone out and are rejected.  How does God respond?

The Father (the Master of the Banquet) sends out more invitations.  Find someone anyone and fill my banquet hall. Go into the streets and alleys. And whoever you find, invite them to come.

The servant says, Master, we have done that but there is still room in the banquet hall.  Your banquet hall is so big it’s hard to fill.  

The Master says, keep going out.  Go farther out. God as far as necessary while inviting all to my banquet until my hall is filled.

That is how much God our Father loves the whole world.  The good and the bad alike. He knew His Son would be killed and yet He still sent Jesus.   Jesus knew He would be rejected and die. He told His disciple three times that He would suffer and be crucified.  As though Jesus said, This is a great invitation for you from My Father and things will go well for you, but it is not going to go well for Me.

Even the disciples said, Oh no, we will make sure things will go well for you.  We won’t let anyone put you to death! Jesus says, Get behind Me, Satan. Jesus also says that in the short term, it will not go well for the disciples either.

The farmer in the field, newlyweds, and new parents have their complaints.

We Have Our Complaints

We even have our complaints because we see how difficult it is to invite people to the Gospel.  Sin is a very real thing. It is deeply rooted in all of us. So that even though this great invitation goes out to all people it is sin that plugs our ears.   Turns our head away. Thinks of excuses that it be relieved otherwise it will have to be dealt with. Our old Adam. Our sinful nature. It knows it must die if we listen to the Gospel and receive it.  So our old Adam clings to us so tightly. We hear the invitation but that old Adam just clings on giving excuses so that we choose sin rather than the Savior.  

But the Savior said it is not going to be a problem for you.  

But, Jesus is For You Every Day

Every morning, you can use can use this baptismal font even at home when you remember the words  that are spoken over you and you can wash off and drown that old Adam in you and rise up to be that new creation in the resurrection of Jesus who invites you again to this Gospel for this particular day.  

We do it again tomorrow.  We wake up and realizing we are still in this fallen world we make the sign of the cross remembering that we are baptized.  We can have a devotion. We can listen to a sermon. We can memorize Bible verses and hymn stanzas. All of this trickles in and the Holy Spirit uses it to disinvite the old Adam but to make you a new creation by inviting you to the Gospel Banquet. 

So, this is how we live our lives.  The Lord continues to see us in this world and He invites us again today.  Come to the Gospel. Tomorrow He is going to say the same thing to you: Come to the Banquet.  All of this is yours and it is not just to make this life good. It is so that you may be alive to the goodness of God our Father both now, in your death, and even in the resurrection and beyond for evermore.  

This is an eternal banquet to which you have been invited.  To which you have been a part of for many years and decades already.  You are continuing to receive all the good things of this banquet; of this Gospel. 

Jesus is the Gospel

Jesus is the Gospel.  He is the life. He is the giver of all the Father’s gifts and He says: Come to Me.  Even eat My Body and drink My blood for the forgiveness of yours sins; for righteousness; for salvation.

So That You May Believe

So that you may experience life even now.  The same eternal life that you will have in one hundred years; in one million years; it is the same eternal life but your experience of it will be much greater.  For no eye has seen or ear has heard the fullness of this Great Banquet the Lord has for you; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

The peace of God, which passes understanding, protect you and keep you in Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Amen.