Luke 14:16-24 –
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
This is a parable about our Father in Heaven and His dearly beloved and only Begotten Son. He is the great King who has prepared a great banquet for us. He has paid a mighty price in time, sacrifice, and care to make the banquet possible. It will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. If those invited do not care enough, or respect the offer adequately, they will loose their place at the Table and be cast out. The Jews rejected Christ, so the offer is made to all who will accept and who are called by the servants of the Master.
Point 1: A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
Only a man of means, a great man, can provide such a supper.
That Supper is the Lord’s Supper which Christ instituted the night before His death and crucifixion.
1st, The feast. This is the Gospel which God has provided for mankind, sinners. It is a feast (1) in respect of the excellence of the provision which it sets before us; (2) in respect of abundance, for the supply is inexhaustible; (3) in respect of fellowship; (4) in respect of joy. (try to visualize the great hurt caused to the Great Benefactor who has gone to the greatest extreme of offering up His own life for us to provide the Communion Supper that we may all freely enjoy with Him – my thoughts.)
2nd – The invited guests. We have received the invitation. This, therefore, is not a mere matter of antiquarian interest, or of curious exegetical importance. It concerns our own spiritual and immortal welfare; for, though the invitation is given through the instrumentality of a servant,—the preacher,—it comes from the great God Himself, and on that account it is not to be trifled with or despised.
3rd – The excuses given – Look at the reaction of those first invited to the call which had been addressed to them: “They all with one consent began to make excuse.” These excuses were all pretexts. Perhaps they deluded themselves into the belief that they were acting in good faith; but if they had gone deeper down into their hearts, they would have found that they were deceiving themselves, and putting forth as excuses things which, if they had been earnestly determined to go to the feast, would not have kept them for a moment.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things.
4th – the persistence in declining – Those who persistently refuse to come to the feast shall be for ever excluded from its enjoyment. The rejecters of Christ are themselves eternally rejected of Christ.
First two excuses involve preoccupation with property and the increase of wealth.
The third excuse relates to social amenities, and the joys and comforts of domestic life.
The problem lies in placing greater importance on selfish needs than in honoring our friends.
Lastly, finally, this parable reveals to us the fact, that, notwithstanding the rejection of this invitation by multitudes, God’s house shall be filled at last. Heaven shall be fully occupied with God’s redeemed people, and the saved shall not be few.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
(One of the primary duties of a preacher is to offer up the invitation – to deliver it to all who will listen – to those who will gratefully respond to their salvation, and to those who reject the Master of the Feast to their eternal damnation – my thoughts.)
(above points taken from Homiletic Quarterly, vol i., p. 201; Ibid., vol. ix., p. 270; Clergyman’s Magazine, vol. ii., p. 341; H. Calderwood, The Parables, p. 98; A. B. Bruce, Parabolic Teaching of Christ, p. 325.
Men have changed in no respect from the moment of this parable of Christ. It may be that we are even more callous and ungrateful of the courtesies offered by those who wish to lift us up.
The Seal of God and the Mark of anti-Christ:
Rev 7 (the Seal) –
1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
This mark is the witness of the Holy Ghost, printed in the hearts of believers. And the Lord would not suffer his people to be afflicted before they were marked, that they might be prepared against all conflicts. And, observe, of those who are thus sealed by the Spirit, the seal must be on the forehead, plainly to be seen alike by friends and foes, but not by the believer himself, except as he looks stedfastly in the glass of God’s word.—Matthew Henry Concise
This is one of the rare moments that I disagree with Matthew Henry – a Bible scholar whose life and testimony place him far above my own understanding and witness, however, MH was writing during a different period during which the Gospel was advancing on every front.
There is a difference in a Seal and a mark –
A seal denotes acceptance and approval. A seal of approval is an official acknowledgement on a certificate to certify that the document is officially sanctioned by an authority. The Seal of God is His stamp of approval upon the imputed righteousness we have received by our Redemption in Christ.
A mark may be used as a verb to mean to consider an issue, but, when used as a noun, is a representation of disapproval and a set-aside for rejection. Timbers are marked by the woodsmen for being cut from the living stand. Academic papers are marked down for errors. Cain received a mark to designate his sin of murder of his own brother – Genesis 4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
Rev 13 (the Mark) –
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Christ has a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural life, they cannot conquer the soul, nor prevail with true believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies. Perseverance in the faith of the gospel and true worship of God, in this great hour of trial and temptation, which would deceive all but the elect, is the character of those registered in the book of life.—Matthew Henry Concise
Now note the subtle wording of the references of Scripture to the Mark and the Seal:
Most all modern and erroneous versions of the Bible change the wording to mean ‘on the forehead and not ‘in’ the forehead. This slight change of meaning has resulted in a peculiar blindness of God’s elect.
No mark imposed upon our foreheads by force of arms or threat of death can cause us to lose our identity in Christ. No external symbol can cause us to lose our security in Christ. The new versions would have you believe otherwise.
The source of all judgment and reason resides in our brain – but specifically the frontal lobe of our brain. It is in this part of the brain that we make value judgments, the part of the organ in which we decide our friendships, our loves, our important choices in life, the kind of music we prefer, the kind of speech we will abide, etc.
It is in our foreheads – not on our foreheads that these decisions are made. It is here that we make our decisions to accept the supper invitation of the Lamb, or to reject it. It is this organic section of our brain that we make choices to follow Christ, to love Him, and to reject evil.
Our decisions, made in our foreheads, will either seal our future security with God, or Mark us among those who will suffer damnation in the company that we keep, and the actions and values that we produce in our persons.
Which do you have today – a mark of rejection, or a Seal of approval of
the Lord our God?
Will you accept the invitation without excuse?