disabled veterans, homeless, humble is exalted, invisible people, last is first, non-resident aliens, proud is humbled, ranking systems, Rule of the Congregation, seating instructions, The Great Banquet, The Wedding Feast
…For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’ Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’ And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’ The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.’ The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded—and there’s still room.’ The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.’ ~ Luke 14:16-24, MSG
This world has many invisible people. Some of these unnoticed people are disabled veterans; non-resident aliens; and grubby, hungry, angry, uneducated, and/or sickly homeless, or on the verge of being homeless, individuals.
It would be almost impossible to find anyone in any city throughout this world who doesn’t know where some invisible people live. Likewise, it would be very easy to find numerous local residents in every city all over this world who would prefer to close their eyes to anyone and anything that is unpleasant, and this avoidance of something or someone too displeasing to look at is the chief way some people treat so many disadvantaged humans like they are “invisible.”
Jesus the Christ addresses this deliberate blindness in Luke. In Luke 14:7-11 and 14:16-24, the Lord uses two parables (The Wedding Feast and The Great Supper) to teach about humility, because He wants every proud and elite individual alluded to in these parables to understand how the world’s traditional “ranking systems” are inconsistent with God’s ways.
Beginning in Luke 14:1-6, the writer paints an image that is both a portrait of a dinner-table battleground and a picture of a traditional Messianic banquet. It is in the context of the dinner-table battleground that the Lord heals a man who has the dropsy (see Luke 14:2). However, according to Mosaic Law and Jewish community rules, this sick man is not supposed be a part of any Sabbath-meal gathering, let alone in the presence of the Lord (see Leviticus 21:18-23; and “The Rule of the Congregation,” also called the “Messianic Rule,” “Rule of the Community,” and/or “Manual of Discipline”). Then too, since healing anyone on the Sabbath is considered work, the Lord wasn’t supposed to heal the sick man, either.
Since the invited elite Jewish men are questioning Christ Jesus about why He heals a sick man (the man with dropsy) in a Pharisee’s home on a Sabbath day, it is very possible that this sick man was allowed to enter the host’s home so that he could play a part in the conspiracy the interpreters and experts of the Mosaic Law, the members of the Jewish priesthood, and the local aristocracy have plotted against the Lord. However, as usual, their attempt to seek to lure the Lord into another open conflict backfires.
When the invited High Priest, other priests, Scribes, Pharisees, and educated aristocrats are unable to prove that Jesus the Christ is guilty of breaking a Sabbath-day law, they become silent. The Lord treats their silence as a wonderful opportunity for Him to teach them about humility.
Through His illustrated examples, the Lord explains to the invited distinguished guests why no one who has any kind of impurity or intellectual/physical defect will be excluded from His banquet table. Through His illustrated examples, He also explains to these elitists why no one who has been denied membership into traditionally exclusive groups will be barred from the Lord’s banquet table (cf. Leviticus 21:18-23 and “The Rule of the Congregation”). Furthermore, through His two mentioned parables, Jesus the Christ makes it clear that He agrees with God’s the first will be last and the last will be first principles.
For example, the Lord in Luke 14:8-11 emphasizes that the arrogant individuals who rush pass seemingly unimportant individuals, just so they can get a seat near the head of the banquet table, will be embarrassed when they are asked to sit at the foot of that table. In Luke 14:16-24, the Lord also emphasizes that the typically excluded individuals will be the majority of the people who not only will receive but also will accept God’s personal invitation to sit at the Lord’s banquet table.
There can be no doubt that Jesus the Christ is making it clear that the last being first and the first being last principles operate in the Kingdom of God. Thus, anyone who hopes to enter into the Lord’s earthly Kingdom must rethink every current social expectation and every accepted moral value that cause him or her to prefer to treat other humans like they are invisible.
Jesus the Christ especially wants today’s believers to know and understand that He is going to flip the script on the “better than thou,” self-important individuals. When He returns, the Lord will humble the proud and exalt the humble!
The Lord will abolish EVERY discriminatory practice, especially those religious and physical practices that, in the past, would have kept those people labeled as immoral and sickly from sitting at the Lord’s Table (Messianic Table; the Lord’s Marriage Super banquet table) so that they could not eat and drink in the Lord’s presence. Indeed, it is evident from the parables about The Wedding Feast and The Great Supper that Jesus the Christ’s Kingdom will be unlike any kingdom that mankind ever has had.
Consequently, the meaning of the Lord’s the ‘last will be first’ statement is that the first ones to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and sit at the Lord’s banquet table will be His end-times’ banquet community. They are the last—the defiled, the physically and emotionally handicapped, the poor, and the homeless. The meaning of His the ‘first will be last’ statement is that the self-diagnosed healthy, self-proclaimed wise, self-righteous, and self-sufficient rich who are full of themselves will be the last ones to find the Kingdom of God (see Matthew 20:16). The Lord Himself also declares that the “…ones who need a doctor aren’t the healthy but the sick. I didn’t come to call the ‘righteous’ but sinners!” (Mark 2:17, CJB).
Now the ‘last will be first and the first will be last’ statements definitely can be applied to the Jewish/Gentile cultural environment, and this is probably the reason why Christ Jesus, in the parable about The Great Supper, teaches that the angered master commands his servant to:
Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame. ~ Luke 14:21, ESV
Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. ~ Luke 14:23, ESV
In the context of these above-cited Scriptures, and those that immediately precede and follow them, the Lord is illustrating a Divine Truth. This Divine Truth is: During the end times’ Great Supper, God (the King) personally will give the best seats to the world’s invisible people—to those individuals in this world who have been impoverished, debilitated, ill, unsanitary, deformed, homeless, and so forth. This best seats’ Divine Truth is pointed out in the “The Rule of the Congregation,” because in this particular Dead Sea Scroll are instructions given to the various groups that will be participating in the end times’ sacred assembly. In particular, there are seating instructions for all the guests invited to God’s (the King’s) Great Banquet or the Marriage Supper of the Lord.
Once again the bottom line is that worldwide there are far too many handicapped veterans; illegal immigrants; and grubby, hungry, angry, uneducated, and/or sickly homeless, or on the verge of being homeless, individuals who still go unnoticed. For this reason, each Christian who wants to be prepared to rule and reign with the Lord in His Kingdom must remember that He says:
…Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. ~ Luke 12:48b, ESV
The Lord is making these “much” is required statements to every believer. He obviously wants each Christian who dodges the responsibility that has been given to him or her to know that he or she will be severely punished (see Luke 12:35-48). That’s why people who believe that they neither need to notice nor help so-called invisible individuals should understand exactly what their just rewards will be. In the Lord’s words, one reward will be that “…the last will be first, and the first last” ~ Matthew 20:16, ESV. Another reward will be that “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” ~ Luke 14:11, ESV.
Finally, by Christ Jesus’ example, it is evident that only the humble and faithful believers will be the ones who will not choose to refuse to see and help their cities’ invisible individuals. These believers also are the ones who are aware of the warning Jesus the Christ gives every person who neither wants to see nor wants to deal with today’s little-known people. The Lord’s definitive Word on the world’s willfully blind individuals who have received much is:
…not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party. ~ Luke 14:24, MSG
A word to the wise should be sufficient. Amen!
For additional information, please read the following blog entries: A Contextual Analysis of Christ’s Many Called, Few Chosen Paradox and What Will Your RSVP Be To The King’s Invitation?