I’ve been posting about Jesus’ experience at a banquet with some Pharisees. The Lord is trying to explain some kingdom principles to them. But, because of their superior attitudes, most of them are not receiving this teaching. You may want to read Luke 14:15-26 before continuing.
Jesus has just talked about not throwing parties simply to get invited to better ones. Suddenly, one of the Pharisees excitedly interrupts.
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 14:15 NIV
He’s talking about what we know as the Second Coming of Christ. He’s anticipating a good time in the presence of God. Unfortunately, there’s only one way to get there, and these religious leaders are in the process of rejecting Him.
The Lord answers by giving them a parable. He wants to get across to them that just because you’re invited, doesn’t mean you’ll attend. You have to answer the call of the Messiah to be a part of the kingdom.
The parable is about a rich man who invited many people to a great feast. They all replied that they were coming. On the day of the banquet, he sent his servant to call them all to come.
“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’”
Luke 14:18-20 NIV
Hmmm. It sounds a lot like God’s people today. Everyone is busy with their own petty concerns. No one has any time to do anything for the Lord.
We have to be very careful not to allow the distractions of life to squeeze out the things of the spirit. How long can we ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit before it starts to negatively affect our life?
In the parable, the rich man made it a point to fill up his house with everyone he could find. He made sure there was no room for the foolish friends who refused his call.
Jesus makes it clear that He has to be the priority in the lives of His disciples. At the end of this parable, the Lord turns to the crowds, and begins to make this point.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”
Most people get tripped up by this verse because they don’t understand the usage of the word hate in the Scripture. This word has no emotional attachment to it. It’s just like the word agape, used to convey the idea of love. Hate is a choice rather than an emotion.
This word hate means a choice to not participate with. There are times when being a disciple of Christ means that you choose not to participate in every family event or social invitation. Maybe it’s a baby shower or a graduation party that’s held on a Sunday morning.
Christ is saying that if you choose to participate with your family or friends over the Lord, then it shows that you’re not truly a disciple. You might be a believer who loves God. But, you have yet to choose the high road of discipleship.
A disciple is more than just a student. You can miss a few classes and still graduate with an “A”. Discipleship is totally different.
Here’s why. A student wants to learn what the teacher knows. A disciple wants to become what the teacher is. That only happens as you walk the same road as Christ.
Following the Lord can be very inconvenient at times. However, if you want the same results as Christ, you must live as He does.
Question: How would you describe your discipleship toward Christ?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi