2002-10-31 - Excuses
Originally Published 2000-11-30
Luke 14:18-20 "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.' 19 "And another one said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.' 20 "And another one said, 'I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.' (NAS)
I had never really considered just how totally ridiculous these excuses were. I understood that they were pretty weak, but let's look at them. In the days of Jesus, there were no cameras to take photographs of properties for people to consider. This first man would have had to go and see it before he purchased it, or be considered very trusting, or very foolish. For the second man to say he needed to go and try out his new ox teams would be like buying a new car sight unseen. The last is a little bit more subtle to you and me for cultural reasons. What this third man is saying would be, "My wife won't let me come." In that time, women were truly second class citizens. They did not speak in public unless directly spoken to, which was rare. They had very little say in their lives, if any. In many Arab nations, the custom remains so to this day for many groups of people. For this man to say what he was saying was to invite public ridicule.
And still, today, the list of excuses goes on. The requests to be excused were sent back to a host who had prepared a great feast. Pastor Harry claims, and I have no reason to doubt, that he loves a feast. A pot luck, a picnic …, he's there! But this was a great meal with many guests. To turn the host down, was to do so at the very last minute. The host then sent his messengers to get anyone who would come, no matter what their station in life. He sent them again when his house was not full, to the highways and byways.
Are you making excuses not to come to the feast? The celebration in question is the Marriage Super of the Lamb. It is Jesus' wedding supper. And all of humanity is invited. Jesus' death on the cross cancelled sin for all mankind. And yet, the consequences of sin are still present. We are all spiritually dead due to the power of sin. In this case, the host is delivering the invitations personally to each man, woman and child. When we accept His invitation, His free gift of eternal life, He takes the ragged tatters of our old lives and exchanges them for new, white linen wedding clothes. He literally exchanges death for life. We are the ones from the highways and byways. We don't know anyone; we can't pay our way. It is a gift, and Jesus has done all the work. All we have to do is accept the gift, the invitation.
Do you have your invitation yet? If not and you would like to know more about Jesus' gift, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We'd love to help you to better understand. Thanks.
Grace & Peace,