By Doug Bell
Luke 14:16-24 (Cf. Matthew 22:1-14)
16 ¶ Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,
17 “and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’
18 “But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’
19 “And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
21 “So that servant came and reported these things to his master. 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 here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’
22 “And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’
23 “Then the master said to 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 to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’
When we compare these ‘parallel’ stories they appear to be the same story. They Both speak of a Wedding Banquet (Supper), both speak of guests excusing themselves from attending, and finally a King (Master of the house) who is not pleased with the invited guests.
But, let’s compare each story.
In Luke 14 we see the different particulars:
A man invites guests for a supper
When the time came, he sent His servant to tell guests it was time to come to the dinner.
They all began to give excuses why they couldn’t come; a) Bought a piece of ground b) bought five yoke of oxen c) taken a wife.
the servant came back and reported
the Master of the house became angry and told his servant to go into the streets and lanes and bring in the poor, maimed, blind, and lame.
the servant replied that he had done all of that and there was still room.
the Master told him to then go into the highway and hedges and COMPEL them to come in, that his house might be filled.
And none of those invited before shall ever taste of His supper.
Now as we compare Matthew 24 we shall see small differences:
• Instead of a Supper and the Master of the House, we have a King throwing a marriage for His Son.
• the King sent out His servants to have the invited guests to the wedding.
they all began making excuses why they cannot attend. • So he sent out other servants to tell them; a) prepared the dinner b) Oxen and fatted calf are prepared c) Come to the Wedding
• they made light of the invitation a) went their way b) one to his farm c) one to his business c) “And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.”
• when the king heard about he sent out His armies and destroyed those murders and burned their cities.
• those who were invited were not worthy and He told His servants ‘Go into the highways and as many as you find and INVITE them to come to the wedding
• “So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Without a doubt, Both of these parables were speaking of how the Nation of Israel had rejected God’s Messiah. Because of this, God took His message to the nations and they accepted the Gospel. Thus, Israel is rejected and God is now working through His Church! This is the general interpretation of these parables.
But one of the ‘nuances’ of these, BUT an important point are the words servant and servants.
1.) The servant (singular) goes into the world and was to Compel them to come to Christ (Luke’s version).
2.) The servants (plural) were to go into the world and Invite them to come to Christ (Matthew).
[Is there any scriptural reason to believe that there is sufficient precedent to view a belief based on the difference between a singular and plural word? Yes! In Galatians 3:16, Paul makes his whole argument (another topic).]
So what are we to make of these two difference? The main job of the Servants (See: plural in Matthew). Is to Invite, Invite, and Invite! The power to change a soul is not in any man’s ability!
1 Corinthians 3:
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor
We Christians do have a responsibility; it is to Share, Tell, and Invite others to come to the Savior who has changed our lives so drastically! And this is the calling upon each and every Christian.
But, the main job of the Servant (singular in Luke) that HE COMPELS people to come to the Christ! “He” here is a reference to the Holy Spirit! Only God can change a person’s heart and life!
25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them
And it is the Holy Spirit’s job to Convict (Compel) the sinner of his hopeless situation and his need to come to Christ.
7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 “of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10 “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11 “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged
What a privilege God has given to all of his disciples. We get to share the “Good News,” with those on the road to perdition. Giving them the ‘cure’ for their incurable disease. And a better life, an ‘abundant’ life here and now!
But, whether those we share with (plant/water) believe? Only God can give the increase. That is, only God can change their hearts and their lives. This has never been our responsibility and one that God has Never put upon us.
Christian Go, Tell, Share, Invite! That is your calling AND your only responsibility in sharing the Gospel!