Essay: The gospel of Luke

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  • Subject area(s): Religious studies and Theology essays
  • Reading time: 9 minutes
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  • Published on: March 23, 2018
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The gospel of Luke is contemplated to talk about the Kingdom of God more than any other gospel. In the beginning of the book, the writer describes exactly why they are writing to Theophilus, to spread the truthfulness of the gospel. Compared to the other gospels who only communicate the gospel to us through the use of stories, the gospel of Luke is given to those who have heard the gospel, but need assurance the stories are true. Once the gospel is heard by someone for the first time, the first concern that comes to mind is how true is the statement they received? In this paper I will argue how the parable in Luke 14:15-24 directly correlates to the main purpose of Jesus’ coming and the purpose of the Kingdom of God.
 
Form and Structure

The passage is organized by chronological order explaining the series of events on how many various types of people made excuses on why they were not able to attend the great banquet. While the first line of people invited were the wealthy and prosperous, the second line of attendees were those who were often never invited to anything let alone a banquet. When the master of the house heard his banquet hall was not full he ordered his servants to go out on the country roads to fill the rest of his house to all that could come. They end the parable by explaining to reader that those who have better things to do than to attend the banquet, do not belong at the banquet anyway.

The reader understands the beginning of the passage by how the author starts the story right after a member at the table with Jesus says, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15, ESV). The beginning of the parable is brought about in a fairy tale sort of way. As one would say, “Once upon a time” in a fair tale, the author starts the story with “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many” (Luke 14:16). While the parable does not end with a “happily ever after” or “the end” directly, it does a nice job of simply wrapping it up by saying, “For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet” (Luke 14:24).

Jesus’ structure of choice was to often repeat words or phrases in a methodically parallel fashion. In this passage, He often reused the words “I have…” following the excuses of the original invitees. Those words “I have” imply that the ones who did not attend simply had other importances they would rather put before the great banquet the master had arranged.

Literary and theological context

In the broader context of the passage, Jesus uses the dinner setting in the Pharisee’s house to describe who will be invited into the Kingdom of God. He knows the Jewish culture had taught through their prophets how a King would come to save them. He also knew they expected a Kingdom which would be supreme above all else. The Jews of that time expected this Kingdom to come through the way of a powerful King. Even though the Old Testament prophets also spoke of a Lamb and of a Messiah, they clung to the presentation of a Savior in the form of a King. While they were not wrong, they were over focused on the power of the King and not the sacrifice of the King. Jesus knew of His impending death by the rejection of the Jews at that time and took this opportunity to teach them that the new Kingdom would be filled with Jews and Gentiles alike.

After reading the passage and the preceding verses, we do not know the motives of the Pharisees, but we do know however from Luke that Jesus is “being carefully watched”. Jesus heals a man and sends him on his way after asking the Pharisees if it was lawful to heal since it was the Sabbath day. The Pharisees remained silent. Jesus knew right then these same Pharisees, whom He was to have dinner with, were religious and not understanding of what the law was meant to teach. The Pharisees should have said, “Absolutely heal him!”, but instead were silent because they knew the dilemma of the question. If they said yes, they will have accepted His rogue authority and would have been embarrassed by His healing powers. But if they said no, they would have looked pious and like strict law abiders letting sick man go unhealed. So instead they remained silent.

Jesus clearly understood the Pharisees heart and how they would not accept him as their King or even the fact that He had greater authority then them. Using the healing before dinner, He had established His authority to them.

Now that the host and the all guest had entered into the house for dinner, Jesus then tells the parable of the wedding feast. In the parable, He speaks directly to the entire dinner audience on where they should sit. He warns of proud people who have prominence to assume they should sit near the host or at the places of honor. Instead, he says the guest should come to the dinner feast and find the lowest place left to sit. The guest will then display their own humility in action and will be exceptionally grateful to even be invited to the feast. Many people who think they should be invited will not have even be invited at all. As a guest in a wedding, it is truly an honor to be invited. Jesus finishes the wedding feast parable by posing the embarrassing situation of being reseated. What if you showed up to a wedding and sat by the host but then someone more important than you arrives and are requested to give up your seat? Now the only seat you can find is in the back. This would indeed be a key example of the proud being humbled verses the humble showing humility on their own accord. This humility is what Jesus says is right and will be rewarded even again in eternity. The proud person receives his reward right in that moment and that is all.

Now after that parable, the stage is set for Jesus to really start to reveal what the Kingdom of God will be like. He has healed a sick person, silenced the Pharisees twice and now has the attention of everyone sitting with Him at the table. In this context, He starts to describe who is included in the Kingdom of God. We were just informed that He includes the sick and the humble by His previous actions and teachings. The parable of the Great Banquet as Luke describes, is about the inclusion of all people on earth, living and past not only the Jews.

Jesus’ teaching to who will specifically be invited into the Kingdom of God can also be found throughout Isaiah and Hosea. Paul concludes and affirms this in Romans 9:22-29 where he clearly stated that God’s people were being redeemed for glory and how they were stated as Gentiles except for the remnant of Jews. Good theology which interprets scripture clearly, includes how Jesus’ came as a Redeemer King for all and not just a Conquering King like the Pharisee’s believed who would only hold a high position.

In concluding, I would add a key word and key principle in the passage is “Blessed”. This one single verse can be overlooked so quickly. The man said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15). He understood what it means to be the one who his blessed. If we were to do a deeper search on the word “Blessed,” surely Psalms 1 would come up which Psalm describes a “Blessed Man” who lives with a King, who’s every need is met and who lives spiritually with fruit. Truly this statement from a man to Jesus exposes his desire to be such a Blessed Man.

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