Parable of the Great Supper; Jesus Teaches in a Pharisee's House
In a parable that Jesus teaches, a certain man prepared a feast. When all was ready, he sent his servant to call the invited persons to come and eat.
ESUS KNEW THE
plans of his enemies in Jerusalem and he did not remain long in Bethany, but took his disciples and return again to the country near the Jordan River. While there he continued to teach, and to heal the sick who were brought to him.
One Sabbath-day a Pharisee who lived in that part of the country asked Jesus to eat dinner at his house. And Jesus went with him. Other Pharisees and lawyers were present at the dinner, and, as usual, some people were there who had not been invited. These stood about in the dining-hall, looking on while the guests were eating the food set before them.
Among the onlookers was one poor man who had a disease called dropsy. No doubt he had come because he heard that Jesus would be there, and he hoped Jesus would have mercy upon him and heal him. When Jesus saw the poor man standing near by, he pitied him.
Turning to the Pharisees and lawyers, he asked, "Is it permitted in the law to heal on the Sabbath-day?"
But the men would not answer.
Then Jesus healed the poor man and sent him away; for he said, "No one of you, if your ox or ass fell into a pit, would allow it to remain there until after the Sabbath had passed, but you would pull the unfortunate beast out at once."
And they understood that he meant to teach them to be just as merciful toward the poor man whom he had healed of the dropsy.
Those present at the dinner expected to hear Jesus teach, and they were not disappointed. He had noticed how the guests chose the best places for themselves when they arrived, and he taught them a lesson on humility.
He said, "When you are invited to a wedding, do not choose for yourself the places of most honor lest a man come who is more honorable than you. Then you will be asked to give your place to him, and you will feel ashamed before all the guests. But if you choose rather to take the lowest place, then you will be called up higher, and you will receive honor from your friends."
Then Jesus turned to the Pharisee who had invited him to the house, and said, "When you prepare a feast, do not invite your friends and relatives and rich neighbors; for they will reward you in the same manner. But if you wish to receive a reward at the time when the righteous people are resurrected, then invite the poor and the crippled and the blind to your feasts; for such people can not repay you, and God will bless you for such service."
One of the guests heard the words Jesus spoke to the host, and he said, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God."
Then Jesus spoke a parable to them all about the kingdom of God. He said:
"A certain man prepared a great supper and invited many guests. When all was ready, he sent his servant to call the invited persons to come and eat. But every one began to make excuse to stay away. The first man said he had bought a piece of ground and would have to go at once to see it, and he asked to be excused from the supper. Another man said he had bought two oxen and he was going to try them out for driving, so he could not come; and another said he had gotten married, and he could not come. Everywhere the servant went the invited guests begged to be excused, and the servant returned to tell his master.
"The feast was ready and waiting, and the master was greatly disappointed to hear how his invited guests had refused to come. He became angry with them, and said they should not be allowed even to taste the supper he had prepared. Then he sent the servant out quickly to gather in the poor people from the streets, and the servant brought in the blind and the lame, and still there was room. Then the master sent the servant to the country places near by to bring in the poor people who had not been invited. And his house was filled with hungry people who enjoyed the good things he had prepared for his unfaithful friends."
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