What makes the kingdom of God so valuable? Why is it worth giving up all things on earth? The parable of the great banquet illustrates the splendor of God’s kingdom and the importance of accepting the invitation to be in his presence.
15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
The kingdom of God is essentially THE PRESENCE OF GOD. His presence has the power of redemption and restoration, and we experience this by seeking Jesus. The invitation to his banquet, his kingdom, his presence comes everyday, every moment. But after all that has been done for us, and even when presented with the invitation to be near to Jesus, we still refuse it and continue to choose living for ourselves.
This parable is significant at both the macro and micro levels. It has to do with our choice to ultimately follow Jesus and dedicate our lives to him or not, as well as with the choice of being present and attentive to his presence in our day to day lives. What are we choosing to do? How are we representing God to others? The way we behave shows others how we view the kingdom of God.
When we truly recognize and believe the value of the kingdom of God — being in the presence of God — then it becomes unfathomable to deny this invitation. We must in faith say YES, and when we do, and when we draw near to God and seek him, we are promised that we will find him and experience the joy, the power, and the astonishing goodness of his presence. There is no greater treasure.
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QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- What does this parable teach us about the character of God? About his kingdom?
- What excuses are you making to stay home from the banquet of God?
- Do you feel you are representing God well? What do you think people around you believe is most important to you?