Luke: Chapter 14 - Suppers Ready

Bible Study @ Hurst Gospel Hall

Author: John Whitmarsh
Added: 2015-05-26

CHAPTER 14

 

SUPPERS READY

 

 

General

 

Chapter 13 has shown the Lord Jesus in the synagogue and performing an act of grace and kindness on the Sabbath day. The Sabbath is still very much in mind in this chapter but here He was at the house of one of the chief Pharisees. While we think of the house we must ever remember that Luke speaks of houses and what went on in houses far more (57 times includes phrases like house of Israel) than any of the other gospel writers (Matthew is next at 35 times).

 

The issue is exactly the same as that found in chapter thirteen, namely that there was someone in need and, despite the day, the Saviour met that need. The question of what and what not to do on the Sabbath remained from the time of the events in chapter 13 through to those of chapter 14. It is also interesting to note that the Saviour uses the illustration of their ox or ass as He did in chapter 13 with an emphasis not on caring for the beast in respect of its watering needs but of helping the beast should it fall into trouble. This man was in trouble and it was true that apart from the intervention of the Saviour he would still have been in trouble the next day but their paths may never have crossed again. The Saviour helped him that very day.

 

This invitation to a Pharisees house has happened before in Lukes account in both chapters 7 and 11. In chapter 7 it was to eat there there is no mention of the day of the week given. The same is true in chapter 11 and here the Saviour went to eat bread on the Sabbath day. Eating bread must have been OK as far as the Pharisees were concerned else there would have been no invite but what is remarkable is that there should be an invite at all. Surely the way by which they were reprimanded by the Lord Jesus would have put other Pharisees off the idea of entertaining the Lord Jesus and yet it took place. Indeed this whole chapter contains a number of references to eating

 

1to eat bread
8wedding (marriage feast)
12dinner; supper
13feast
15meat; eat bread
16great supper
17supper time
24supper

 

The last section of this chapter, commencing at verse 25, deals with the subject of discipleship (the word disciple is used three times in these few verses and only once else in the gospel account in chapter 6) and the matter of counting the cost before following the Lord Jesus. If chapter 12 was about being beware then chapter 14 is about being prepared.

 

Verses 1-14 Humility

 

14 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? 6 And they could not answer him again to these things. 7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them. 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

 

Verses 1-6 What the Saviour did to challenge legalism - HYPOCRISY

 

It is remarkable that the Lord Jesus should be found once again (see notes in the introduction to this chapter) in a Pharisees house and that on a sabbath. The purpose for His visit was clear. He went to eat bread. How wonderful to think of the Saviour in the home. The speaker recalled a time where he was brought up when to eat a meal meant to see the words

 

Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest in every room, the silent listener to every conversation.

 

The words may not have been completely accurate but they were a reminder of His presence, though unseen. As with chapter 13 in the synagogue so here in the house there was a person in need. This person was male whereas it was a woman who was doubled over in chapter 13. There is a similarity, however, in that the disease the woman suffered in chapter 13 is only ever mentioned there in scripture and that is true of the disease that this man suffered. But what was it? This man had the dropsy which does not mean that he kept dropping things, that he was clumsy, but he had hudropikos, (a man afflicted with hudrops or dropsy). Both forms of this disease occur in Palestine, that in which the limbs and body are distended with water called anasarca, depending generally on cardiac or renal disease, and the form confined to the abdomen, usually the result of liver infection. The latter is the commoner, as liver disease is a frequent result of recurrent attacks of malarial fever. It is sometimes known as edema and results in swelling of the limbs. The man was evidently able to move about, as he had entered into the Pharisee's house, but, no doubt, not very well. Perhaps he had made this effort to come to see the Lord Jesus. We think it a wonderful thing in this our day that people make the effort to come to hear about the Lord Jesus.

We are not told the mans name. It is unimportant. We know that he existed by the use of the word certain (see note on Luke 10.37) but Dr. Luke, the one who would have had to pay attention to detail, leaves out details here. It is enough for him to tell us that the man existed. He does not even tell us much about the mans complaint apart from identifying it. The healing, per se, is not the important thing here. A question is asked of the lawyers and Pharisees, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? Surely these men were qualified to give an answer to the question that was posed. The Lord Jesus asked lawyers so they should have known the law (by this is meant the Mosaic law) but there is no answer proffered. No doubt they looked quizzically at the situation. Perhaps they had heard what the Saviour had said to the ruler of the synagogue as recorded in the previous chapter. The language there was severe in this respect that He called the ruler a hypocrite. Then He went on to upbraid those people whose adherence to what they thought was the law meant that they despised an act of kindness that in no way broke the law that God gave. Perhaps it was that they did not want hear such words spoken against them and so they remained silent so that the Lord Jesus was able to speak without any interruption. He pointed out in an answer (though no question was uttered according to the record of events) that were they to discover their animal in a pit on a sabbath day they would not think twice about fetching it out before it died. The implication is this is the animals life of more value than a humans? Why should this man suffer one more day? He has suffered long enough. Why not leave the animal in the pit for a day? Leave it to Sunday and then we will pull it out. Perhaps it was that the loss of the animal was a financial loss and that could never take place. It was total nonsense. The Saviour put this point in the form of a question and they could not answer Him any more on these things. They did not want to question Him and they could not give an answer. From now on, the one gospel writer who uses the term sabbath more than the others does not use it until the end of chapter 23 when the Saviour was on the cross and all His healing was done.

 

Verses 7-11 What to do when invited somewhere - HUMILITY

 

The words in the first section were directed to the lawyers and Pharisees and not the man who had invited Him. The second section contains words directed to those who had been bidden to the house. He observed how that they marked out the chief rooms. They wanted the top spot. They wanted to sit at the top table as we would say in our age. The Lord Jesus said that when they were invited to a wedding they were to take the low place. It would be sad to take a higher place and then for the host to come to tell the person that this was anothers place and that the person had to go down lower. We do not have such a thing at most weddings that we attend. The tables are marked and we know exactly where we are sitting so this parable had some meaning to the society of that day that has been lost with the passage of time and in this part of the world. We cannot view scripture as though everything recorded there is as it would be in England, at our events and at this time of mans history.

 

There are, however, big principles here. Everything here is in relation to he that bade thee, in relation to the one who did the inviting. How wonderful it is when we are so humble not to assume the highest place in anything. How God detests pride. These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6.16-19 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. Proverbs 29.23. How great it is when the soul can say in all humility, Ill take the lowest place. There may be someone who is deserving of the higher place. Such a person may have status as far as this world is concerned but puts himself in the position of being asked to come higher. Such a person is not desirous of taking a position in this world as something that has to be grasped at all costs but is very conscious that the position that has been given to them is a blessing and not something that is to be demanded.

 

Were we take the parable as the one that bade representing God (that is to spiritualise it) then the soul that says, I am conscious of being a sinner and deserve no place by his or her humility, selflessness, puts themselves in a position whereby God can call them to Himself and give them a place. God gives everyone an opportunity. He bids all to come but sadly there are those who come full of pride thinking that they deserve Gods favour and He cannot receive them. There are some who, in effect, knock on heavens door and demand an entrance. Will God give such a place? No, a thousand times, no. To come in humility recognizing that we are cast upon Gods goodness and grace having no merit in ourselves means to be received and given a place.

 

For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Philippians 2 says this of the Lord Jesus, And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. What applies to those who as yet know not the Lord Jesus applies to those who do. Our humbling will never be as great as that shown by the Lord Jesus. He could climb no higher in the universe, He was far above mankind, and yet He was not brought down but He made Himself of no reputation and He humbled Himself. On account of this God has highly exalted Him as a man in heaven with a name that is the most important throughout the universe. Humility is a state of mind according to Philippians 2 and it is something that we should all foster. Dear Christian, are we thinking aright? It is not a set of rules to follow. It is not a legalistic thing to have a check list against which ticks are made. It is an attitude of the mind that makes the lack of selfishness not some rule to obey but a condition that is enjoyed. Christians must have a right mental approach to Christianity. If humility becomes an issue that is forced then it is no longer humility. It has to be the natural and enjoyed product of a right attitude and mind. It must be the delight of each heart that truly wants to follow after the Lord Jesus.

 

Verses 12-14 What to do when inviting someone to your home - HOSPITALITY

 

The last section contains words that are directed to the man of the house. The Lord Jesus has seen all the FTIs (far too importants) arriving at his house. Speaking to the man He showed him a better way. When inviting (the KJV uses the terms dinner and supper here) dont invite friends, brothers, family or rich neighbours as there is the chance that you will receive an invite to their place by way of recompence. The man was told to invite (the KJV uses the term feast here) the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. It is good to open your home but to do so to those who are near and dear to you or to those whose company you enjoy or, God forbid, to rich neighbours by way of social climbing is not good. Open it to those who cannot recompense. How do we get the principles of salvation from this section? The simple answer is that we dont. This section has nothing with the principles of salvation but of reward for faithful service to those who have believed and are saved for the subject matter is clear, for thou shalt have recompense (reward) at the resurrection of the just. This is the first time that Luke has mentioned resurrection of people other than the Lord Jesus (see Luke 9.22). It should be noted that there is no such thing in scripture as a general or common resurrection. The scriptures speak of the resurrection of the just (the first resurrection the resurrection of life) and the resurrection of the unjust (or of damnation (see John 5.29); see also Acts 24.15 where the resurrection of just and unjust appear to be linked in a resurrection of the dead).

 

This is very interesting for the Lord Jesus said these words to this man who was a chief Pharisee according to the description in verse 1. Was this man saved? According to the words of the Saviour he was to be recompensed at the resurrection of the just so presumably he was counted among the number of the just. This is a word to a believer. Dear Christian - many of us have homes. They are lent to us of the Lord. Strictly speaking a Christians home is not his or her castle. It is true that we should feel secure there but our ease should be used for the benefit of others who are less at ease. Our homes are one of the most if not the most powerful evangelical tools at our disposal. There are plenty of people, believer and unbeliever, associated with this place who are not in a position at this present time in their lives to be able to return the favour and may never be able to do so all the time that they live in the same area as us. A young person who has not left home comes into that category. A student comes into that category for they are transient. Older people come into that category for they do not have the energy or, in some case, the eyesight to be able to entertain. We must not give expecting to receive again for it is always more blessed to give than receive. Our homes can be tremendous influences for good if only we will live by the principle laid down in these few verses.

 

Verses 15-24Excuses, excuses

15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. 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 hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

23 And the lord said unto 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 unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

 

Arising from the invitation to eat bread at the Pharisees house there was one man who wanted to pursue spiritual conversation based on the topics that had been raised already at the meal. The Lord Jesus has already said that the ones to get the blessing were those who invited others who were unable to recompense. The man picks up on this idea of blessing and insists that there is a blessing to the one eating bread in the kingdom of God. No doubt he assumed that he would be such a one. No doubt he felt sure that he was invited but the Saviour showed that it was not so much the invitation that was important but the acceptance of the invitation. In this particular parable the Saviour had in mind the Pharisees and chief priests and elders as the many who had been invited but who were those who should have known to accept rather than reject. There is, however, a general principle in that it is the one who made the supper who invited. We do not invite ourselves. We cannot gatecrash our way into heaven. As portrayed in this parable, and no doubt there is kingdom truth here, the invitation had gone out to a group of people who put other things ahead of the things that belonged to the man who had made the great supper. There is nothing wrong in buying land until it displaces the things that belong to Christ in my life. There is nothing wrong with buying animals or implements in the current age that can work the land until these things take the place of Christ. There is nothing wrong in marrying a wife but if she takes the place of the lord Jesus then everything is wrong. Many have used excuses (for it is not a reason; there is a wealth of difference between a reason and an excuse) for not coming to Christ when bidden. Further to the ones given here there are a host of others.

 

Strict interpretation would make us think of the Pharisees and the like but we take this opportunity to widen the scope of the truths presented here. That there is a group of people who have been referred to in the first section as the just is undeniable but each has the opportunity to be part of that group. Each person has been invited to the great supper. The parable shows how that the fault does not lay with the one who invites but with the invited. Grace has supplied abundantly. Where sin abounded grace did much more abound. The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men but grace can be rejected. It will never be forced upon any else it ceases to be grace. These invited guests would not come. It was not that they could not come for all things were ready and prepared (the work of grace has been done at the cross) but they refused to come. It was not that they overlooked the invite or neglected it. There was a definite refusal to accept. That is true not only of the ones who should have known better but of all who refuse Gods claims upon their lives.

 

Taking this thought further there is a message for believers as things that are not evil in themselves may cause us great harm spiritually. Once love for anything tangible replaces affection for the Saviour and displaces Him we are on dangerous ground. These things in themselves can do us no harm but when they become the be all and end all so that Christ no longer has my hearts affection and minds attention then I have started on a slippery slope that may well end, if uncorrected, in my spiritual demise.

 

In verse 21 to the end of the parable there is no further mention of an invitation until the very last phrase. It is for this reason that the interpretation is somewhat different from the above application. The poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind are told to be brought in. there is no mention of an invite now but an instruction given to the servant by the master to bring in. This is done. Such, no doubt, had no means or power to purchase land. They were grateful for a place at the feast. They were not going to reject this offer.

 

We must note that Luke has three groups of people for the last group occupied the highways and hedges rather than the streets and lanes of the city. These were compelled to come in. No doubt this group pictures to the Gentiles as God moves away from the privileged Jews to the poor amongst them and finally to those outside the confines of the city. It should be noted that in the analogous passage in Matthew (see below), among many other differences (highlighted), there are only two groups (Jews and Gentiles).

 

22 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

The message for our day is that we are not to make excuses either as unbelievers to justify our lack of interest in going to heaven or as believers to explain our lack of interest in the one who is taking us there.

 

Verses 25-35 Counting the cost

 

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

We read from another translation:

25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,

26 "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,

30 saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'

31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

34 Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?

35 It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Summary

 

The Lord Jesus had achieved celebrity status hence the great crowds going along with Him (v25), however, going along with Him is not sufficient. Any disciples had to be prepared to put Him before close family (v26) and even their own lives (v 26-27). If you are going to build a defensive tower it makes sense to check that there is enough money to complete the project (v 28-30). If a king comes against a group of people it is wise to consider that the forces available are strong enough to take on the opposition (v31-32). Before becoming a disciple it is important to count the cost. Before any commitment it is important to count the cost. A disciple must be prepared to give up everything (v33). Salt that has lost its ability to flavour is useless - so a disciple whose commitment is lacking is also useless (v34-35). If you have ears listen and take heed! (v35)

 

Exposition

 

v26 The commandments Honour your father and your mother and Husbands love your wives are part of our Christian duty hence the hate in this passage cannot be an absolute hate. The point is that disciples must be prepared to put their service for the Lord Jesus before close family ties. The disciple must also be prepared to die to his own wants and desires and put the Lord Jesus first.

 

v27 To bear his own cross is to be subject to the death penalty. It must not be trivialised to meaning something like enduring difficult circumstances, however, it is probably not intended literally but means that a disciple must die to his own wants and desires, to mortify the flesh, to be prepared to completely give up his life for the Lord.

 

v28-30 If you are going to build a defensive tower you check that you have enough money to complete the project otherwise you lay yourself open to ridicule. A tower can be for defending a town, a house or crops. The latter is more likely in this context. Farmers are more likely in the audience than kings or very wealthy people.

 

v31-32 If you are a king you check that your forces are strong enough to take on the opposition. If they are not you start negotiating the terms of peace while there is still plenty of time.

 

v33 A disciple must be prepared to give up everything to follow Jesus.

 

v 34-35 In biblical times salt was not as pure as the cooking salt that we buy these days. If stored in damp conditions most of the salt could wash away leaving just the less soluble impurities - it was no good for flavouring. It was also no use for putting on the fields or on the manure heap because there was some salt left in it.

 

Salt can also be used to preserve foods. Salting is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Elsewhere we read that those who follow Christ are the salt of the earth. We are to act as preserving agents in this world. We are to be witnesses in this world to Gods mercy, grace and love. It is, sadly, possible for believers to lose their effectiveness as witnesses of the Lord Jesus. Unconfessed sin will do this but so will the constant dripping of contact with and being influenced by the world. The witness becomes powerless, the preservation becomes non-existent. This is the analogous principle with that seen in John 15. there the subject is the vine with its branches. Verse 6 of that particular chapter causes many people distress. We must remember that the context is fruit bearing and not salvation. The verse should be divided into two the first part is what God does to a non fruit bearing branch. The second part is what men do to non fruit bearing branches such is the severity of the condition. So seriously do men regard barrenness that they burn such branches. A person who continually puts his or herself into the position of non-fruit bearing by not abiding in the Saviour as the Vine; a person who continues to contaminate his or herself with the world by putting themselves into positions of compromise with the world ceases to be in the Vine of testimony. We all in measure get contaminated by the world but there is a danger in pursuing the world and its ambitions and aims such that we put ourselves in a position of ineffectiveness for God. God does not burn such branches (that is eternal salvation is not affected) but were the subject to be an actual plant then what men would do would be to burn the useless branches. The same principle is seen in Luke 14. Salt that has lost its effectiveness is fit for nothing and men cast it out (verse 35).