The Great Supper

Luke 14

Our Lord had entered into the house of one of the chief Pharisees on the Sabbath day to eat bread. We read, “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 bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Hearing these things, one that sat at meat with Him said unto Him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said He unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many.”

The supper is the celebration of the grace of God that reigns through righteousness. Whether God acts in grace or in judgment He must act righteously. He would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, but how can righteousness be maintained and the sinner saved? How is God to be a just God and a Saviour? The cross of Christ is the sole answer to that. There God executed righteousness. There sin came under His unsparing judgment. There He showed how He hates sin. It was before Him at the cross. He dealt with it as it deserved. There was no pity shown to it. Not an element of compassion was mingled with the blackness and darkness of that terrible hour, when from the midst of that mysterious scene was heard the bitter cry: “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?” At that Cross God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Judgment has been executed, righteousness has been accomplished, God has been glorified, and He who submitted to that judgment has been glorified by God, and now God can take the place of A JUST GOD AND A SAVIOUR.

All this has been accomplished through the Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus, the Man of God’s counsels, who gave Himself for our sins, who took the place of the sin-bearer, that God might show in the judgment that fell upon Him how loathsome sin was in His sight, and how fearful the judgment that He should mete out to it. But first of all, He, the Son eternal, the Creator of the universe, passed through this world making the Father known in His true character, and bearing all the indignity that those who hated God could subject Him to. He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; He hid not His face from shame and spitting, and was led to the cross as a lamb to the slaughter.

The work has been done, and God is glorified by it, Satan is defeated. The love of God has been fully declared. It is now seen that God loved a world that hated Him. Christ is on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. Sin no longer stands as a barrier between God and the blessing of the sinner, grace has found a righteous channel through which it can flow to the ends of the earth. Is not this a matter for rejoicing? But who are to rejoice in it? Who are the gainers? We know who it was who suffered to bring glory to God and blessing to men. Then let the work be celebrated. God calls us together to rejoice with Him. Should our hearts not be glad? Should we not shout aloud for joy? Let us come to this great supper. The God of all grace is now free, and not only free, but gloriously ready and willing to bless needy sinners. God desires all men to come, and with hearts responsive to the grace that calls them, partake of the rich provision He has secured for them at the infinite cost of the suffering and death of His only begotten Son. God is now, through the work that Christ has accomplished, as just in showing grace to the sinner, as without that work He would have been just in His exercise of judgment. He would have all men to be saved, and the ransom of the Mediator having opened a way of salvation for all, He freely invites all to joyfully partake with Him in His celebration of the glorious accomplishment of the work of redemption.

To the religious leaders of the Jewish nation He first sent His hearty invitation: “Come; for all things are now ready.” But every one of them had something else to attend to. They coolly refused to pay the slightest respect to the glorious work that has opened a way of salvation for a race of fallen sinners. No wonder the Master of the house was angry when the servant reported to Him their disrespect of His gracious message. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” Escape is impossible for us, “If we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven” (Heb. 2:3; 12:25).

Nothing but a sense of the need of our immortal souls will cause any mortal man to embrace God’s way of salvation, and enter into the joy that God has in our deliverance. Therefore He sends the second time His servant, not to the proud, religious leaders of Jews, but to the needy. In this message sent by the Master we can feel that the Spirit is feeling the insult offered to Him by the bidden ones. He says: “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.” It is now—“Bring them in.” The servant was to take no refusal. Indeed needy souls do not refuse the grace of God. Those that feel no need are ever full of the spirit of refusal. “The full soul loatheth a honeycomb, but to the hungry every bitter thing is sweet. The servant has now only to say: “Lord, it is done as Thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.” Now the needy are to be found where they wander on the highways, or where they shelter under the hedges. These are to be compelled to come in, in order that the house may be filled; for those who were bidden, not one of them are to taste of the supper prepared by the Master. They could do without Him, and therefore He shall do without them. Those found upon the highways, or under the hedges, represent the far off Gentiles, and they are brought in last of all.