Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Free Meal

Opening question: Who likes to eat? Who likes free stuff? Who would like a free meal?

I would!

Context: Jesus was dining with a religious leader and his guests on the sabbath day. This parable comes talk about the Kingdom of God.

What we will read had a lot of meaning in its day, talking about the establishing of the church, but has meaning for us today.

The passage we will use today is Luke 14:16-24.

V. 16-17
What strings were attached to the invitation?
[No Strings are attached. The man is making a large feast, he has many servants, he has money. In the middle east, hospitality is sacred, and making a guest pay anything is an insult.]
In your opinion, did the guests remember the invite?
[Not mentioned, but we can assume not]
What excuses do we have?
[Evaluate the quality of purchases after the deed, or just "play" with our new toy. Another one is putting a relationship first.]
How sound were those excuses?
[There is no urgency in testing a purchase you already have. Your wife can join you at the banquet. Those answers were really dismissals]
Did you ever make up excuses to to avoid doing something you didn't want, or to do something you wanted before?
[Sharing: told was sick to play on the computer instead of skiing with the family.]
Why would someone choose to spend the evening with 10 stinky ox, instead of having fun at a party? What sense of priorities does this show?
Who would you invite to a party?
[Normally, I would invite the people closest to me, those who are the most interested in me.]
What is the spiritual parallel for us today?
[God is sending an invitation to those who are the "closest". We are in a traditionally christian environment, and God keeps on inviting us towards him. If we look around us, we are seeing a lot of invited people turning down the invitation.]
[I can tell you, I've seen many people interested in God who have been "too busy" to really study the Bible and live a spiritual life. I can tell you that it is possible, though. I personally am finishing a degree in Engineering and I am there with you today.]
How does God deal with the rejection?
V. 21-24
Who are the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame?
[those are the "rejects" of the time. Unable to work, often begging for survival.]
What do we learn from God in this?
[god is offering the free meal to those who are in the greatest need, who are starving. Salvation is offered to those who are thirsty for God]
What about verse 23?
[God wants to save as much as possible. He wants to fill heavens with the willing]
The last verse make it clear, though: There is no room for the unwilling.
Thus, there is a choice. Through me, today, God has invited you for this free meal.
This free meal is the Kingdom of Heaven, a relationship with God, the eternal life after this one, and a fulfilled one in your living.
What is your choice? Will you put priority on studies, on relationships, on material things? Or will you put a higher priority on God?

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