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INTRODUCTION. The parable of the great supper was told by Jesus when He was invited to eat at the house of a Pharisee on the Sabbath day. The Pharisee was one of the rulers of the synagogue, and Jesus was invited in order that He might be watched, for the Pharisees were seeking an occasion to accuse him of violating the law (Luke 14:1). He healed a man who had dropsy (Luke 14:2-6) then told the par- able of the chief seats (Luke 14:7-11). He admonished his host to entertain the poor, maimed, lame, and blind–those who are distressed, in need of help, and unable to repay the hospitality (Luke 14:12-14).
After Jesus had finished his discourse, one of the guests said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God" (Luke 14:15). The Jews believed that the kingdom of God would commence with a great festival. Jesus then spoke the parable of the great supper which is about a householder who prepared a great feast.
In New Testament times it was common for the host to plan a feast and invite the guests. At the proper time when the supper was ready, the host then sent his servants to summon the guests. The summons to dinner was to be honored as though it were a command, and to refuse the hospitality was an insult.
In this parable the invited guests refused the summons of the servants by offering various excuses. As a result the host sent his servants into the city streets to bring in the poor, maimed, blind, and lame. When there was still room at the feast, he sent his servants to the country to bring in more guests.
The general meaning of the parable is clear. God sent his servants forth offering the blessings of the kingdom. Those who refuse the invitation and reject Jesus will be excluded from the kingdom. Those who hear the message and receive it will be par- takers of the kingdom and in communion with Jesus Christ.
Specifically, the parable teaches that the Jews who were God's chosen people received the original invitation to the kingdom. When they refused the blessings offered by God and rejected his Son, the invitation or gospel was then extended to the Gentiles and others who were more worthy to receive the blessings of the kingdom.