“Those who come to this supper will be satisfied!” Trinity 2 2024

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09. June 2024
Trinity 2
Luke 14:16-24

A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. 

In the holy Name of + Jesus. Amen.

God the Father has brought you to a great supper, the gracious preaching of the Gospel, in which He serves you His beloved Son as your food. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). In this gift, Jesus gives you His righteousness, grace, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. But alongside this exquisite food, He provides the greens and bitter herbs of the cross, suffering, distress, and sorrow. And this is good for us, as sour and bitter whet the appetite, so cross and suffering give us to long for heaven and thirst for God. 

God Himself is the host, and the food is the divine Word, Christ Himself. Because this is Gottesdienst, after all, God serves us. By Jesus’ death and resurrection, He redeemed us from the devil, death, sin, and hell and removed God’s wrath and a guilty conscience. These blessings He gives you through teaching and preaching, Baptism, Absolution, and His Supper. What a gift! 

Thus, the invitation goes out, first to Adam. God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her Seed. He shall crush your head, and you shall pierce His heel” (Gen 3:15). And the invite rings out again to Abraham when He said to Him, “I will be your God, and in your seed will all the nations be blessed” (Gen 17:6-8; 22:18). And God kept sending prophets to the people to remind them of other invitation. 

No one should be surprised. When you hold any formal meal or party, you send out the invitations months or years ahead. “Save the date!” cards come in the mail. There’s no excuse for being absent. There’s plenty of time to prepare. Since God has planned the most delicious meal of all, it was appropriate to invite His guests long in advance. Who would not want forgiveness, life, and salvation? God has been preparing you and even making you anxious for the hour of the supper. “Come, for all things are now ready!” Welcome to the wedding hall!

With that in mind, the excuses are idiotic and asinine but boring. Is it wrong to buy fields and animals or take a wife? These are the necessities of life, to which you have six days to work. Everyone has these excuses, which also means no one does. Jesus is not here condemning farming, buying or selling, or marriage, but the great misuse of Creation and despising of God. Fields, oxen, and wives are gifts of God. God has ordained every person to work on earth and attend to his calling. But only that you in these vocations also exercise faith toward God, love toward neighbor, and lead a blameless life until God brings you at last into the great Supper of the Lamb. 

As discussed in this morning’s Bible Study, this Gospel reproves three chief vices, especially pride, greed, and unchastity, in which the world is immersed. These are the vices that are the corruption of God’s gifts of work, property, and family. As John says, “All that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). And these vices frequently lead men away from God and His Word and bring them to eternal destruction. 

When there is pride, there is an excess of everything: food, drink, clothing, etc. Nothing must be lacking. If something is not within reach, it must be borrowed or rented to feed arrogance. Selfish pleasure and despising of neighbors follow. There is no limit to the lengths one will go to show off. It’s all about keeping up with the Joneses! If such people are shown their pride, they get angry and may retaliate with violence or nurture hatred.

When there is greed, there is a lack of all things. Despair sets in. There is never enough. No food or drink ever satisfies, and no company of men gives enjoyment. As we heard last week, poor Lazarus must starve to death. There is neither help nor consolation among such greedy men. Even if they could help a poor, wretched man with a ten or 20-dollar bill, a bit of bread, or a drop of water, they do not do it. (Luke 16).

When there is unchastity, there is both excess and lack: an excess of all sins, faults, and vices… and a lack of all virtue, chastity, and decency. It leads to a bold, wild, and desolate life, with no fear of God and no shame before men, and the person becomes like a beast, heedless of both God and men. Those who are immersed in pride, greed, and unchastity and now despise the consolation of the Holy Gospel will eventually receive no consolation ever again if they end up suffering hunger and thirst like the rich man.

We are so devoted to the things below—land, animals, family— that we forget to attend to God, His Word, and His gifts. Jesus invites us to hear preaching and feast on His body and blood. But the farmer says, “We have to work, plow, and so the field. The cows don’t milk themselves. We cannot attend Divine Service.” The one in sales says, “I have to travel this weekend on business. I cannot hear the preaching.” The family man says, “We need some family time. There’s work to be done at home, or my children have practice or a game. I can’t be to church much this summer.” 

They are all alike, saying, “I don’t need what Jesus gives. Let those who get something out of it go. I’ll be back when I can. For now, I’d rather stay here on earth and in creaturely happiness and recreation rather than dwell with saints, angels, and the heavenly host.” Or maybe it’s worse? “Pastor, if I got as much profit and gain out of the preaching of the Gospel as I get out of my own business, I would attend. But I don’t, so I won’t bother with it and will risk it.” If you put it that way, is it not openly blaspheming God, despising Christ, and trampling His Word underfoot? Does it not make you no different than the chief priests, Pharisees, and scribes who despised this blessed Supper, Christ’s coming, and the preaching of the Gospel?

We see what has happened and will happen to those invited who spurn God’s invitation. They’re left alone to their unbelief. Then God calls the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. These are His disciples, the tax collectors, and sinners whom no one counted worthy of God’s kingdom. But Jesus will again say, “The tax collectors and prostitutes will come into the kingdom of heaven before you” (Mt 21:31). And “the last shall be first and the first last” (Mt 20:16). 

God calls the Gentiles to fill His house, even into the highways and hedges. And that’s terrific news! Even as the walls of propriety, the rule of law, and common sense virtues crumble around us, God invites to His feast those who live in the open world of idolatry, sin, and vice. He even brings in those who know nothing of Christian morality, liturgy, or prayer because He must have guests at His feast! Those who come to this supper will be satisfied: here in time with divine grace, and hereafter with eternal glory and blessedness. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guards your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.

Rev. Christopher R. Gillespie
St. John Ev. Lutheran Church & School – Sherman Center
Random Lake, Wisconsin