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One day they let him down farther and farther than ever before, until all the rope at their command was exhausted. When his day’s work was done, he would give the signal, and they would draw him up. But on this night, when they took hold of the rope to lift him, they could not do so. They tugged and pulled and strained, but they could not manage it, and he had to wait until they got additional men to pull him up, and the scientist says that the reason they could not lift him was that they had failed to take into consideration the length and weight of the rope. I know why a man of fifty years of age has a hard time to surrender. The reason is that he must always lift against his past refusals. You say, “No,” and your heart is hardened; you say, “No,” and your will becomes stub born, and if you are finally lost, the responsibility is not with God. —J. Wilbur Chapman. A Great Supper L u k e 14:l'5-24 MEMORY VERSE: “Be courteous” (1 Pet. 3:8). APPROACH: A parable is a story with both inside and outside mean ings. The Lord Jesus told a parable about a man who invited many to a great, supper, and at supper time sent his servant saying, “ Come; for all things are now ready.” But the invited guests excused themselves. The master of the
In the kingdom of God.” I cannot feel, with some commentators, that this man was one of our Lord’s carping enemies striving to catch Him. He sounds like an honest soul who longed for the resurrection and the kingdom. 2. “A certain ,man made a great sup per” (v. 16). Historically, here we have the first occurrence of the provision of God being presented by Christ under the imagery of a “feast.” 3. “ Come; for all things are now ready” (v. 17). Whether God offer» to men a perfect kingdom on earth or a heavenly salvation for the soul, i t .is never something half fitiished. When God issues His call, all things are ready. The preparation of the feast is God’s work, not ours. It is Our business to sit down and eat, which in spiritual lan guage means simply to appropriate what God gives. Perhaps the hardest thing for sinners to do is to believe that “all things are now ready." It is so “hu man” for men to think that they must help God to get things ready, to seek to add something to what God has done in Christ at Calvary. And even the thought of such a thing is sin. The work is done, thank God. 4. “ They all with one consent began to make .excuse” (v. 18). One had bought a piece of ground and wanted to see it. Another had bought some oxen and wanted to, prove them. Still another had married a wife and felt he could not come. Now the significance of these excuses can be séen only in the light of Jewish law. When war came, if a man had built a house which he had not lived in, or if he had planted a vine yard from which he had not eaten, or if he had betrothed a wife with whom he had not lived, he could plead for exemp tion from military service and the law would allow it (Deut. 20:5-7). Thus we see that the excuse-makers were actu ally putting God’s feast of grace in the samé category as military service, a hard and disagreeable task instead of a blessed privilege. What an insult to God’s free grace! It is little wonder that the Lord of the feast declares that “None of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper” (v. 24). While this was spoken primarily regarding that.generation of Israel which rejected the offered kingdom in our Lord’s' day, it is no less true that those who treat salvation by grace with contempt shall not taste the feast of God. Yet it is free to all who will come and will eat. Golden Text Illustration L u k e i4 :1 7 A famous scientist tells of how, in the course of his expérimenta in the moun tains, he used to be lowered over a precipice. He would step into the bas ket, and the men would lower him for his work; but whenever they lowered him,- théy would always test his weight to see whether they could lift him again.
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