Lame Excuses

And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he 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: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

Luke 14:15-20

We do not know who this man is that suddenly blurted out this statement during the dinner party. Perhaps he recognized that the subject of “The Kingdom of God” was an important subject and felt he needed to interject his opinion. Regardless of his motivation, we see that Jesus had a completely different concept of the Kingdom than anyone else at the dinner!

This portion of Jesus’ teaching strikes right at the heart of the Pharisees, and other unbelieving Jews, rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. This little parable shows that those who do not want to follow the Lord will find any excuse, no matter how lame, to give so that they do not have to follow.

The people in this parable knew about the dinner party. They had been invited sometime beforehand. If they didn’t want to go to the party, why didn’t they just reject the invitation? This points out that these unbelieving Jews understood that there was something special about Jesus. They could not deny that He did many great miracles so they avoided directly rejecting Him as long as they could.

Next, we see that it is time for the party. The kingdom of heaven in at hand! John the Baptist and Jesus both clearly taught the promised kingdom was now present with them. But look at how the people reacted. When it was time to enter into the kingdom, they did not want to. With “one consent” they made excuses to not partake of the kingdom joys. This shows that no matter what excuse we make, it’s a bad one. All “excuses” really point out one thing – insincerity.

The first response is completely preposterous. Who buys property and does not inspect it first. Further, the man already owns the property. He can go inspect it any time he wants. Further, the party was in the evening when it is dark outside. There is no way to view the property anyway. These types of excuses show that serving the Lord in His Kingdom is seen as an inconvenience. But, as we can see, all reasons to not serve are ridiculous.

The second person responds in a similar way but pushes the issue further. Again, who buys oxen without seeing whether they are worth it or not? And again, it is evening. And even if they are new oxen that need to be trained, that is not a quick process. This man not only wants to be left alone today, he is basically saying don’t bother me for a while.

The third person doesn’t even ask to be excused. He just flat out says that he cannot come. He had his own wedding feast to attend. This last group shows a full rejection of the need to worship God in spirit and in truth. Thinking like this says that “I’m doing OK, I don’t need the kingdom.”

Regardless of the excuse, the reasons are unreasonable!

Let us not be like the Pharisees and find excuses to not press into the kingdom. If we endeavor to serve the Lord we will find rest unto our souls. If we act like these unbelievers… well, just look at the lives of those who stayed at Jerusalem up until 70 A.D.

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