Note: This post is part of a series about building a personal relationship with God by reading the parables of Jesus. You can browse the entire series here.
When you think of a feast, what do you think of?
Most of us probably think of fun, friends, and good times. These feelings of joy, connection, and fullness are what God is inviting us to access in his Kingdom, rather than rules and restrictions that so many of us often associate with religion.
When we aren’t honest about our desires, motives, and values, we will make excuses and miss out on the opportunity to respond to God’s call.
Check out this podcast about the Parable of the Great Feast as we discuss this opportunity and how exciting God’s invitation is to be part of his Kingdom.
Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”  Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.  When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’
 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’  Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’  Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’  “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’
 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’  So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.  For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”
Luke 14:15-24 NLT
Russ Ewell 0:11
Welcome to Deep Spirituality, we’ve got a good one for you today, the parable of the wedding banquet or, as a new living says, the parables of the great feast. Today we have Martin Oji he’s with us. He has constructed and written a studies for us and the parable, the wedding banquet, and he’s joined with by Brian, Anita, you may have heard us on a previous podcast, and we’re gonna get started in Luke 1415. Hearing this a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaim, what a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the kingdom of God. Jesus replied with this story, a man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the bank was ready, he sent a certain to tell the guests come, the banquet is ready. But they all began making excuses. Once that I just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me. Another said, I’ve just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me. Another said, I just got married, so I can’t come. The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. After the servant had done this, he reported, there’s still room for more. So as Matthew said, go out into the country lanes, bind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come so that the house will be full. But none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet, the parable of the wedding banquet, the parable of the great feast, when opportunity calls is the devotional title, Martin knoji. Tell us what we can get out of this great parable by Jesus
Martin Oji 2:04
in I got a number of things from this parable. But you know, one of the first things that stood out to me is when it comes to God and spirituality, people can oftentimes think it’s boring. When I think of a feast. I think I’ve I think have a phenomenal time. Yes, I think have a great time. I think I don’t want to stop feasting. And like, God actually invites us invites everyone and wants us to actually have a great time getting to know him and having a great time. With everyone else that is at his feast. Uh huh. So it’s a lot different than what I thought about growing up because I thought religion was. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Don’t do this. And that just didn’t inspire me as a younger person.
Russ Ewell 2:49
Yeah, yeah. Well, what do they serve? What do they serve at the feast? That’s what I want to know. You got me into the feasts? What’s the
Martin Oji 2:55
oxtail? Good. oxtail, got all kinds of international food.
Russ Ewell 3:02
Okay, you lost me with the oxtail. I’m gone. Now. I’m in the kingdom of God. One of the things that’s exciting. That I think is is is that that that served up is, is great relationships. I think another thing that served up is hope in pessimistic times, and we’re living in pessimistic times. Maybe we can call that oxtail. Whatever this is, third up is forgiveness. I think the kingdom of God that there’s forgiveness, and that’s God’s Kingdom is based on that a lot. Hope, and we’re living in some non hopeful times. And so it seems to me that God is or Jesus is drawing the I think this what you’re saying, Jesus is drawing the analogy that you have greatly underestimated what God’s Kingdom is about. Because the Jews, they were following a bunch of rules, sacrifices, you know, I won’t get into all of it. Because a lot of our listeners are not going to be like into wanting to get into the deep theology of all the sacrifices of Leviticus and Numbers. But I think he’s saying that that’s not what the goal was. The goal was never to build a nation that’s going to fight. The goal was never to build a nation that’s going to have all these rules. The goal was to build a kingdom of forgiveness, a kingdom of love, a kingdom of hope, a kingdom of encouragement, a kingdom of internal strength that comes from God, a kingdom of inspiration, a kingdom of light that makes the world a better place. And they say, well, he invited all these people in Why do you think they made excuses? Because if this is what God is offering, you’re talking about a grand feast? Why would people make excuses and say, I got other stuff I got to do.
Martin Oji 4:37
You know, I believe entitlement is a big deal. And the more entitled we are, we end up thinking that God is trying to take away things from us, because we have our own agenda, our own thoughts, our own plan, so we think we know what’s best. And then we put us out what God actually wants. And I also think, a danger thing that can go with entitlement is fear. When I’m when I combined fear and entitlement, I just completely miss out on what God is actually trying to do. Because I get so consumed with me my fears and what I want to get done. Well, I believe that’s why they made all these excuses
Russ Ewell 5:14
when I’m looking at the text. It’s, you know, it says they were invited, of course, but it says they all began making excuses. And so I’d like to drill down on that a little bit, because it seems like excuses are the fundamental basis of the story. The Making of excuses. And I understand you’re talking about the motive for the excuses, is, I’ve got my own plans. But why do you think Jesus makes such a big deal out of excuses? What What’s he? What’s he going for there?
Martin Oji 5:50
You know, I think when Jesus emphasizes excuses, I think it gives, it kind of pulls everybody in, because everybody gets invited. But everybody has a reason. You know, in the parable, one says, I just got married, once I just bought a just box in jail. Yeah. And if you think about it, none of these excuses, actually, you can get married and still come to a feast. Yeah. You can buy it. Typically, before you buy something. You check it out first. Yeah. Before buying it. So
Russ Ewell 6:30
unless you have Amazon. Oh, yeah, they didn’t have Amazon back then. No, Amazon, Amazon, though. You check. You check the comments, right. So you do check it out before you buy it? Yeah, you check comments. And if somebody’s down there going, I bought that I bought these shoes, and they fell apart in the first day, you’re like, Let’s not buy those. And these people want us to believe that they’re outside waiting for the delivery of the Amazon box without having ever checked out a red whether it works or whether it lasts, so. Okay, that’s good. I like that. What do you think and excuses.
Martin Oji 7:07
You know, an excuse gives us when I make excuses, it stops me
Russ Ewell 7:13
for I’ve never heard of you making excuses in my entire life.
Martin Oji 7:18
You know, I’m sorry, for lying to you. I’m sorry for tricking you. And I make excuses. It’s real. It’s usually masking my real motive or my real desire. Okay. So when I make excuses, I’m not being honest about what’s really going on.
Russ Ewell 7:35
Okay. Brian, I see that head of yours moving there, man, you must be thinking some thoughts what you got on your mind there.
Brian Nitta 7:41
I was thinking of value. Like we make excuses, because we don’t want to be honest about what we really value. Like, to me, they’re all making excuses, because they didn’t really value the relationship with God that much I think about in my own marriage and conversations rose. And I have and when I make excuses for why I didn’t get something done, or why I got home late, or why I was distracted by my phone and a conversation. Right? And really, what I don’t want to be honest with myself about is that oh, man, I don’t value our time, as much as I really should. And so that’s what I was thinking about.
Russ Ewell 8:18
What do you think are some I mean, I can think about my own life that I want to let you guys have a chance to share. What do you think are some of the excuses people make about not having opportunities or excuses they make about taking advantage of the opportunity to have a great relation with God. In other words, you from your writing and your work Martin, a lot of your work is about God goes through great lengths to give us an opportunity to know Him. And that passage tells us how hard he works to get us into relation with him. And that when we reject them, it isn’t like he says, Let me go punish you. Like these people go, Hey, I got excused. I’m not gonna do it. I’m not going to do it. I’m not gonna do it. He doesn’t spend time being mad at the people who make excuses. He God just moves on. It says, there are a lot of other people who would want to have this. What do you think? Are some of the excuses we can tell ourselves about why we don’t seek God? Why we don’t study the Bible, why we don’t pray, why we don’t sit down and let someone help us know God? Like, what are some of the excuses and I love what you said that the excuses mask what’s really going on? So I know in my life, I can tell you, I suppressed a lot of emotion. I had a lot of feelings and a lot of thoughts, but I kept them all inside. And I stayed away from God in part because I as I began to, I didn’t know anything about God. So I didn’t go to church. But when I started to learn a bit more, it made me nervous because I was like, Oh, I’m gonna have to talk about all these things that are in my heart in my mind what’s confusing me what my hurts are. The where I’ve lost direction that I’m not as confident on the inside is act on the outside. And so I would make excuses about I’m not sure I believe this. I’m not sure I want to do I’m not sure I believe you need to read the Bible. I’m not Sure I believe in you go to church, but a lot of that was to keep away from having to talk about like you just said, Martin, what was really going on inside of me? What do you think are some of the excuses that we make? Or maybe you can just talk a little bit more about why we don’t take advantage of these opportunities? And oh, God,
Martin Oji 10:16
you know, a lot of times, even when I think back when I was younger, in high school, and I would tell myself, I don’t have time. Now. I had a lot of time. A lot of time. Yeah. But I would say I don’t have time. Yeah. Other times when excuse was, I just can’t You know, I can’t do it. You know, God has invited me, but you know what? I don’t know. I don’t have what it takes. Yeah. Other times, I would be like, you know, I don’t know how, okay, even though the Bible makes things very clear. Yeah, I’m I don’t know how, yeah, all of a sudden, I forget how to read the Bible. I can’t read English anymore. I can’t see any more. I just don’t know how so all excuses. That, like I said earlier, Maskin Like Brian said, what I actually really valued, and I valued other things. And so I just made a bunch of excuses. So
Russ Ewell 11:07
Brian, I’ll pick up on that with you. So in a way, the parable of the wedding banquet, or the great feast, or the great banquet, is a parable about Jesus helping us face what we really value. And it’s a parable to make us sit down and say, do I value God enough to say, God didn’t say, as you pointed out earlier, God didn’t say you can’t be married. He just said, come to the feast. God thing say you can’t have oxen or can’t even buy oxen. He just said, come to the feast. And God didn’t. I’m forgetting the other one there. What was the other one? I just blanked on it was a very, I just bought a feel. God didn’t say you can’t own land. He said, Just come to the feast. And you guys have talked about before? How a lot of times we see God is saying no, well, he didn’t say no to any of these people. These people said no to him. In fact, you could argue that God blessed the man to be able to afford the oxen he right on if as a man or a woman, I’m not a Yeah, I guess he, God bless the person to be able to buy out afford a field. God bless the person to be able to marry it. Isn’t it interesting that sometimes we can pray for things and ask God for things. And then the moment he gives us something, we don’t want the relationship anymore. And it seems to me that these people had received blessings. But instead of saying, Hey, I’ve received these blessings, these good things happened in my life. Let me go to the one who has blessed me. Instead of doing that, they went no, I did this. And I’m satisfied and I’m happy. And in interestingly enough, we often end up in circumstances that are good, and we feel great until the circumstances go bad. So if this married couple all of a sudden started having married problems, they probably go hey, can we get a ticket to that banquet? banquet? You know, if the field if the field got taken by the enemy, the guy with the field be like hey, can we can we can we can we go to that banquet I want, I want to go to that banquet and get get get a little pizza. And the oxen ran the guy over and crushed him, you know, and he crawled out of that bank, we’re gonna get a little hell. As long as our circumstances are okay, it seems like we don’t see or value God. And that one of the things Jesus trying to say is, you better be careful, because God is going to find the people who want a relation with him. And if you reject Him, God’s not gonna sit there and fight you. He’s just gonna move on to the people who really want the relationship. But the good news is, at the end of the parable, it says, there’s always more room. So if you decide to change your mind, you can change your mind. But in order to have a relation with God, you have to change your mind, he’s not gonna come circle back around and go, Hey, let me not get you to a guy. I know, you said you were married, but there’s a window of opportunity to know God, and we should take advantage of it, it seems to me, and Jesus says, If you don’t, it’s not like God is gonna turn you away forever. But he’s definitely gonna move on to the people who really want the relationship because his goal is to give us the opportunity to know Him. And if you don’t value Him, you better go to work on that. And I think the beauty in my life was I had people come to me, even when I made excuses, and befriend me, and help me see my need for God. And we shouldn’t fight friends who want to help us with that. And sometimes we run away from it. A good reason to sit down with someone and have a Bible study is because they can help you overcome the fears help you overcome the blind spots that make us not see our need for God. So Brian, when you’re hearing me talk about all that, how would you encourage people to overcome their excuses? Or how did you overcome some excuses? We’ll close out with that from you and that from Martin, and we’ll be able to end our podcasts and send our friends that are listen and help us out so much. Send them on to the D D spirituality.com. website where they can get the study that one aren’t put together, and they can get a scaled down study that they can share with friends, as well as be able to listen to more podcasts. Go ahead, Brian.
Brian Nitta 15:08
I was gonna say, you know, I made my own excuses. But the reality is, is on the inside of me that there is so much guilt, shame, fear that I didn’t want to be known because I go, man, if these things are known about me, then Gosh, people are going to change their view of me. That’s right. And, and it was having friends that you talked about that helped you to fight through the excuses, who showed me an example and had open lies themselves and go, Wow, you can be completely open. And you can be okay with this. That’s right. That’s fantastic. So it was really the examples of the people around me that really helped me out that showed me how to overcome the excuses to build a relationship with him.
Russ Ewell 15:52
That’s awesome. Martin, let’s give you the last word on your great parable. But I guess the peril belongs to Jesus. But you wrote on the great parable of the great feast, what do you want to leave people with as they go out and continue the journey to know God?
Martin Oji 16:08
You know, one of the things that really stood out to me from this parable is the fact that even when people rejected when they made excuses, and rejected, you know, God, the Father Well, it wasn’t referred to the father here in this peril. But when rejected God, yeah, he didn’t sit down. Crying, whining in just given up. I just love that God’s like, hey, he felt something. But then he moved on to give other people the opportunity. Yeah. And I just love the fact that God gives us so many opportunities. And for me, that helped me because like Brian was talking about so many things I was guilty about ashamed about afraid of. But when I had friends teach me that I could be honest, that that made me super grateful to God for friends, that gratitude helped me want to give other people a chance helped me want to stop making excuses, helped me want to begin changing my value system, because my value system was very much everything about me, what made me look good, feel good. Me, me, me. That was all my value system. When I saw people teach me about God and show me that I could be honest, I could be free. That was incredibly inspiring. And I’m like, You know what, I need to change my value system actually live my life to help other people. So gratitude was huge in helping change my value system, and helping me understand, you know, God’s love for me, but also and me live in life, inspiring other people and helping other people. So that was very helpful for
Russ Ewell 17:51
the parable of the great banquet, or the great feast, or the wedding banquet. What an awesome parable. Thank you, Martin, for your work. Thanks for joining us today, Brian and Martin. And for all you listening. We appreciate you listening. Don’t forget, give us five stars widget in the ratings and and make sure you give us five stars. If you like the podcast if you don’t like the podcast, as I always say still give us five stars so we can keep churning away. And getting this out to people who really get encouraged by just getting a little bit of vision of what the Bible can do for our lives. The parable series. You can find more on D spirituality.com. You can find studies you can find more podcasts, and you can find a bunch of other content over there that will help you with your faith help you be inspired and help you inspire others. This is the spirituality keep listening to us. There’ll be more parables to follow and I’ve got some guest hosts coming up. Mike Korea is going to guest host and Amy Korea is going to guest hosts with some spectacular parables to come. Thanks a lot for listening, the spirituality and we’re out