Luke 14:17
And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) And sent his servant.—The servant stands in this parable as the representative of the whole order of prophets and apostles—of all who, like the Baptist and the Twelve, had been sent to invite men to the Kingdom. “The time of supper” is, in the primary application, the time of our Lord’s coming, when the Kingdom of Heaven was first proclaimed as nigh at hand. All things—pardon, peace, blessedness—were now ready for those who would accept them.

14:15-24 In this parable observe the free grace and mercy of God shining in the gospel of Christ, which will be food and a feast for the soul of a man that knows its own wants and miseries. All found some pretence to put off their attendance. This reproves the Jewish nation for their neglect of the offers of Christ's grace. It shows also the backwardness there is to close with the gospel call. The want of gratitude in those who slight gospel offers, and the contempt put upon the God of heaven thereby, justly provoke him. The apostles were to turn to the Gentiles, when the Jews refused the offer; and with them the church was filled. The provision made for precious souls in the gospel of Christ, has not been made in vain; for if some reject, others will thankfully accept the offer. The very poor and low in the world, shall be as welcome to Christ as the rich and great; and many times the gospel has the greatest success among those that labour under worldly disadvantages and bodily infirmities. Christ's house shall at last be filled; it will be so when the number of the elect is completed.Sent his servant - An invitation had been sent before, but this servant was sent at the time that the supper was ready. From this it would seem that it was the custom to announce to those invited just the time when the feast was prepared. The custom here referred to still prevails in Palestine. Dr. Thomson ("The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 178) says: "If a sheikh, beg, or emeer invites, he always sends a servant to call you at the proper time. This servant often repeats the very formula mentioned in Luke 14:17; Tefŭddŭlû, el 'asha hâder. Come, for the supper is ready. The fact that this custom is mainly confined to the wealthy and to the nobility is in strict agreement with the parable, where the certain man who made the great supper and bade many is supposed to be of this class. It is true now, as then, that to refuse is a high insult to the maker of the feast, nor would such excuses as those in the parable be more acceptable to a Druse emeer than they were to the lord of this 'great supper.'" 17. supper-time … all now ready—pointing undoubtedly to the now ripening preparations for the great Gospel call. (See on [1670]Mt 22:4.) See Poole on "Luke 14:16" And sent his servant at supper time,.... Either John the Baptist, the harbinger and forerunner of Christ, who declared that the kingdom of heaven, or the Gospel dispensation, was at hand; and exhorted the people to believe in Christ that should come after him; or Christ himself, who is God's servant as man, of his choosing and appointing, and whom he sent in the fulness of time in the form of a servant, as the minister of the circumcision, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and to call sinners to repentance; or servant may be put for servants, since in Matthew 22:3 mention is made of more; and so the Persic version here; which parable bears some likeness to this, if it is not the same; and may design the apostles of Christ, who were the servants of the most high God, and the ministers of Christ, who were first sent by him to preach the Gospel to the Jews, and to them only for a while:

to say to them that were bidden, come: this call, or invitation, was not the internal call, which is a fruit of love, and by grace, and of mighty power; to special blessings, grace, and glory; and is irresistible, effectual, and unchangeable: but external, to outward ordinances: and is often slighted and neglected; and is sometimes of persons who are neither chosen, nor sanctified, nor saved:

for all things are now ready; the Syriac version adds, "for you": righteousness, pardon of sin, peace, and reconciliation, sin put away by the sacrifice of Christ, redemption obtained, and life and salvation secured; which shows the perfection of the present dispensation, and the large provisions of the Gospel, to which nothing is, or can be brought to be added to them, or qualify for them.

And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 14:17. εἰπεῖν τοῖς κεκλημένοις: a second invitation according to Eastern custom still prevailing (Rosenmüller, Morgenland, ver .192; Thomson, Land and Book, vol. i. chap. ix.).17. sent his servant at supper time] This is still a custom in the East, Proverbs 9:1-5; Thomson, Land and Book, i. ch. 9: The message of the servant corresponds to the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus Himself.

Come; for all things are now ready] “Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Luke 10:1; Luke 10:9; Matthew 3:1-2.Luke 14:17. Εἰπεῖν, to say) The successive steps of the gradation are to be observed: Luke 14:17, εἰπεῖν, to say, κεκλημένοις, to the called: Luke 14:21, εἰσάγαγε, bring in, τοὺς πτωχοῦς, the poor: Luke 14:23, ἀνάγκασον, compel, εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς, i.e. those who are in the highways, etc. The call goes forward to those that are at a greater distance, and by its continually increasing urgency it compensates for the delay previously incurred. [The called are of Israel.—V. g.—ἤδη) already now. Herein the time of the New Testament is shown to be the present time.Verses 17-20. - Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The excuses, viewed as a whole, are paltry, and "if," as it has been well said, "as a mere story of natural life it seems highly improbable, it is because men's conduct with regard to the Divine kingdom is not according to right reason... The excuses are all of the nature of pretexts, not one of them being a valid reason for non-attendance at the feast." The fact was, the invited were pleased to be invited, but there the matter ended with them. The banquet, which they were proud to have been asked to share in, had no influence upon their everyday lives. They made their engagements for pleasure and for business without the least regard to the day or the hour of the banquet: indeed, they treated it with perfect indifference. The key to the parable is easily found. The Jews were "solemn triflers in the matter of religion. They were under invitation to enter the kingdom, and they did not assume the attitude of men who avowedly cared nothing for it. On the contrary, they were pleased to think that its privileges were theirs in offer, and even gave themselves credit for setting a high value on them. But in truth they did not. The kingdom of God had not by any means the first place in their esteem. They were men who talked much about the kingdom of heaven, yet cared little for it; who were very religious, yet very worldly - a class of which too many specimens exist in every age" (Professor Bruce, 'Parabolic Teaching'). I have bought a piece of ground... I have bought five yoke of oxen... I have married a wife, etc. These excuses, of course, by no means exhaust all possible cases. They simply represent examples of usual everyday causes of indifference to the kingdom of God. To all these excuses one thing is common - in each a present good is esteemed above the heavenly offer; in other words, temporal good is valued higher than spiritual. The three excuses may be classed under the following heads.

(1) The attraction of property of different kinds, the absorbing delight of possessing earthly goods.

(2) The occupations of business, the pleasure of increasing the store, of adding coin to coin, or field to field.

(3) Social ties, whether at home or abroad, whether in general society or in the home circle; for even in the latter case it is too possible for family and domestic interests so completely to fill the heart as to leave no room there for higher and more unselfish aims, no place for any grander hopes than the poor narrow home-life affords. The primary application of all this was to the Jews of the Lord's own time. It was spoken, we must remember, to a gathering of the Rite of the Israel of his day. In the report of the servant detailing to the master the above-recorded excuses, it has been beautifully said, "we may hear the echo of the sorrowful lamentation uttered by Jesus over the hardening of the Jews during his long nights of prayer." The invitation to the feast was neglected by the learned and the powerful among the people.
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