Excuse Me

        A spread of naturally good foods
  Try to put yourself in the position of first century Jews.  For years, you have been living under the Law of Moses and waiting for the coming of the Messiah.  Granted, you have likely been wrong in your expectations, but nonetheless, you wait.  Then one day, you hear a man from Nazareth teach “…Repent:  for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).  Not only does this man teach things that are astonishing to the hearers, but He also performs many miraculous deeds (Matt. 7:28-29; John 2:1-11).  What would be your reaction to such a man?

          Sadly, for many Jewish people, the reaction was that of rejection.  Instead of looking for a meek and compassionate leader, multitudes of Jews were anticipating a royal king like Solomon of old.  Others might have wanted a warrior king like David.  Jesus of Nazareth just did not seem to fit the preconceived notions of so many.  Forget the miracles that were done!  Forget the amazing teaching that was done!  Some just were not willing to accept that a supposed carpenter’s son from, of all places, Nazareth, was the Savior and King (John 1:46).

          Jesus knew that many of the Jews would not be ready for Him.  It did not catch the Lord off guard.  Instead, Jesus took the opportunity to teach about such behavior.  Luke’s account of the Gospel records, “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).

          Remember, you have been taught that the Messiah was coming.  You were given numerous prophecies so that you would be able to identify Him.  Indeed, “…all things are now ready”.  Would you have believed Jesus, or would you have found an excuse?  Sadly, the excuses that Jesus gave are not even “good” excuses.  Most people would not make purchases without already having “proved” them.  Also, even though we may have a family/home, that is not a valid reason to reject God and His invitation to the “supper”.

          Take a careful read at what Jesus further taught about such things.  “So that servant came, and showed his lord these things.  Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.  And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.  And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper” (Luke 14:21-24).

          God had done wonderful things for thousands of years to prepare for the “supper”.  The Jews were truly without excuse for their rejection!  However, even though many of the Jews were not ready, God made sure that His “supper” would not be an empty celebration.  Instead of many of the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots and Herodians, the outcasts of society welcomed the Lord and His kingdom.  This was not only amongst the Jews, but later, many Gentiles would also rejoice for the truth of the Gospel.

          How sad it is for those that should have been ready for the arrival of Jesus and His church!  There can be no doubt of their spiritual situation.  Jesus plainly stated, “…That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper” (Luke 14:24).  Where would you fit into this scenario?  Are you one that makes excuse after excuse for why you will not come to the Lord?  Just remember, that no excuse is a “good” excuse for rejecting God’s invitation!
~ Corey Barnette