THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – JUNE 14, 2015
LUKE 14:15-24; EPHESIANS 2:13-22; PROVERBS 9:1-10
COME, FOR EVERYTHING IS NOW READY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the saints who are at Luther Memorial Chapel and University student center, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Come for everything is now ready!  On His way to Jerusalem Jesus tells of a banquet.  One of those who reclined at table with Him had heard him speak of who to invite if you gave a feast.  Jesus said not to invite your friends or the rich who could repay you but rather the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  He ended – For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the Just.  The man who heard these things then said – “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 


Centuries earlier the prophet Isaiah had described a banquet on God’s holy mountain (Isaiah 25:6-9) – of rich food and well-aged wine for “all peoples.”  God would swallow up death forever – the veil that is spread over all nations.  The Jews, however (The Book of Enoch – The Messianic Rule – The Targum) largely rejected Isaiah’s vision of God’s end-time inclusive banquet.  They taught that no Gentiles would be present - nor anyone lame or blind or crippled. (Bailey – Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes – p.311ff.)  Their view of the end-time banquet disagreed with Jesus’ teaching about God’s gracious invitation.  Jesus here rebukes that view and states God’s holy will in the matter. 

 

THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – JUNE 14, 2015
LUKE 14:15-24; EPHESIANS 2:13-22; PROVERBS 9:1-10
COME, FOR EVERYTHING IS NOW READY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the saints who are at Luther Memorial Chapel and University student center, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Come for everything is now ready!  On His way to Jerusalem Jesus tells of a banquet.  One of those who reclined at table with Him had heard him speak of who to invite if you gave a feast.  Jesus said not to invite your friends or the rich who could repay you but rather the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  He ended – For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the Just.  The man who heard these things then said – “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 


Centuries earlier the prophet Isaiah had described a banquet on God’s holy mountain (Isaiah 25:6-9) – of rich food and well-aged wine for “all peoples.”  God would swallow up death forever – the veil that is spread over all nations.  The Jews, however (The Book of Enoch – The Messianic Rule – The Targum) largely rejected Isaiah’s vision of God’s end-time inclusive banquet.  They taught that no Gentiles would be present - nor anyone lame or blind or crippled. (Bailey – Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes – p.311ff.)  Their view of the end-time banquet disagreed with Jesus’ teaching about God’s gracious invitation.  Jesus here rebukes that view and states God’s holy will in the matter. 


“A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.  And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  But they all alike began to make excuses.  Note that these are not real excuses but insults full of disdain for the banquet of salvation.  The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field and I must go out and see it.  Please have me excused.  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them.  Please have me excused.  And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’   Buying land or animals without looking – who does that?  No real excuse there!  Claiming - not a wedding - but simply married life as reason to decline - that holds no merit.  These refusals show remarkable disdain for the banquet God offers. In effect, each excuse says – I’m too important - My plans come first – I’m not hungry for the bread you offer – even the Bread of Life.  ‘Come for everything is now ready’ is the invitation!  “Not interested – leave me alone” is the reply.


Dear Christians – responding to God’s invitation is a matter of life and death – heaven and hell!  There is no middle ground.  There are no drive-up, self-serve windows for eternal life!  There is no other banquet of Salvation than eating bread in the kingdom of Yahweh.  Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God.  The flip side of that truth is that those who reject God’s invitation remain under the curse of sin and death and hell.  As Matthew tells of the marriage supper of God’s Son, those who reject the invitation experience weeping and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness (Matt. 22:13).  The Lord does not force anyone to receive His gracious invitation.  It can be rejected and if such is done – the result is the eternal regret and rage of hell. 


So the servant came and reported these things to his master.  Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.  The master’s anger is real against the sin of unbelief.  Here His anger leads not to immediate retribution against those refusing Him but to immediate bestowal of this invitation on others!  The very ones the Pharisees considered unclean – those reduced to begging by poverty or blindness or crippling disease are sought out and invited.  Those despised by the world are loved by God.  And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’  And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.  The Lord loves a banquet and He has prepared it for all peoples.  He will fill His house.  Jesus came first to Old Testament Israel – but not only for Old Testament Israel.  There is grace and love in HIs words ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.  As St. Paul preached to the Church at Ephesus - But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace who has made us both one…


Come for everything is ready!  The Lord loves a banquet and He intends for you to be there feasting with Him forever.  Dwell on that thought!  Dwell on what it means when God sayscompel people to come in, that my house may be filled.  Your salvation – your reconciliation with Him is no minor thought to God.


Dr. Luther rightly taught that this compelling is not outward by physical power but inward.  It is nothing forceful but everything faithful in keeping with the Gospel. It includes accusing sin into the conscience and the despairing of self.  It includes speaking the peace won by the blood of His cross and the gracious invitation to sit down at the table of this rich Lord and eat.  It is a word to those who feel they do not belong.  It is a sweet word of invitation to those who see themselves as totally unworthy.  It is a delightful and drawing word for those who think “He can’t really want me - I don’t measure up to this invitation.”  God desires all to repent and live.  He would have you rejoice in the certainty of His invitation and your place with Him.  He would have us convey His invitation to those in our vocational circles as we give answer to the hope that we have in Christ Jesus.  “Come for everything is now ready”


How do you know this compelling invitation is for you?  You once were blind – but now you see – you see Jesus and His forgiveness.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.  It is no human plan or invention that you are in His house at His invitation today.  The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit loves a banquet – and you have a place at His table.  It is secure!  It is His gift to you!  He did not put His name on you in the washing of rebirth in order to exclude you.  Dear Christians – God is immeasurably more ready to give to you than you are to receive!  That’s why He chose you from before the foundation of the world to be His child. 


Outwardly – through the Word of God – the Holy Spirit has called you by the Gospel, enlightened you with His gifts, sanctified and kept you in the true faith.  His election of you is pure Gospel.  How do you know for sure that He chose you?  Because Jesus died for your sins – for which you know you have no cure.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit that you desire rescue from yourself, that you seek God’s comfort and release.  As Solomon wrote – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.


Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser.  God instructs you through His Word even as you listen today.  God instructs you as His Word is used in daily prayer at home.  As He instructs He warns of calamity for haughty eyes – and of distress for a deceitful tongue – both of which afflict you.  As He instructs He reproves earth-bound perspectives of self-focus and false wisdom and priorities and dullness of love!  He warns about the excuses of sinful hearts so easily distracted.  Yet when God reproves you, you do not hate him – you despair of yourself.  You see, it is always right for us to pray for Him to work in us a perpetual fear and love of His holy name for we do not have that perpetual fear and love by nature. 


Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The reason you do not hate God is that He does not stop with reproof.  He continues with instruction in righteousness –proclaiming how He saves a humble people – how He gave Christ into the flesh to be our strength (strength we lack), our rock (our solid place) our fortress (our safe place) our deliverer (from death and hell and also from ourselves).  Christ is the cornerstone in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  Christ is the rescuer who delights in you – who brought you out into a broad place - the broad place of God’s favor and forgiveness and delight.  It is a place so broad you have access in one Spirit to the Father.  It is a place so broad you are citizens of heaven – a holy temple – a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.


To bring you to this beautiful, broad place of life and salvation your rescuer went into a very narrow place – a dead tree of crucifixion on Calvary.  To bring you to this beautiful, broad place of life and salvation your deliverer went into a narrower place – a garden tomb where no one’s body had ever been laid.  To bring you to this beautiful, broad place of life and salvation the Word made flesh went into the narrowest, most confining place of God’s wrath – under the damning bonds of eternal punishment in your stead.  To break down the dividing wall between God and us required that it be broken down in the flesh of Him who is incarnate Wisdom.  To bring us near who were far off required the sacrificial death of the Son of God as the Father Himself stood far off. 


Now there is for you this beautiful, broad place of life and salvation in Jesus.  Now there is peace!  He Himself is our peace!  He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near.  Risen from the narrow chamber of death He says even on this day “peace be with you!  He is persistent – inviting and inviting - again and again!  His grace will fulfill His plan to save the lost – to fill the master’s house!  In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. 


The Lord loves a banquet!  He is happiest when His people are gathered at table with Him.  Come and eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.  ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a