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Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO
“Blessèd are those who will bread in the Kingdom of God.”
INI + AMEN.
The Lord Jesus’ parable is exactly what Paul describes in Ephesians 2. When Paul says, “Those who were near,” that’s those who were first invited in the Parable. That’s the people of Israel. When Paul says, “you who were once far off,” those are the blind, crippled, lame, those who were in they highways and hedges who were compelled to come in second. That’s the Gentiles.
Those who were near in the Parable seemed well off. They had businesses and family commitments, too. Not a bad place to be. The Israelites, too. They were spiritually well off. As Paul says in Romans, “Their’s was the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Torah, the worship, the promises. Their’s were the fathers and from them, according to the flesh, was the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever.”
Those who were far off in the Parable didn’t seem well off, at all: “poor, crippled, blind, and lame,” wandering out on the “highways and hedges.” That’s the Gentiles, spiritually bankrupt, no hope, as Paul describes the Gentiles in Galatians, “When you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.” Or earlier in Ephesians 2: “dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” Sons of disobedience would be other Gentiles but also the Jews who denied Jesus as the Christ.
Now, as different as these two groups of people are in the parable, as different as the Jews and Gentiles are, there is something that’s the same for both. It’s what the Parable’s all about. It’s hinted at in the statement that got Jesus to tell the parable. “Blessèd are those who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God.” What’s the same is the Supper. It was for both groups. The preaching of that banquet was for both groups. That Supper that Preaching are what the Kingdom of God are all about.
((2. The Lord’s Word and Gifts aren’t neutral things.))
The Lord’s Preaching, His Word, His Gifts, His Supper aren’t neutral things. We often think that way. We put them in a box. Off somewhere. The Lord does His thing. His prepping of the feast. And we are off doing our thing, living our lives, running our farms, our businesses, our jobs, our personal lives, too. We make ourselves master of the feast. We determine what’s good or bad when it comes to the Master’s Supper, His Feast, His Banquet. We can take it or leave it. There’s no consequences. That’s how the people who excused themselves thought.
Sure, the feast maker was their neighbor, their friend, but there would be other feasts. Their cattle, their field, and their family were far more important. “Rain check on that,” they say. “Other things to do. Quite sorry. Send our regrets to the Master of the Feast.” They get what they wanted. Exactly what they wanted. They didn’t want the Supper, well, the Lord would fill His house with people to eat it. Not the kind you’d expect: poor, blind, crippled, lame. He brings in strangers, people who didn’t know anything about what was going on.
Those who were finally brought in were masters of nothing. How could they be? What can the poor, the blind, the crippled, the lame do? But the first guests thought themselves more important than the Supper. Sure, the Supper was good, but so were their cattle and fields and families. In fact, those were better, more worthwhile, made them well off. To think that we’re judge of what’s good and bad for us, when it comes to our spiritual life, is a continuation of the original sin: “to be like God, knowing good and evil.” But the Lord is the Master of His Supper, what it does and who it’s for.
((1. The Lord’s Word and Gifts are life-giving things.))
The reason the Lord’s upset, enraged, wrathful at those who excuse themselves, is not some lack of obedience. It’s because they rejected His Supper. They rejected the preaching of the banquet: “Come, everything’s ready!” It’s as if the master’s saying: “You don’t have to wait any longer. The long wait’s over. Drop what you’re doing! My feast, my banquet, my supper is good to go. The fattened calf was slaughtered. There’s meat and wine in abundance.”
The master of the feast wants to give them what he promised them, but they want other things. But He’s got a banquet and food, and someone’s going to eat it. “Blessèd are those who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God.” But you’d be surprised at who’s going to eat. So, He calls those who have nothing, the rejects, the lost. “Compel them,” he says. What He’s saying is: “Lead the blind in by the hand. Carry the crippled, the lame. Those who can’t pay? Who cares! It’s free! Those who don’t know about it? Well, let them know along the way what’s going on, why it’s going on, and that it really is for them, too.. Fill my house, my sanctuary with guests that they may eat and be satisfied. By eating the blind are given sight, the poor riches, the crippled and lame healing, sinners forgiveness, that the lost may be found eating and drinking the King’s Supper in His kingdom.”
“Blessèd are those who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God.” Because the King’s bread, His Supper, His banquet, and the message about that banquet, are life-giving. The Lord’s Word and Gifts aren’t neutral things. They change you. They change me. It’s the Lord’s way, to change you—save you! To give you new life in Him. He worked that all out for you. He kept His promises. Christ came and died and rose. “He keeps all His bones; not one of them is broken,” as the Psalm said today. For you who were far off and for those who were near. He died and rose. “You who were far off were brought near by the blood of Christ,” Paul says. God makes us all one—one Body, through the crucified body of His Son.
“Blessèd are those who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God.” No more begging and starving for the blind, the poor, the lame, and crippled. No more wandering for bread that doesn’t satisfy. “Let him who is simple come in an eat and drink,” Proverbs says. That eating and drink IS the way of insight. That’s what the bread of the kingdom does. No word from the Master is to be used as an excuse not to eat. Reasons for not eating generally come from guests who think the coming to the Supper falls to them. But every Word of the Master is a compelling force to come and to eat. The message will enliven you to the feast, and the feast, the Supper—His body and blood—prepares you for the Resurrection on the Last Day and His Supper keeps you ready for the eternal feast in His Kingdom which has no end.
“Blessèd are those who will bread in the Kingdom of God.” The King prepares it all for you. “It is finished!” He says. Crucified, dead, and raised. For you. The Table’s ready, too. You’d be surprised at who He wants at His table…even you. After all, His message about His Supper goes out: “Eat and drink, My body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins,” and when you do that you’re not just guest but servant “proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes” to take you to His eternal banquet.
INI + AMEN.