Luke 14

Luke 14:1-24 . HEALING OF A DROPSICAL MAN, AND MANIFOLD TEACHINGS AT A SABBATH FEAST.

17. supper-time . . . all now ready--pointing undoubtedly to the now ripening preparations for the great Gospel call.

18. all began to make excuse--(Compare Matthew 22:5 ). Three excuses, given as specimens of the rest, answer to "the care of this world" ( Luke 14:18 ), "the deceitfulness of riches" ( Luke 14:19 ), and "the pleasures of this life" ( Luke 14:20 ), which "choke the word" ( Matthew 13:22 and Luke 8:14 ). Each differs from the other, and each has its own plausibility, but all come to the same result: "We have other things to attend to, more pressing just now." Nobody is represented as saying, I will not come; nay, all the answers imply that but for certain things they would come, and when these are out of the way they will come. So it certainly is in the case intended, for the last words clearly imply that the refusers will one day become petitioners.

21. came, and showed, &c.--saying as in Isaiah 53:1 . "It is the part of ministers to report to the Lord in their prayers the compliance or refusal of their hearers" [BENGEL].
angry--in one sense a gracious word, showing how sincere he was in issuing his invitations ( Ezekiel 33:11 ). But it is the slight put upon him, the sense of which is intended to be marked by this word.
streets and lanes--historically, those within the same pale of "the city" of God as the former class, but the despised and outcasts of the nation, the "publicans and sinners" [TRENCH]; generally, all similar classes, usually overlooked in the first provision for supplying the means of grace to a community, half heathen in the midst of revealed light, and in every sense miserable.

22. yet there is room--implying that these classes had embraced the invitation ( Matthew 21:32 , 12:37 , last clause; John 7:48 John 7:49 ); and beautifully expressing the longing that should fill the hearts of ministers to see their Master's table filled.

23. highways and hedges--outside the city altogether; historically, the heathen, sunk in the lowest depths of spiritual wretchedness, as being beyond the pale of all that is revealed and saving, "without Christ, strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" ( Ephesians 2:12 ); generally, all such still. Thus, this parable prophetically contemplates the extension of the kingdom of God to the whole world; and spiritually, directs the Gospel invitations to be carried to the lowest strata, and be brought in contact with the outermost circles, of human society.
compel them to come in--not as if they would make the "excuses" of the first class, but because it would be hard to get them over two difficulties: (1) "We are not fit company for such a feast." (2) "We have no proper dress, and are ill in order for such a presence." How fitly does this represent the difficulties and fears of the sincere! How is this met? "Take no excuse--make them come as they are--bring them along with you." What a directory for ministers of Christ!
that my house may be filled--"Grace no more than nature will endure a vacuum" [BENGEL].

24. I say unto you, That none--Our Lord here appears to throw off the veil of the parable, and proclaim the Supper His own, intimating that when transferred and transformed into its final glorious form, and the refusers themselves would give all for another opportunity, He will not allow one of them to taste it. (Note. This parable must not be confounded with that of Proverbs 1:24-33 ; The Marriage Supper, Matthew 22:2-14 ).

Luke 14:25-35 . ADDRESS TO GREAT MULTITUDES TRAVELLING WITH HIM.

25. great multitudes with him--on His final journey to Jerusalem. The "great multitudes" were doubtless people going to the passover, who moved along in clusters ( Luke 2:44 ), and who on this occasion falling in with our Lord had formed themselves into one mass about Him.

26, 27. If any man, mark 8:34 mark 8:35 ).

28-33. which of you, &c.--Common sense teaches men not to begin any costly work without first seeing that they have wherewithal to finish. And he who does otherwise exposes himself to general ridicule. Nor will any wise potentate enter on a war with any hostile power without first seeing to it that, despite formidable odds (two to one), he be able to stand his ground; and if he has no hope of this, he will feel that nothing remains for him but to make the best terms he can. Even so, says our Lord, "in the warfare you will each have to wage as My disciples, despise not your enemy's strength, for the odds are all against you; and you had better see to it that, despite every disadvantage, you still have wherewithal to hold out and win the day, or else not begin at all, and make the best you can in such awful circumstances." In this simple sense of the parable (STIER, ALFORD, &c., go wide of the mark here in making the enemy to be God, because of the "conditions of peace," Luke 14:32 ), two things are taught: (1) Better not begin ( Revelation 3:15 ), than begin and not finish. (2) Though the contest for salvation be on our part an awfully unequal one, the human will, in the exercise of that "faith which overcometh the world" ( 1 John 5:4 ), and nerved by power from above, which "out of weakness makes it strong" ( Hebrews 11:34 , 1 Peter 1:5 ), becomes heroical and will come off "more than conqueror." But without absolute surrender of self the contest is hopeless ( Luke 14:33 ).

34, 35. Salt, and Mark 9:50 ).

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