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In one of my former blogs, I used a modern-day comparison to convey the extent of outrageous actions. These actions were the conduct of all three, in Luke 7:36-50: Simon the Pharisee, the sinful woman, and Jesus. Today I’ll show the same shock value in another of Christ’s parables. This is the great banquet in Luke 14:15-24. The host gives two invitations, but we usually miss this. One was when the banquet was planned, and the other when the food was ready (cp. verses 16-17). From Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes,
This first invitation is serious and…acceptance of it is a firm commitment…. Once the countdown starts it cannot be stopped. The appropriate animal is killed and must be eaten that night…. Then at the “hour…” a servant is sent… “Come, all is now ready.”
In one of my documentary segments, buying a property and then going out to see it is explained as being insane, and why. In verse 19, buying 5 oxen is also explained as crazy from the above source:
Teams of oxen are sold in the Middle Eastern village in 2 ways. In some places the team is taken to the market place. At the edge of the market there will be a small field where prospective buyers may test the oxen. If they cannot pull together they are of course worthless as a team. In smaller villages the farmer owning a pair for sale announces to his friends that he has a team available…. Word spreads quickly…. Prospective buyers…watch the animals working…. All of this obviously takes place before the buyer even begins to negotiate a price.
But perhaps most insulting is the final excuse in verse 20.
Had there been a wedding in the village the host would not have scheduled his great banquet…. But even if the recent past is indicated, his speech is still crude. Middle Eastern society maintains formal restraint in talking about women…. A man away from home, if he had only daughters at home, would address his letter to the son he hoped yet to father, because to address a letter to a woman would be improper. He talks of the extreme reluctance in the past of Middle Eastern men “to speak of females of their families” …more than that, the main meal of the day was in the middle of the afternoon…. Thus this guest is saying, “Yesterday I said I would come, but this afternoon I am busy with a woman, who is more important to me than your banquet.” Surely such an excuse…is intensely rude in the Middle Eastern world and totally unprecedented. Some commentators have noted that a newly married man was exempted from military duty for a year (Deuteronomy 20:7; 24:5…), and assume that this text is behind the excuse. Such is not the case. Our passionate guest has accepted an invitation. There is no war; he is not called to leave the village. The time away from home will be at most a few hours….
This parable conveys the intense mockery of God when we reject his only means of salvation. What a scary thought, to face God if during all our lives we kept doing that.
The above scene of village life is scanned from Daily Life at the Time of Jesus