Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
By Dan and Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International
The video version of this teaching is available at:
Scripture reading for this teaching:
A good portion of Yeshua’s teaching occurred on the Sabbath while He was a guest for a Sabbath meal. On one Sabbath, He was invited to the home of a prominent Pharisee so he and his other guests could examine Yeshua’s teaching. Would Yeshua heal on the Sabbath, and how would He justify it?
Luke 14:1 KJV 1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
While at the dinner, Yeshua, in turn, observes the guests and their competition for the best seats at the table. His teaching on this Sabbath reflected His observations. Who would be invited to the banquet table in the kingdom of heaven and how will the seats be assigned? What is the significance of the banquet table?
I’m Brenda Cathcart and this is Shadows of the Messiah.
The setting of the Sabbath table for Yeshua’s teachings is an important detail. The Jewish sages have long recognized the Sabbath itself as a shadow of the Messianic kingdom and the world to come. Rabbi Irving Greenberg in The Jewish Way states “The Sabbath is the foretaste of the Messianic Way.” He explains that every time we enter into its rest, we in a sense enter into the kingdom of Yahweh God. The second century sage Rabbi Akiva in The Letters of Rabbi Akiva told a parable about the importance of the Sabbath that concluded with an exchange between Israel and God.
“And Israel said before God, “Master of the Universe! Show us an example of this Olam Haba (The world to come).” God replied, This is Shabbat.”
If we look at this Sabbath meal that Yeshua shared with a chief Pharisee and his guests as a foretaste of the days of Messiah, we can understand Yeshua’s observations and parables at a deeper level.
The first thing we see is that Yeshua invites discussion of the Torah. He may have been seated near a man who obviously needed healing. The man was most likely placed in close proximity to Yeshua just to see what He would do. Yeshua began by posing a question of Torah. The host of the meal, a prominent Pharisee would surely have an opinion on the topic of healing on the Sabbath.
Luke 14:2-4 NKJV 2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" 4 But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go.
The Pharisee declined to venture an opinion, so Yeshua was free to act; He immediately healed the man and explained His position in terms of accepted practice on the Sabbath.
Luke 14:5-6 NKJV 5 Then He answered them, saying, "Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?" 6 And they could not answer Him regarding these things.
What does this tell us about the Kingdom of God and the world to come? The kingdom of God values the alleviation of suffering. If it is to be a delight as the Sabbath is a delight, then suffering detracts from delight. John wrote that when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, there will be no more pain or sorrow.
Revelation 21:3-4 NKJV 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
After healing the man, Yeshua turned His attention to the behavior of the guests. They were jockeying for position seeking the best seat they could get, trying to get as close to their host as they could.
Luke 14:7-11 NKJV 7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 "When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 "and he who invited you and him come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 "But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Yeshua is teaching from the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 25:6-7 NKJV 6 Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; 7 For it is better that he say to you, "Come up here," Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.
This passage in Proverbs puts Yeshua’s teaching in the context of the kingdom of God. Don’t exalt yourself before the king, God, and be put in the position of being put lower in the presence of the prince, Yeshua. Yeshua had once observed His own disciples disputing among themselves about who would be the greater in God’s kingdom. He rebuked them and told them if they wanted to be great they needed to be a servant to others.
Mark 9:33-35 NKJV 33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, "What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?" 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."
On another occasion John and James came to Yeshua asking that they would be given the seats of honor at Yeshua’s right and left hand when Yeshua came into His kingdom. When the ten heard about their demand, they were predictably upset with John and James. Yeshua put them all in their places telling them that lording it over others would not be accepted in His kingdom.
Mark 10:42-45 NKJV 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 "And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Yeshua, then, turns His attention to His host of the day, the chief Pharisee, and instructs him about who he should invite to his dinners.
Luke 14:12 NKJV 12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
We can infer that the guests who were focused on getting the best seats were those counted as friends, relatives and influential neighbors. The host is described as a “chief” Pharisee. The Greek word translated as “chief” in the New King James Version of the Bible is translated as “ruler” in the king James Version. The Greek word is “archon,” #758 in Strong’s Concordance. It means first in rank or power and, thus, the chief, magistrate, prince or ruler. This Pharisee had a lot of political power. I can imagine that there was a lot of currying of favor and influence peddling going on at the dinners he hosted. Yeshua is redirecting his host to focus on the kingdom of God instead of the world around him. Yeshua instructs his host to invite those who cannot repay favor for favor.
Luke 14:13-14 NKJV 13 "But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 "And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
First Fruits of Zion in The Chronicles of the Messiah explain the concept of two tables, one in this world and one in the world to come.
“A popular rabbinic adage says, ‘Not everyone has the merit of two tables,’ meaning that some who regularly enjoy a full table in this world will not have the same privilege in the kingdom. Yeshua offered His host some advice on how he might procure the privilege of enjoying two tables.”[i]
One the people attending the feast recognized Yeshua’s references to the kingdom of God.
Luke 14:15 NKJV 15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!"
Offering and eating the “Bread of God” is a priestly right and responsibility. God instructs Moses that the priests are to be holy because they bring the offerings and the bread of God!
Leviticus 21:6 NKJV 6 'They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy.
Any man of the lineage of Aaron who has any physical defect cannot bring the offering by fire nor the bread of God. However, any son of Aaron may eat the bread of God.
Leviticus 21:21-22 NKJV 21 'No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the LORD. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. 22 'He may eat the bread of his God, both the most holy and the holy;
When God pronounced judgment on the sons of the high priest Eli, He said they would beg to be allowed to do their priestly duties and have a right to eat the bread of God.
1 Samuel 2:36 NKJV 36 'And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, "Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread."'
Yeshua feeding the five thousand from five barley loaves and two small fish is a picture of eating the bread of God. Each person there had enough to eat and be satisfied, and there were enough fragments left to fill twelve baskets!
John 6:11-13 NKJV 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
Yeshua explained that God gave them bread to eat, but that He was true bread of God.
John 6:33-35 NKJV 33 "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always." 35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Paul warns believers in Yeshua not to treat the bread of God lightly but to examine themselves before eating the bread that represents Yeshua’s body.
1 Corinthians 11:29-30 NKJV 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
Paul goes on to explain how we are to eat, connecting it with judging ourselves before eating.
1 Corinthians 11:31-34 NKJV 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
What does Paul mean when he equates judging oneself with eating at home and facing judgment if one comes and eats the bread when hungry? Paul’s words call to mind Yeshua’s observations about the guests of the chief Pharisee who were concerned with their position at the table. Could Paul be referring to the way the guests at the banquet of the chief Pharisee tried to exalt themselves, jockeying for position? Are these believers hungry for position? Does judging themselves and eating at home refer to humbling themselves and putting down pride before eating bread in the kingdom of heaven?
Yeshua told a parable to those gathered at the table of the chief Pharisee about those who were invited to a great banquet but were too busy to come. They made excuse after excuse including taking care of fields, trying out new oxen, and being newly married as to why they couldn’t be bothered to come. The NKJV Study Bible explains that this invitation to the feast was not a last minute invitation.
“In the ancient world, invitations to a feast were sent out well in advance of the meal. Then on the day of the feast, servants would announce the start of the meal.”[ii]
The man, whose guests couldn’t be bothered to come when the start of the feast was announced, sent his servants out to invite those who were suffering and hurting.
Luke 14:21 NKJV 21 "So that servant came and reported these things to his master. 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 here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.'
These guests were from the same city that the banquet was being held. In a Messianic context, the original guests and those invited from the streets and lanes of the city could be the Jewish people. After filling the banquet with all those from the city, the servant noticed that there was plenty of more room for more guests!
Luke 14:22-23 NKJV 22 "And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' 23 "Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Now, the servants were sent out into the region beyond the city to invite more guests. These guests may represent the Gentiles who are also invited into the kingdom of God!
Yeshua wraps up this parable saying that the host of the banquet pronounced judgment on those who refused his invitation.
Luke 14:24 NKJV 24 'For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'"
Even though the invited guests may, then, come to the banquet after it has been started and knock to gain admittance, they will not be allowed to taste the supper. Yeshua told a parable to His followers about those who counted themselves “friends” of Yeshua who will be surprised to find themselves outside of the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 13:25-29 NKJV 25 "When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' 26 "then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' 27 "But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' 28 "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 "They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with all the prophets will be there at the great banquet in the kingdom of heaven but those who aren’t ready when the start of the banquet is announced will find themselves outside the kingdom of heaven.
The gospel of Matthew records Yeshua speaking a parable similar to this parable about the great supper. In Matthew’s account, Yeshua is speaking to the chief priests and rabbis. The parable is not just about a certain man giving a great banquet, but about a king giving a wedding banquet for his son.
Matthew 22:2-3 NKJV 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 "and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
Once again, the invited guests are not ready or willing to come, so the king sends his servants out to invite guests to fill the wedding hall.
Matthew 22:10 NKJV 10 "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Yeshua invites both the bad and the good into the kingdom of heaven. It is not our own righteousness that allows us to enter the kingdom; it is our repentance, our desire to do the will of the Father, and our faith in Yeshua, the one God sent to bring us in! John wrote that those who are invited to the wedding supper of the lamb are blessed!
Revelation 19:9 NKJV 9 Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God."
Don’t turn down your invitation to the wedding feast. Mark it on your calendar, and when you hear the call that the banquet is starting, drop everything and go! Don’t worry about your position; rejoice that you can sit down in the kingdom of God and eat with the king at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I can’t wait to see who’s coming to dinner!
1. Part of the “foretaste of the days of Messiah” included in Sabbath observance is that it is to be a delight. (Is58:13). The Feast of Sukkot is also considered a foretaste of the Messianic kingdom. In what ways is it also to be a delight?
2. After feeding the five thousand, Yeshua told the disciples to collect the bread that was leftover “so that nothing is lost.” What could this mean in a messianic context?
3. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:27 that those who eat the bread and drink the cup unworthily are guilty of the body and blood of Yeshua. The word “unworthily” is #371, anaxios meaning irreverently or unworthily. It is from a noun. #370, meaning “unfit.” In what way does this compare to the priest eating the bread of God in Leviticus 21:6? Paul goes on to say that those who eat the bread unworthily have not discerned the LORD’s body. How can discerning the LORD’s body refer to both eating reverently and treating others with respect?
4. Read Luke 20:46-47. How are these scribes jockeying for position?
5. The wedding parable in Matthew 22 says that a man was found at the feast without a wedding garment in verses 11-13. Read Jude 4-15. Compare the man without a wedding garment with the men Jude describe?
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