THE KING'S FEAST
Have you ever been a guest at a party thrown by a king or president of a country? No doubt, you would have many stories to tell of the exquisite decors that adorned the auditorium, the mouthwatering delicacies that were served and the ecstatic feeling of dining with the “who is who” of society. Well, maybe you have not yet been in such feast hosted by a royalty, but if you have been in a rich man’s feast, you may have a partial feeling of what I just described.
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You may be like me, who have attended such festivities through the screens of our televisions as we watched every detail of the party beamed to our television screens at home with rapt attention wishing we could be there physically to savor such delight. There may be very many people who know what a king’s feast is like only through the means of television broadcasts or newspaper photo coverage of the event than through actual physical attendance because it is a fact that only invited guests can attend such occasions. Only selected and important persons are ever invited to a king’s banquet or a presidential dinner, such people could include top ranking government officials, captains of industries, political party stakeholders, etc. The rest of the population must comfort themselves to watch these others feasting away at the presidential dinners and gala nights. In a twist recently, the new government of our nation decided to cut back on the huge amount of money used to fund such presidential dinners and gala nights and ultimately to reduce the numbers of such events. It became public knowledge for the first time that a few days of such ceremonies sometimes cost the country billions worth of money. In fact, it was the elimination of such festivities that made the last Independence Day anniversary achievable with a budget of 70 million against the usual expenditure of over 20 billion for such events in previous years. I guess such low-key celebrations did not go down well with the long standing patrons of the political system who are the usual attendees of such feasts but it must have favoured those who have to watch the parties at home because the billions saved could be used for projects which can positively affect their lives as well.
Pardon me for the digress towards political matters, I only wished I could paint a picture of the kind of feast I wish to talk about here. As we have seen already, the kings and presidents of this world host men and women who are deemed to be important to lavish and expensive feasts and very often they do this to enlist the continuous support of such personalities to their government. It is interesting also to know that the King of heaven also has a feast organized, but for an entirely different reason. We are told about this feast in the Bible book of Matthew 22: 1-10 and Luke 14: 16-24. The King of kings has prepared a feast and has sent out invitations to this feast. As we are told in this story, the noble and prominent people of the earth have been invited to this occasion, but sadly, many of them have turned down this invitation to the King’s feast. You may have noticed that I speak about this feast in the present tense rather than the past tense I ought to do when relating a story. It is because this was a parable, an illustrative story Jesus Christ used to describe the kingdom of God, and as such it still speaks of what is happening today and what will continue to the end of the world. Most interpretations given to this parable relate it to the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ which was first offered to the Jews and having been turned down by them, was offered to the Gentiles. While this interpretation is true of the story, let us consider it in another light here.
What could make someone turn down an invitation to a king’s feast? Well, we see the reasons people gave in the story in Luke 14: 16-24. Some people’s excuse was the property they had acquired as they said, “I have just bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it; I pray thee have me excused” (Luke 14:18). Other people’s excuse was their business engagements, they said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused” (Luke 14:19). Another set of people had the excuse of their social, familial and marital relationships as they said, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come” (Luke 14:20). In Matthew 22:5, the summary of the reasons they advanced for turning down the king’s invitation was that they made light of his feast. They considered they had no need for the king’s delicacies since they were capable of getting those for themselves. Today the King of kings still sends out His invitation to the feast He has prepared in honour of His son, but these are still the same excuses people give for not accepting the invitation to salvation. Almighty God, the King of kings, has made a free offer of salvation from sin and eternal damnation available to all men and women through the sacrificial and atoning death of Jesus Christ, His Son, at the cross of calvary, and by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, God has established a new covenant and eternal life for all who believe.
In this great feast, God has presented to all men and women His peace, joy, deliverance, protection, grace, favour, and all blessings. It is the greatest banquet anyone can attend. But too many men and women refuse God’s offer and cling rather to their material properties in this world which are subject to decay. Many people do not see their need for God because they believe they have all the comforts of this life, they have houses, cars and all the gadgets money can buy. Some others bury themselves in their businesses and jobs and are too busy to consider God’s offer of salvation. All of what such people live for is to get to the apex of career success and business success. They forget that it shall not profit a man or woman anything to gain the whole world and lose their soul (Matthew 16: 26). There are some other people that are too conscious of their family prestige, peer circle opinions, societal standing and reputation before men that they would not consider God’s invitation. They fear the scorn and ridicule of unbelieving peers and friends, and this keeps them from accepting God’s invitation. For some others, like in this story, it could be their lovely wife’s or husband’s unbelief and cynicism that keeps them away from this heavenly feast. I do not know what group you belong among these, but I urge you to consider it well. Are these reasons worth losing God’s abundant blessings here on earth and the glorious eternal life in heaven God offers?
It is heartwarming however, that God, the King of kings , never limited His invitation to this feast to only the prominent and noble people of society like the kings and presidents of this world do, but gave everyone and opportunity to share in this feast. The rich as well as the poor, the educated as well as the illiterate, the white man as well as the black man, everyone has been invited to this feast. You my friend have also been invited. Remember how many times God has sent people to share with you the good news of redemption from sin and hell through Jesus Christ. They came to your home, you met them in the bus, they handed you tracts along the road, they were preaching to you over the radio, television and the internet. You have been served the King of king’s invitation to this feast, but what have you done with it? Have you ignored all these men and women whom God sent your way and treated them with disdain? Have you thrashed the tracts you were given and rejected the message? How have you responded to the King of king’s invitation? Well, when the first set of people invited in the story we read would not turn up for the feast, the king ordered His servants to go all over the highways and byways and bring in the maimed, the halt, and whoever cared to come and the banquet hall was full of guest. What others rejected scornfully was received joyfully by these others. Though some people may choose to go to hell instead of heaven, I am very happy that the heavenly road is not empty and the King’s feast is not abandoned. So many have responded to this invitation and have surrendered their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and today they have no regrets they made that decision. It would be your fault and solely your fault if you neglect and miss so great a salvation (Hebrews 2: 3).
Dear friend, hear my counsel today, do not be deceived by the things you own, your lands and houses, your cars and fat bank accounts or your many academic degrees and awards. These are uncertain riches that can develop wings and fly away in a moment (Proverbs 23: 5). Moreover these things can never give you the peace, joy and all other blessings God will give you. Again you can never take any of these things you own out of this world when you die. So many who had trusted their wealth, fame, career excellence, business success and great social relationships found that these can never satisfy. You will have true satisfaction in God when you accept His offer. Your job and businesses may be all you live for today, but do remember that the job could be lost and the business could go bankrupt and close down despite your best efforts. Accepting the King’s invitation is your best bet to a fulfilling career and an enduring business. Your family traditions which run contrary to God’s requirement may be all you hope to preserve by rejecting God’s call to salvation, but do remember that when the storms of life rock your boat, if Jesus Christ is not with you, your family name or village traditions cannot save you. It may be that your friends, colleagues at the work place, and even your wife or husband think it is odd or old fashioned to be born again, but never let your opportunity to repent and be saved pass you by because the same persons who dissuade you today may become pastors tomorrow and you may be lost eternally.
There are certain hard truths in life, for example, it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ compared it to a camel having to pass through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24). I am glad, however, to see that some camels have passed through the needle’s eye into the kingdom of God because I know of some rich people who also are very devoted Christians. The secret to their salvation was the same for every other person, they had to see their poverty before God and earnestly reach out to receive what God offered. They responded to the king’s invitation and counted it a privilege to be invited to His feast. It is also a hard and sad truth that some who even have little or nothing in this world also turn down this royal banquet. For many of such it is their conceit that hinders them and so they miss all God had to give them down here plus the eternal joy of heaven. I pray that you who are reading this message will not turn down your own opportunity to come to the King of king’s feast.
The last set of persons who would not accept the invitation to the king’s feast are those who see no need for the forgiveness of sins He offers in this banquet. They do not see themselves to have committed any sins and so they see no need to have God’s forgiveness.
To such people, though they despise prostitutes, armed robbers, and wicked men, yet these stand a better chance of entering into God’s eternal joy when they realize their sinfulness and repent. If you are such a person, please be warned by Jesus’ words, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of heaven before you” (Matthew 21:31). Repent today and believe in Jesus Christ and you shall be saved and blessed to attend the King’s feast.
Finally, all preparations have been made for the final feast in heaven, and God bids you come to His banquet. He calls out to you, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight in abundance.” (Isaiah 55:1-2). Do you want to attend the King of king’s feast, here is how; realize you are a sinner, confess your sins to God and ask for His forgiveness, trust in the atonement Jesus Christ has made for you by His death and resurrection. Yield the rest of your life to live for Jesus Christ and to do what pleases God in holiness and righteous living.
Please pray now and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life. Also join the Church of God closest to you and start experiencing the foretaste of this feast today. You shall be blessed to be among those who shall dinner with the Lord at the great wedding feast of the Lamb as it is written, “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'” (Revelations 19:9).