Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

The Gathering Ministry of Jesus 9/1/2013
Dear friend,

As we continue our journey with Jesus as He travels towards Jerusalem for the purpose of laying down His life for the sin of the world including ours, we come to another encounter with those who were getting increasingly annoyed with Him and His teachings. Today we find Him eating at the home of one of the chief Pharisees on the sabbath day, and as our text says, "they watched Him." They were not watching Him for the purpose of learning from Him, but rather they were watching Him in order to see how they could discredit Him and His teachings. Perhaps they had invited Him to the home of the Pharisee on the sabbath and had arranged to have a man that needed healing present just so they could try to catch Him breaking the sabbath should He heal the man.

In handling the situation, He exposed their hypocrisy (1-6), he taught them about humility (7-11), and hospitality (12-14) and then spoke a parable about the Great Dinner. (15-24)


Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. 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 hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.


The title of these writings is "The Gathering Ministry of Jesus" which allows us to see the over arching purpose of Jesus' descension to this earth as the God-Man, which means that God came in the flesh. It is referred to as the incarnation of God, which we celebrate each Christmas. It is important for us to continually keep this in the forefront of our mind and in our hearts so that we would not lose sight of the seeking heart of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

On the front cover of our worship bulletin are the words that has always motivated the gathering ministry of Jesus and yet does: "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." This is the focus in which we will approach this text today and we pray the through this time we will be encouraged, counseled and inspired to do just that: "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, THAT THE HOUSE OF THE LORD MAY BE FILLED." Jesus is not referring to an outward church but is referring to the invisible church which made up of all those who have been called by the Gospel and have come believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

How did Jesus respond to the setup by the meal which was being hosted by one of the chief Pharisees on the Sabbath Day? He asked two questions to which no one responded.

KJV Luke 14:1 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.
2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;

Jesus then asked a second question and again no response, for they could not answer him. How could they under their existing system of rules concerning the Sabbath?

5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
6 And they could not answer him again to these things.

Observing how they sought the chief rooms, he spoke this parable...
7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

As He now had a teaching moment, He taught them of humility, which can be defined in this way: It it not thinking less of oneself, but thinking of oneself less. He did this by pointing out to them of the folly of taking the choice seat at the wedding, for when one does that there is always the possibility of being humiliated by being asked to take a lower seat when someone else of "higher importance" would come to the wedding. Besides that, we might add, a wedding is not about the guests, but it is about the bride and the groom...Both James and Peter speak of this same topic in their epistles.....

Why did they want the chief seats? It is because they were mistaken in their knowledge of who they were, for they did not understand that their "seat" was not to be due to their assertiveness, but it was due to the benevolence of the Giver of all things, God through Jesus Christ. Pride causes us to think that we deserve the front seat, but the truth is we do not deserve anything at all. True humility takes us to the cross where we see that we are undone, that we are a sinner, broken in need of repair and only a gracious and forgiving God can help us. We are told to....


KJV James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

KJV 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

KJV Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.


He then speaks to them of how they should be hospitable in their invitations to dinners or suppers.

12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

He tells them who not to invite as well as who to invite. Do not invite those who will pay you back in return, but invite those whom are not or will not be able to reciprocate. He is comparing the payback/reward which comes from people versus the payback/reward which comes from God. He goes onto to say that they will be blessed not by the poor, maimed, lame and the blind, for they are not able to do anything in return, but the reward/recompense will be from God at the resurrection of the just.......

"Charity and necessity must be the norms for all' laws; and there should be no law that should not be bent and interpreted according to love; if there be, it should be abrogated, though an angel from heaven had made it. And all this serves for the purpose that our hearts and consciences be strengthened thereby. Then, also, the Lord teaches us how we shall humble ourselves and subject ourselves to others." Martin Luther summarizing this Gospel lesson.

Here we see the one way love of God being demonstrated through Jesus,

"Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…. The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing. Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…. Grace is one-way love"

From Tullian Tchvidian's book on One-Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World, a quote from Paul Zahl

We are to demonstrate the grace of God by reaching out to those who cannot repay our kindnesses towards them...Let us not forget that the Gathering ministry of Jesus in is the forefront here.......Yes, the Gathering Ministry of Jesus through us.......Let us learn from Him today...

As all this is being said, one of them sitting at the table said: Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
A proper observation, as he seems to see the blessing that comes to those who are caught in the gathering net of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May we be drawn deeper into this kind of thinking, in that we are more concerned about the blessedness that come to a human soul who has been gathered that we are about being a stickler for detail in our structures/systems.......

He now sums it up with another parable: The Great Banquet Invitation

16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

Jesus stays on this theme of supper and eating as he brings forth this parable. He speaks of great supper, not just a supper and says that many were invited. And at suppertime he sent a servant to tell them that had received the first invitation to come, for all things were now ready......It is documented (Sa'id 382) that when noble men invited others to a supper in those days that two invitations were sent out: One sometime before and then just before the supper a second one was sent out. That is what is being described here. It would be similar to our custom of RSVP. What was the response to those who were invited?


18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

It was a great offence to have agreed to come initially, but when the second invitation to make an excuse. In those days no one would buy land without seeing it first, no one would buy oxen without testing them first, and no Jewish man would discuss publicly concerning his wife, or any of the females in his house.

All the excuses that were given were not done in truth, but sounded like good reasons, but in reality they were lies.
It was not that they could not come, it was that they would not come.......They chose not to come to the Great Supper.

What happened then to the supper? Who was going to eat the food that had been prepared?

21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. 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 hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

The servant was sent out quickly by the angry master of the house and to to into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor, the maimed, the halt and the blind. These were the same people that Jesus had told the listeners to invite to their homes and to their meals. Evidentally this had been done as the servant said..;

22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

Wow, that is great. Many had come to sit at the table, but there was still room. Perhaps those who came were found in the normal passages of life as they had been gathered from the streets and lanes of the city and perhaps they had come quite willingly and quickly to the supper meal. But now what happens...

23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
KJV Luke 14:24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.


Jesus, always mindful of the fact that He came here to gather lost souls to Himself for God, now gets very direct with his words. He speaks first concerning their going to gather from the highways and hedges and then speaks to those who turned down the invitation to the supper. Please note that he changes the places/locations that the servants are go into in order to "compel" them to come to the supper.. I will place the Greek spelling as well as the various meanings that have been attributed to these three words: lane, hedge, compel

lane r`u,mh, hj, h` as an urban passageway shut in by buildings on both sides narrow street, lane, alley, in contrast to platei/a (broad way, open street)


hedge fragmo,j, ou/, o` fence, hedge (MT 21.33); plural, by metonymy, hedgeside paths or country lanes, frequented by vagabonds and beggars (LU 14.23); figuratively, of a divisive element keeping two groups separated wall, what separates (EP 2.14)


avnagka,zw impf. hvna,gkazon; 1aor. hvna,gkasa; 1aor. pass. hvnagka,sqhn; (1) of compulsion outwardly compel, force (AC 26.11); of friendly pressure (strongly) urge, constrain (MT 14.22); (2) passive, of compulsion inwardly feel obliged to, feel compelled (AC 28.19)

Jesus speaks to the servant, saying there is still more room!! It it not filled, yet there is room. Is He saying, "Go out into the more hidden places of the city/country and find those who are living out of the normal pathways that people travel on, go look in the places that are not so easily visible in everyday life. Go to those who are separated from society,, those who have come to a place where they see no way out of their condition, go seek them, go find them, minister to them, help them.......

He then tells the servant to "compel" them to come in to the supper, so that MY house may be filled. Wow! We today understand that to compel someone to come to Christ does not have certain meanings. It does not mean as the Crusaders thought it meant, that to force souls to God with fear of the sword; it does not mean to beat someone with your fists to convert them...(A brother shared with me that he heard of this happening, where a man beat another man until he told him that he would become a Christian.....)

As Jesus has been talking with them in this travel narrative which began in the 9th chapter of Luke, He has been pointing to Himself as the door to the kingdom of God. He has been doing signs and wonders, healing and so forth, all the while moving towards the cross and his resurrection. As He holds before His audiences the Great Banquet His heart is burning with the desire to gather all who will come to Him. He desires that we would minister with a heart of compassion, of urgency, of committedness, of purpose, and of fulfilment.

Those in the hedges, in the places of separation, have a difficult time believing that the grace of Christ is for them. He paid it all, all to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.......

May the love of God constrain us to go with a heart of compassion to the outof way places to find them. We bring to the in humility and kindness cross of Christ before their eyes, and thereby demonstrating the love of God as well as the need for repentance toward God and faith in Christ.

23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
KJV Luke 14:24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Jesus is speaking first to the Jews in their time, and He is certainly pointing to the Gentile visitation, but there is application for us today.

It is a question of our hearts and where they are at today. There is no lack on the provision of the Great Provider of the Supper, for all things are ready, Come and Dine at His table today....

Lastly, those who turned down the invitation to the Supper, forfeited their place at the table. There is a place for everyone, and the only way that we will not sit at that Table is if we reject the invitation and do not go to the Supper.
May we not be one of those to whom He speaks in verse 24.

Let us please be clear, no one who comes will be denied, but only those who do not come.....

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is abundant, greater than all our sin, He is calling today.



1. It may not be on the mountain height

Or over the stormy sea,

It may not be at the battle's front

My Lord will have need of me.

But if, by a still, small voice he calls

To paths that I do not know,

I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:

I'll go where you want me to go.


(Chorus)

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,

Over mountain or plain or sea;

I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;

I'll be what you want me to be.


2. Perhaps today there are loving words

Which Jesus would have me speak;

There may be now in the paths of sin

Some wand'rer whom I should seek.

O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,

Tho dark and rugged the way,

My voice shall echo the message sweet:

I'll say what you want me to say.


3. There's surely somewhere a lowly place

In earth's harvest fields so wide

Where I may labor through life's short day

For Jesus, the Crucified.

So trusting my all to thy tender care,

And knowing thou lovest me,

I'll do thy will with a heart sincere:

I'll be what you want me to be.

May His grace surround you today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 01 Sep 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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