World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
14. Parables of Jesus
1And it came to pass, when he went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching him. 2And behold, there was before him a certain man that had the dropsy. 3And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath, or not? 4But they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go. 5And he said unto them, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a well, and will not straightway draw him up on a sabbath day? 6And they could not answer again unto these things. 7And he spake a parable unto those that were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief seats; saying unto them, 8When thou art bidden of any man to a marriage feast, sit not down in the chief seat; lest haply a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him, 9and he that bade thee and him shall come and say to thee, Give this man place; and then thou shalt begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest place; that when he that hath bidden thee cometh, he may say to thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have glory in the presence of all that sit at meat with thee. 11For everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 12And he said to him also that had bidden him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor rich neighbors; lest haply they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. 13But when thou makest a feast, bid the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14and thou shalt be blessed; because they have not wherewith to recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just. 15And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 16But he said unto him, A certain man made a great supper; and he bade many: 17and he sent forth his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a field, and I must needs go out and see it; I pray thee have me excused. 19And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused. 20And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21And the servant came, and told 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 maimed and blind and lame. 22And the servant said, Lord, what thou didst command is done, and yet there is room. 23And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and constrain them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper. 25Now there went with him great multitudes: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? 29Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, 30saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31Or what king, as he goeth to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and asketh conditions of peace. 33So therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34Salt therefore is good: but if even the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35It is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill: men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Lu 14:1-24. Healing of a Dropsical Man, and Manifold Teachings at a Sabbath Feast.
2. man before him—not one of the company, since this was apparently before the guests sat down, and probably the man came in hope of a cure, though not expressly soliciting it [De Wette].
7-11. a parable—showing that His design was not so much to inculcate mere politeness or good manners, as underneath this to teach something deeper (Lu 14:11).
chief rooms—principal seats, in the middle part of the couch on which they reclined at meals, esteemed the most honorable.
8. wedding—and seating thyself at the wedding feast. Our Lord avoids the appearance of personality by this delicate allusion to a different kind of entertainment than this of his host [Bengel].
9. the lowest—not a lower merely [Bengel].
with shame—"To be lowest is only ignominious to him who affects the highest" [Bengel].
10. Friend—said to the modest guest only, not the proud one (Lu 14:9) [Bengel].
worship—honor. The whole of this is but a reproduction of Pr 25:6, 7. But it was reserved for the matchless Teacher to utter articulately, and apply to the regulation of the minutest features of social life, such great laws of the Kingdom of God, as that of Lu 14:11.
11. whosoever, &c.—couching them in a chaste simplicity and proverbial terseness of style which makes them "apples of gold in a setting of silver." (See on Lu 18:14).
12-14. call not thy friends—Jesus certainly did not mean us to dispense with the duties of ordinary fellowship, but, remitting these to their proper place, inculcates what is better [Bengel].
lest … a recompense be given thee—a fear the world is not afflicted with [Bengel]. The meaning, however, is that no exercise of principle is involved in it, as selfishness itself will suffice to prompt to it (Mt 5:46, 47).
13. call the poor—"Such God Himself calls" (Lu 14:21) [Bengel].
14. blessed—acting from disinterested, god-like compassion for the wretched.
15-24. when one … heard … he said, Blessed, &c.—As our Lord's words seemed to hold forth the future "recompense" under the idea of a great Feast, the thought passes through this man's mind, how blessed they would be who should be honored to sit down to it. Our Lord's reply is in substance this: "The great Feast is prepared already; the invitations are issued, but declined; the feast, notwithstanding, shall not want abundance of guests; but not one of its present contemners—who shall yet come to sue for admission—shall be allowed to taste of it." This shows what was lacking in the seemingly pious exclamation of this man. It was Balaam's, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his" (Nu 23:10), without any anxiety about living his life; fondly wishing that all were right with him at last, while all heedless of the precious present.
16. a great supper—(Compare Isa 25:6).
bade many—historically, the Jews (see on Mt 22:3); generally, those within the pale of professed discipleship.
17. supper-time … all now ready—pointing undoubtedly to the now ripening preparations for the great Gospel call. (See on Mt 22:4.)
18. all began to make excuse—(Compare Mt 22:5). Three excuses, given as specimens of the rest, answer to "the care of this world" (Lu 14:18), "the deceitfulness of riches" (Lu 14:19), and "the pleasures of this life" (Lu 14:20), which "choke the word" (Mt 13:22 and Lu 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 Isa 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 (Eze 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 (Mt 21:32; Mr 12:37, last clause; Joh 7:48, 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" (Eph 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 Pr 1:24-33; The Marriage Supper, Mt 22:2-14).
Lu 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 (Lu 2:44), and who on this occasion falling in with our Lord had formed themselves into one mass about Him.
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," Lu 14:32), two things are taught: (1) Better not begin (Re 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" (1Jo 5:4), and nerved by power from above, which "out of weakness makes it strong" (Heb 11:34; 1Pe 1:5), becomes heroical and will come off "more than conqueror." But without absolute surrender of self the contest is hopeless (Lu 14:33).