Luke 14:16

ESV But he said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.
NIV Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.
NASB But He said to him, 'A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many;
CSB Then he told him: "A man was giving a large banquet and invited many.
NLT Jesus replied with this story: 'A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.
KJV Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
NKJV Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,

What does Luke 14:16 mean?

Jesus is at a banquet telling parables about the kingdom of God thinly disguised as advice on earthly banquets. He has just said that those who invite the poor and disabled to their homes instead of the rich and noble will receive rewards from God at the resurrection (Luke 14:14). In response to this, another guest spontaneously cries out, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" (Luke 14:15). Jesus doesn't correct the sentiment. Indeed, those who meet God at the resurrection and fellowship with Him at His table will be blessed (Isaiah 25:6; Psalm 22:26). However, He warns those present that to reach that table, they must respond to God's invitation.

The parable is about a host who has invited many people to his home for a feast. Jews traditionally use the idea of "feast" to represent God's blessing in eternity. A feast fills hunger, gives delight, and provides excellent fellowship. Unfortunately, the needs and charms of the world keep the guests' attention, and they refuse to attend. In response, the host invites the poor and disabled. Then He invites travelers and the homeless. Many of these people, who are not satisfied with their earthly lives, do respond (Luke 14:17–24).

The warning is for the guests at the feast and the Pharisee who is hosting. They can't assume that just because God invited the noblemen and the religious leaders of Israel that they will necessarily join Him in eternity. It is not pedigree that ensures salvation but answering God's call (Luke 13:23–30).

Scholars are torn as to whether the "man" is God the Father and the servant is Jesus or whether Jesus is the host and His followers are the servant. With either option, the point of the parable remains the same.
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