Chapter
Verse

Luke 14:21

ESV So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’
NIV The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'
NASB And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here those who are poor, those with disabilities, those who are blind, and those who are limping.’
CSB "So the servant came back and reported these things to his master. Then in anger, the master of the house told his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in here the poor, maimed, blind, and lame.'
NLT The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’
KJV 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.

What does Luke 14:21 mean?

This is part of a story, told by Jesus, about a man who invited many other men to a grand feast. The guests initially agreed to come, but when the feast was ready, they all found excuses (Luke 14:16–20). The host has gone out of his way to arrange and pay for the feast. The fact that his guests now refuse to come is a great insult. The story is a parable about the great feast that Jews use to represent the resurrection and the beginning of eternity with God in paradise. God has chosen the Jews—here, specifically, the religious leaders. The guests have claimed they will follow the Lord: to come when He calls. The time is now right; the Messiah has come and inaugurated the kingdom of God.

But even though the Jewish religious leaders initially agreed to the invitation, they now refuse to attend. They are too concerned about their worldly kingdoms, as represented by prosperous farms and growing families. They won't take the time to understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises which include blessings for eternity.

And so, the parable's host switches gears. He can't cancel the feast; everything is ready. He sends his servant into the city streets to find the poor and those people with disabilities and injuries that make them ineligible to worship at the temple.

It's important to recognize that the parable is told from a certain point of view; a casual reading might imply that God invited the wealthy and noble Jews and the religious leaders and when they declined, He settled for "lesser" people. That's not the intention of the story. The shame of the religious leaders is they were supposed to lead the people to God. Instead, they rejected their Messiah and derided or persecuted anyone who accepted Him. And so, Jesus goes directly to the people. In fact, this is the last meal Jesus will share with the Pharisees.
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