Luke 14:23

ESV And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.
NIV Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.
NASB And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and the hedges and press upon them to come in, so that my house will be filled.
CSB "Then the master told the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges and make them come in, so that my house may be filled.
NLT So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.
KJV 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.

What does Luke 14:23 mean?

Jesus is telling a parable about who will enter the kingdom of God. The story is of a man who has invited wealthy and noble guests to a great banquet. When the moment arrives, each guest claims greater obligations and refuses to come. So, the host invites the "poor and crippled and blind and lame" of the city (Luke 14:21). When he realizes he still has room, he broadens his reach to the travelers and the homeless on the roads outside the city (Luke 14:15–22).

In a similar way, God long ago invited the Jews as a nation to follow Him. At first, they agreed, but their loyalty and obedience didn't last long. Now, the banquet is ready: Jesus the Messiah has come. It is time for them to make good on their promise and enter God's kingdom by following their Messiah. Instead, distracted by the worries and blessings of the world, they make excuses and refuse.

So, God calls those whom the Jewish leadership think are cursed. Poverty was considered a sign of God's disfavor because of disobedience. People who were seriously injured were not allowed to worship at the temple. But the time for such distinctions is over. Everyone is welcome. And yet, God's kingdom has room for more. People who are outcast and Gentiles, even robbers waiting to waylay travelers, are welcome. Jesus compels them to come: He does not force them, but He does work hard to show them why it's a good idea.

Parables are meant to apply a certain lesson—not to be taken with wooden literalism. Jesus is not saying that not a single Jewish leader accepted Him as Savior. Several Pharisees and priests did just that (Acts 6:7). It's a warning to the honorable men sitting at the Pharisee's dinner table. God always planned to offer salvation to the least of these (Isaiah 61:1–2). The shock will be that they will be reconciled to God while the leaders of the Jews are not (Luke 13:29–30; 14:24).
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