What does Luke 14:23 mean?
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.
NKJV: Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Verse Commentary:
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).
Verse Context:
Luke 14:15–24 is the last of three lessons Jesus gives about how humble and marginalized people can be more qualified to be honored in the kingdom of God than some religious leaders. A good life can distract anyone from their need for salvation. Those who suffer or have no homes are more likely to look forward to eternity in paradise with the Father. Luke will go on to present the cost of accepting an invitation to God's kingdom as well as its ultimate value (Luke 14:25–35). This parable resembles the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1–14.
Chapter Summary:
A Pharisee invites Jesus to a formal dinner. There, Jesus teaches lessons using invitations and feasts as a theme. These emphasize humility and the importance of not making excuses. After the dinner, Jesus warns that those who seek to follow Him will experience hardship. Believers should "count the cost" and understand what aspects of this world they may have to give up.
Chapter Context:
Luke 14 continues Jesus' doctrinal march to Jerusalem and the cross. Luke 14 and 15 contain the second grouping of one miracle and a series of discussions about the kingdom of God and salvation; Luke 13:10–35 is the first. Next will be a collection of warnings about rejecting God's kingdom (Luke 16:1—17:10) and two more sets of lessons about the kingdom and salvation, each beginning with a single miracle (Luke 17:11—18:34; 18:35—19:27). After this comes Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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