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].
3-6. (See on Mt 12:11,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
26, 27. If any man, &c.—(See
on Mt 10:34-36, and Mr 8:34, 35).
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
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).
34, 35. Salt, &c.—(See on Mt 5:13-16; and Mr 9:50).