Writer Virginia Stem Owens once taught a class at Texas A&M in which she challenged the students to study the Gospel account of Jesus’ life. If you know anything about A&M, you would expect most students there to be very familiar with Jesus’ story. But while most of the students knew some basic Bible stories, very few had ever really studied the man. During a class discussion, Owens asked the students if anything about Jesus surprised them. One student made a comment that everyone else rallied around: “He wasn’t very nice.” They had a picture of Jesus as being rather quiet and gentle, even boring, but definitely a nice guy. But this guy they read about was downright rude at times. He said provocative, uncomfortable things. You could imagine if you were one of His followers that sometimes you’d be a little embarrassed when He infuriated the kind of powerful people you wanted to impress, or humiliated when He called you on some sinful attitude. Have you ever had a friend who always told you the truth, even when it wasn’t what you wanted to hear? When you get a bad report from your cardiologist, instead of just saying, “I’ll pray for you,” like Christian friends are supposed to do, he says, “Sounds like it’s time to stop having bacon cheeseburgers and sour cream enchiladas every day for lunch.” When you’re mad that your wife won’t let you go on a hunting trip this weekend, he’s supposed to say, “Women. They just don’t get it.” But instead, he says, “Well, you have been gone pretty much every weekend lately. How are you supposed to build a family if you’re never home?” Don’t you hate that guy? But he’s a true friend. That’s Jesus. This Sunday, He’s going to say some things in this message that will make most of us feel uncomfortable, stuff we wish He would keep to Himself.
We'll be looking at the parable of the banquet, found in Luke 14:15-24. Jesus challenges us to pay special attention to His favorite people...the people He pays special attention to (because no one else will). It helps if you read vv. 1-14, just to get the context. I look forward to seeing you all Sunday.