How are we to live? Jesus tells us in a very practical way.




Two more parables illustrating further aspects of how to live the kingdom lifestyle.








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15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” 16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 “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.’ 22 ”‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” (Luke 14:15-24) 



We like eating! Jesus was partial to a good feed also, as we can see here. And He used 'dining' illustrations in a number of parables. For the whole point of a parable is to use a natural situation to illustrate a spiritual principle, and what better illustration can you get than food. Specially for me!

The parable itself can be viewed as a picture of the Jews, the invited guests, rejecting Jesus, while the gentiles from the roads and country lanes would eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.



This interpretation, while containing a large element of truth, is not the whole story.

There is an extra dimension here, and that relates to the difference in reaction to the kingdom between the rich and the poor. In a natural sense, a feast would logically be more attractive to those who did not have enough to eat rather than the well fed, who could afford to feast any time.

In the spiritual, Jesus was primarily referring to the Pharisees who were gorging themselves on the fatty, high calorie foods of Old Testament Law! They had it all! They had no need of the 'feast of salvation'.



Others too, were so involved in worldly pursuits that they did not have the time or inclination to seek spiritual enlightenment. A danger that faces us all! The reality is, the more money we get, the more possessions we have, the more effort we need to put in to look after them, and the more precious they become to us. It is ironic that prosperity preaching ultimately turns people away from God. Either they don't get rich and so become disillusioned and fall away, or they get rich and then become worldly orientated, and again fall away. Simply false teaching.

Listen instead to Jesus:


Matthew 6:25-6



A similar theme is emphasised in the parable The Rich Ruler.



Luke 18:22-4



Jesus summed up the situation succinctly when He said; 


Luke 13:29-30



Mary, when singing under the power of the Holy Spirit, understood this principle too. 


Luke 1:53



The reality is, the kingdom of God is of more appeal to the 'have nots' than the 'haves'. These are the ones who attended the feast.

Jesus was straightforward about it too;


Matthew 6:19-24



What are your priorities in life? 




“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 ”‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:1-14) 



The primary meaning of this parable is an explanation to the Jews that the kingdom of God, while first offered to them, is not only theirs. In fact, many who come in later, that is, the gentiles, will be their equals, indeed, may well surpass them. “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” 



There are of course, many sub meanings that have been preached about numerous times over the years. These will not be gone into here.

What I would like to consider though, is the men who, in the first instance, were not hired. They stood round and did nothing. The usual explanation of this is that they were ones living in the world and under satan's dominion or control. The parable of the lost son returning after a life of debauchery is considered to be a parallel example of this principle.

But, at the risk of being declared a heretic, I would like to put forward a more positive view of these unhired men.

In normal circumstances the vineyard owner would hire all the workers he required at the beginning of the day. The chances of getting work would be unlikely if they were not in that first intake, becoming almost impossible the further the day went on.

All through the day they waited. They could have given up and gone home, seeing they had missed out on a job. The longer they stayed, the more desperate for a job they showed themselves to be. Their desperation for the job was recognised in the wages they were finally given.

So it is with the kingdom.


Matthew 7:7-8



We must actively seek the kingdom. It is not given to us on a platter. Ask and keep asking. Knock and keep knocking.

The kingdom is given to those who are prepared to sacrifice their own wants and desires in order to conform to the image of Jesus.


Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 1:14-16



We need determination and perseverance, as illustrated by the late employed vineyard workers, in order to enter the kingdom. 


Matthew 11:12



My friend, do not give up! (I am talking to myself here too.) When times are tough, when we think God has given up on us - or we want to give up on God - let us remember the workers who had the patience and determination to wait through the hot noonday sun in order to get into the kingdom vineyard. There wait was rewarded. Their wages were paid in full. Yes, the last, you and me, can become the first in the kingdom of God. The choice is ours.

Are we prepared to pay the price?




We look at a further 2 parables that contain instructions as to how we are to live the kingdom lifestyle today. 




Kingdom living is far removed form the ways of the world, and sadly, so many of the ways of the church, which is heavily influenced by the world.

We need to copy the example of Jesus, no matter how much we are ridiculed by the world, or some of the church, for that matter.

Let us never forget the message of the first and the last.


Jewish Quarter

Jewish Quarter Plaza

The southeast corner of the Old City, the Jewish Quarter occupies about 15 acres and has been inhabited by Jews for centuries. Following the capture of the Old City by the Arabs in 1948, all Jews were expelled and their buildings destroyed. When Israel regained the Old City in 1967 work began to reconstruct the quarter and today hundreds of people live and study here.


So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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1019. While religion may desire to build God's kingdom, it finally succeeds in building its own.

David Tait         




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