Scripture: The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, "Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame." After the servant had done this, he reported, "There is still room for more." 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. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet." - Luke 14.21-24, NLT
Observations: Jesus is invited to a banquet for the "respectable" Jewish elite whereupon he observes the guests positioning for the best seats. He teaches them a lesson on humility (v.11), then he gives an even deeper lesson on generosity (12-14). Then, when one of these privileged guests at the fancy dinner makes the statement about the Messianic feast to come in the kingdom of God, Jesus responds with this story about guests who are invited to a great banquet but find lame excuses to come to the banquet, and so the master opens the invitation to the poor, crippled, blind and lame; and when that doesn't fill all the seats, the messengers are sent out to compel anyone who could come.
The meaning was clear to all who heard the story. The Jewish elite who thought they had the inside track to God's kingdom were rejecting Christ's invitation to grace, and the door was being thrown wide open for the outcasts and underclass. The implication is that the invitation would also be extended to those who were far away, meaning the Gentiles.
Apply: People find the lamest excuses to avoid Jesus' loving invitation to God's grace, especially those who believe they have better things to do. It is those who know they need God that are most willing to accept the invitation of grace. Pride is our biggest roadblock to experiencing life with God.
Pray: Lord, may I be humble enough to accept your grace. And may I be willing to go out into the "highways and byways" to extend your invitation to all.