“Think on These Things” is a column written by retired Creston pastor Ian Cotton. (File photo)

“Think on These Things” is a column written by retired Creston pastor Ian Cotton. (File photo)

Think on These Things: Go into the Highways and Hedges

“God gave all for mankind, and He asks us to place His service above every earthly and selfish consideration. He cannot accept a divided heart.”

“Think on These Things” is a column by retired Creston pastor Ian Cotton

Our saviour accepted invitations from the rich and the poor. Among the Jews, sacred feasts were connected with all their seasons of national and religious rejoicing. It was to them a type of the blessings of eternal life.

The lesson of warning and instruction which Christ desired to give, He illustrated by the parable of a great supper. Luke 14:12-27. The blessings of God they denied to the Gentiles. By the parable, Christ showed that they were rejecting the invitation of mercy, the call to God’s kingdom.

In choosing guests, Pharisees consulted their selfish interest, but Jesus said, “When you make a feast, call the poor, … and you will be blessed and repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

God directed that “the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow shall eat, and be satisfied.” Deuteronomy 14:29. These gatherings were to be object lessons to Israel of true hospitality. And they had a wider lesson. The spiritual blessings given to Israel were not for themselves alone. God had given the bread of life to them, that they might share it with the world.

Christ’s words were a rebuke to their selfishness. The Pharisees’ attitude was similar to the attitude of those today who rejoice that they are saved by Christ when they do not comply with the conditions upon which salvation is promised.

Christ read the heart of the pretender and showed that all had a part to share in the hope of the future. “A certain man,” He said, “made a great supper, and called many.” When the time of the feast arrived, the host sent his servant to the expected guests with a message, “Come; for all things are now ready.” But a strange indifference was shown. All with one accord made excuses. All the excuses were selfish. All the intended guests had other priorities.

By the great supper, Christ represents the blessings offered through the gospel, nothing less than Christ Himself. He is the bread that comes down from heaven, and from Him the streams of salvation flow. The Lord’s messengers had proclaimed to the Jews the advent of the saviour; they had pointed to Christ as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.

In the feast God had provided, He offered them the greatest gift that Heaven can bestow — a gift beyond computation. The love of God had furnished the costly banquet, and had provided inexhaustible resources.

But in order to accept the invitation to the gospel feast, they must make their worldly interests subordinate to receiving Christ and His righteousness. God gave all for mankind, and He asks us to place His service above every earthly and selfish consideration. He cannot accept a divided heart.

The lesson is for all time. We are to follow Jesus, His guidance is to be chosen, His companionship valued above the companionship of earthly friends.

Adapted from Christ Object Lessons

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