Luke 14:23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.
The word “compel” literally means “force” and has been abused by Christians in the past for coercive attempts at converting the heathen. The context, however, does not support such a deplorable practice. Rather, such strong pleading is necessary because these folks would not believe the invitation to the banquet to be genuine. A poor man would be deeply suspicious of such an invite from a wealthy neighbor, thinking it a cruel prank intended to humiliate or patronize him.
This invitation is powerfully illustrated in the musical Les Miserables when the priest extends a gracious invitation to Jean Valjean:
“Come in, Sir, for you are weary,
And the night is cold out there.
Though our lives are very humble
What we have, we have to share.
There is wine here to revive you.
There is bread to make you strong,
There’s a bed to rest till morning,
Rest from pain, and rest from wrong”
When something sounds too good to be true – it usually is – but not with the benevolence of our Lord! The Lord doesn’t invite us to the banquet to mock us, to embarrass us, to further subjugate us – but to save us. He shares his wealth rather than abuse it. This is certainly good news!
© 2013, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.