Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church

2022 Trinity 2 Sermon

Blessed are Those Who Eat Christ

Luke 14:15-24
June 26, 2022 anno Domini

Indeed, blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God, but not everyone will eat bread in the Kingdom of God. That seems to be the point of Jesus’ parable.

Jesus was at a feast when He spoke these words. He had been invited by a Pharisee and was surrounded by Lawyers and Scribes. It was at the Jerusalem Country Club, members only.  You had to be someone to get in and everyone there thought he was someone. They invited Jesus to see if He thought the same. The whole group of men at the feast thought, believed, and trusted – if anyone is going to be welcomed into God’s Kingdom it will be me.

Jesus’ parable indicates that is not the case. All religions do not lead to heaven. Everyone does not go to a better place after he dies. Grandpa may be in a better place or he might not be. It all depends. It depends on Jesus and whether grandpa received or declined the invitation to eat of the flesh and drink of the blood of Jesus. Did grandpa dine with Jesus, or did he hunt and fish and chase his grandkids to ball diamonds and hockey rinks on Sunday mornings?

A man once gave a banquet and invited many. That man is God and His banquet is the only place you can eat living food, bread from heaven, water from the rock that is Christ. Right now His banquet hall is church – any congregation where the Word of God is taught in its truth and the Sacraments are administered according to Christ’s own Words. Where the Word and Sacraments are being served as Christ dished them out you will find life, have life, be filled with life. It does matter what a church teaches and confesses. Pure Doctrine matters. You wouldn’t eat in a restaurant that had rats in the kitchen where the waitress sneezed on your food right before she set it in front of you. You wouldn’t plant rotten seeds in the hopes of a fruitful garden. God has not promised to work in grape juice and soda crackers, in women pastors, or in half-truths that lighten your conscience by telling you your sin is not sin.

God invites many. In His case many is all, many is you. He invited Adam when He said to Eve, “I’ll crush the serpent’s head.” He invited Noah when He said, “Build an ark.” He invited Abraham when He said, “I’ll come back this time next year and you and Sarah will have a son.” From the moment death entered the world through Adam’s sin God invited man back into life by the promise of a Savior.

The man sent out his invitation early because He didn’t want anyone to miss the banquet. Not only that but the man was sparing no expense. The entire Old Testament is the preparation of and invitation to the feast of life. God was planning to give His Son, His only begotten son, for the salvation of the world. His Son’s body and blood, offered on the cross for the sin of the world, would become the main and only course of this meal. The price of your salvation was the blood of God, the life of God, the death of God. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Whoever believes in Jesus will live even though He dies.

All human history is shaped by this one event – Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Once Christ rose – the preparation was ready and God, through His Spirit, said, “Come.” Like Wisdom in the book of Proverbs

Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.

Leave your simple ways and live, and walks in the way of insight.

Imagine you were hosting a lavish banquet, not a $10 a plate affair, but a couple hundred bucks a plate. You are serving Wagyu beef at $100 bucks a pound. The wine is $50 a bottle. This is not your average Central Minnesota reception catered by Coborn’s. You hired a professional calligrapher to make each name tag a piece of art, and then the first guests you invited, your closest friends, the people most important to you, snubbed you. Can’t come, bought some land. Can’t come I’m car shopping. Can’t come, even though I’ve known the date for a year, my fiancé and I are flying to Vegas to get married. What excuses will be made on judgment day? Will you need an excuse?

Let’s be clear. Tere is nothing wrong with buying land, getting a new car or tractor, and getting married. The satisfaction of owning something or the joy of marriage are indicators that we humans are created in the image of God. If we were evolutionary accidents, simply the highest of the animals, ownership should supply no pride and marriage should not bring such delight. Pride and delight serve no evolutionary purpose. These are part and parcel of God’s creation of Adam and Eve in His image and His command to them to be like Him. Have dominion over the earth. Be fruitful and multiply.

The problem is not with land, possessions, implements of your trade, or family. The problem is when you exchange them for God, when you turn down the banquet of life for the famine of earth, when you don’t return to God, but live for a return on your pleasure. You refuse His invitation, but accept the invitations of the world and your sinful flesh. If you dine on your delights and don’t dine on Christ you’re out. You won’t feast on the banquet of eternal life. Repent. Now. The time to eat is now. The time to drink is now. The time for Christ is now.

God wants you in. Look what He did when His first guests, His closest friends refused. He sent out His servant to bring other guests in – the poor, the blind, the crippled, the lame. This tells us the way into the banquet. We are brought in. Those people who are invited couldn’t get there on their own. The poor had no cab fare. The blind could not read the map. The crippled and lame could not walk. They were brought. They were carried in. This is what the Holy Spirit does – He carries us to Christ. He preaches the Word of Christ to us, and that very Word carries us to faith so that we can see Christ, follow Christ, and have Christ.

When the banquet hall was still not full the Master sent His men out again, this time to compel still others to come in. What does it mean to compel? To preach a real hell and a real heaven with a great chasm in between that can only be spanned by Christ’s blood. To compel means to warn. Some will be saved and some will be damned. God sends His men to pull you from sin’s thickets and the world’s brambles with all the might of God’s Word that you would come to Christ. To crack the hardness of your heart, the hammer of God’s Law must be used, so the soft and tender Gospel can take root.

This is what God does, what the Host of the banquet does. He does everything for you to live. He plans and prepares for thousands of years in the Old Testament. He makes all things ready for life when Christ dies for your sins and rises again. His men invite you by the preaching of Christ to feast on Christ. He does want you to be outside. He wants you in, in on forgiveness, in on life, in the name of Jesus. Amen.