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Parable Of The Great Supper

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Seated beggar and his dog by Rembrandt

167:2.1As Jesus finished speaking at the breakfast table of the Pharisee. one of the lawyers present, desiring to relieve the silence,thoughtlessly said: “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in thekingdom of God"—that being a common saying of those days. Andthen Jesus spoke a parable, which even his friendly host was compelledto take to heart. He said:

167:2.2 “Acertain ruler gave a great supper, and having bidden many guests, hedispatched his servants at suppertime to say to those who were invited,`Come, for everything is now ready.’ And they all with oneaccord began to make excuses. The first said, `I have just bought afarm, and I must needs to go prove it; I pray you have meexcused.’ Another said, `I have bought five yoke of oxen, andI must go to receive them; I pray you have me excused.’ Andanother said, `I have just married a wife, and therefore I cannotcome.’ So the servants went back and reported this to theirmaster. When the master of the house heard this, he was very angry, andturning to his servants, he said: `I have made ready this marriagefeast; the fatlings are killed, and all is in readiness for my guests,but they have spurned my invitation; they have gone every man after hislands and his merchandise, and they even show disrespect to my servantswho bid them come to my feast. Go out quickly, therefore, into thestreets and lanes of the city, out into the highways and the byways,and bring hither the poor and the outcast, the blind and the lame, thatthe marriage feast may have guests.’ And the servants did astheir lord commanded, and even then there was room for more guests.Then said the lord to his servants: `Go now out into the roads and thecountryside and constrain those who are there to come in that my housemay be filled. I declare that none of those who were first bidden shalltaste of my supper.’ And the servants did as their mastercommanded, and the house was filled.”

167:2.3And when they heard these words, they departed; every man went to hisown place. At least one of the sneering Phariseespresent that morning comprehended the meaning of this parable, for hewas baptized that day and made public confession of his faith in the gospel of the kingdom. Abner preached on this parable that night at thegeneral council of believers.

167:2.4The next day all of the apostles engaged in the philosophic exercise of endeavoring to interpret themeaning of this parable of the great supper. Though Jesus listened withinterest to all of these differing interpretations, he steadfastlyrefused to offer them further help in understanding the parable. Hewould only say, “Letevery man find out the meaning for himself and in his own soul.”

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