A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: Parable of the great feast


One day Jesus attended a meal given by a Pharisee. When a fellow dinner guest said that he was looking forward to sharing in the great feast in the kingdom of God Jesus told him a parable about someone throwing a party. Jesus described how a man prepared a huge banquet and invited many guests. But when his servant announced to the guests that the feast was ready, they all made excuses, such as having to inspect a newly-bought field, or having to try out some oxen just purchased, or having just got married. 

Invitation to the great banquet, etching by Jan Luyken in the Bowyer Bible, available through Creative CommonsWhen the servant reported back, his master was angry. He instructed his servant to find all the poor and disabled in town and invite them instead. The servant did this but reported back that there was still room at the banquet. So the master told him to go far and wide and urge all the homeless, tramps and beggars to come and fill his banqueting hall. However, the master was determined that, having spurned his invitation, none of those originally invited should attend his banquet.

The story illustrates:

  • God longs for everyone to receive his kindness and generosity, blessing any who accept his invitation 
  • Responding to God needs to be a higher priority than other issues
  • The New Testament principle that ‘the last shall be first and the first, last’
  • Those who turn their back on God’s offer might ultimately discover that they may be excluded from entering his kingdom.

Related topics

Big ideas from the Bible: Parables; Judgement

Bible References

Luke 14:15-24
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