CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
March 13, 2022
The Parable of the Great Banquet
Having finished our look at the Sermon on the Mount, we are now 5 weeks away from Easter. This morning we see Jesus is making his way toward Jerusalem. Jesus will soon have his appointment with destiny. On his way to Jerusalem, he stops off at many towns and villages and also finds himself eating with a variety of people. When we pick things up this morning, he is eating on the Sabbath at the home of a prominent Pharisee. Over the past several weeks Jesus has been sharing with the disciples as well as others in parables, telling short stories, one might say, to share the message that he feels needs to be told.
On this occasion he has already said some things that probably raised some eyebrows; now he shares the Parable of the Great Banquet. Someone in the group there sitting around the table said something that got Jesus’ attention, so Jesus began to tell of this Great Banquet. Jesus explains the banquet is ready so he sends a servant to invite all of this person’s friends to come and join in the meal and fellowship. (They had already been told the banquet would occur.) But something happened that caught those hosting the banquet by surprise. Friend after friend declined the offer to come! The first said he had bought some property and needed to go check it out. The next said he had bought some oxen and needed to go make sure they would work out. The next said, “I just got married so I am sorry but we are busy.” Friend after friend came up with excuse after excuse for why they could not come. The owner of the house was outraged and flat out angry. So, the servant was sent out again to bring people to the banquet. This time he was instructed to bring the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. Bring basically whomever you can find that is willing to come. After the servant did this, there still was room. He sent the servant out again to bring whomever he could because he wanted his house full. There was one condition, none of those first invited were allowed to change their minds and join in the banquet.
As Jesus drew closer with his appointment with the cross, he was getting more and more blunt about what was about to happen. Jesus was at a meal being given by, as we read to begin with, a prominent Pharisee. Jesus came to first and foremost speak to what has been called the Lost Sheep of Israel. Most of the Pharisees rejected the fact Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior of the world promised in the Old Testament. The Pharisees knew God’s word better than anyone, yet they refused to accept Jesus as the one sent by God to redeem first of all the Jews but also all of God’s creation. Jesus understood the hearts of most of those at the meal he was sharing in. So, Jesus was predicting the outcome for most all who were listening to Jesus on that day. The Jewish people were the first invited to embrace what God was doing in the world then ultimately through Jesus. Yet he just did not look or act or match up with what they wanted the Messiah to be. So, like those invited to the Great Banquet in Jesus’ story, most of the Jewish people and definitely the Jewish leadership rejected Jesus. Jesus was predicting their fate. Soon they would be on the outside looking in and maybe wishing things could have turned out differently.
As we consider the parable does it have any meaning for us today? Jesus is the host of the Greatest Banquet ever given, and we are all invited to attend. The question for you and me is whether we too are too busy to make it. Are we saying to God, “If I can squeeze you in, I will be there, but I am just so busy!”
As we draw closer to Easter, God is asking us to his Banquet Table. He wants us to attend and enjoy all the benefits, but we must be willing to say, “Yes God you can count on me.” I pray we are like the ones who joyfully took advantage of the offer to come. The door is open, the invitation is there, come and enjoy!
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
March 20—One Great Hour of Sharing offering—envelopes will be provided. See this week’s insert.
March 30 11:30 Women’s Fellowship luncheon and meeting;
Bring a covered dish; meat & drink provided
April 10 – 17 Holy Week
April 13 Executive Committee
April 16 Food Bank Distribution at Kirby Medical Group, Cerro Gordo, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!
Donation Box: Camp Emmanuel
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
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District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
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Keep in Your Prayers
Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Bridgewater community; Ukraine
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
District Prayer Calendar: Pray for Chicago First Church and their work in the city.
Church of the Brethren vision statement:
Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.