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The Mystery of the Parables of the Banquet

The two contexts of Matthew 22:2 : Luke 15:15-24

The parable of the great banquet is a familiar one, but have you ever noticed the context found in both passages.

Luke opens the text by placing a man with dropsy in the path of Jesus, as He is about to visit the leader of the Pharisees. Jesus is going for a meal. Luke the physician, before we even get to the main parable in Matthew, has already inserted within the story several human ailments.

Luke 14:1 One Shabbat Yeshua went to eat in the home of one of the leading P’rushim, and they were watching him closely. 2 In front of him was a man whose body was swollen with fluid. CJB

14 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, He was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body.NIV

14 Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees, to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. 2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. NKJV

This part of the passage is key to the context, but first, let us look at the remaining references. Jesus brings attention to the attitude of those who show favour to the elite and more fortunate in society, and how believers must show humility when we are shown favour.

14: 12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbours, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”NKJV

12 Yeshua also said to the one who had invited him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives or rich neighbours; for they may well invite you in return, and that will be your repayment. 13 Instead, when you have a party, invite poor people, disfigured people, the crippled, the blind! CJB

In contrast, the focus in Matthew 22 is on the Kingdom. The previous parable of the vineyard owner bears some similarity in that very little respect is given to the owner of the vineyard and the authority of his servants. The result is that he puts the disrespectful tenants to a miserable death and hands the vineyard over to other tenants.

V40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”