The social challenges in the ancient world expresses itself in more implicit fashion in our contexts today. The social issues and descriptions of the first-century world of the New Testament resonates with ‘the problems on our church settings, especially churches rooted in Western, democratic society.’ Jesus’s parable in Luke 14 warns that those who proudly promote themselves and their own interests in this life will be put to shame in the next. This parable originally applied to Israel and its widespread rejection of Jesus Christ and his message also applies to churches and individual believers today. The subject of this parable is Christ’s future heavenly kingdom and those who will actually be a part of it following His return (vv. 14-15). This parable offers a distinct difference between a self-proclaimed Christian, those who exalted themselves and a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. In today’s culture, when and where the enemy has convinced the church we can have faith in Jesus and not completely believe God’s Word entirely, Jesus is saying to the church, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15).
Jesus’ parable as a representation of the eschatological banquet of God missionally relates to two group of people, the Guests and the Hosts. This parable of the wedding feast undergirds with a theological and missional truth is speaking to us and the church in a very tangible social networks and exhortations. The Guests and the Hosts as God’s people are called to humble themselves and seek to live by a different social system marked by radical repentance and humility. The Guests and the Hosts as God’s people can trust Him to be faithful and to reward their faithful ways of living in that final day.
In this world, we are saved to be missional guests and hosts to populate God’s kingdom. What type of guest are you as a preacher, as a politician, as a youth, as a father or mother? We all go through the guest and host journey but mostly without the character of a missional guest or host. To be a missional guest is a call to genuine humility not pride. John Selden said: “Humility is a virtue all preach, none practise, and yet everybody is content to hear. The master thinks it good doctrine for his servant, the laity for the clergy, and the clergy for the laity.” St Augustine says, “If you ask me, what is the essential thing in the religion and discipline of Jesus Christ, I shall reply: first humility, second humility and third humility.” Only through humility as missional guest can we overcome decline and fill God’s house in preparation to that eschatological banquet. Jesus’s warning calls the church to repent: “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (14:11). To navigate this world social system shaped by the culture of pride and sin, Jesus’ advice is more a counter-cultural message that the church must proclaim and practice.
Jesus’ parable speaks to the host–the one who holds a greater measure of control, maturity or spirituality. Missional guests has the potential to grow and become a host thereby empowered to invite other guests to the eschatological banquet. Missional host in this context is a figure of spiritual power and personality called and saved to proclaim the very discipline that upholds the prerequisite at the banquet meals. The problem today is the many hosts (leadership) in the church are working to undermine the very Gospel that uphold practices difference at the banquet meals. Jesus’s warning to the host resonates with us today of social reciprocity, all in the name of love and the ability to repay with a corresponding invitation. This points to ‘the backbone of the patronage system endemic to the first-century world’ and till date. Missional hosts are sent to invite “the (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” (14:13). There are rewards for the missional guests and hosts at the “resurrection of the righteous” (Lk 14:14). You must be born again as missional guests and hosts. God bless you.