Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ ”
The parable of the great supper is one of the most delightful, and yet most solemn of all the gospel pictures given us in the New Testament. It is delightful because of the way it sets forth the grace that is in the heart of God, flowing out to the needy and sinful. But it is most solemn because of the manner in which man’s response to the message of grace is portrayed. There is a difference between this story as given in Luke and the parable of the marriage feast as given in Matthew 22:1–14. Here in Luke it is the sovereign grace of God that is emphasized. In Matthew, the emphasis is put upon the divine government. This is a great supper to which all are invited. That is a marriage feast intended at first for the select few. There the servants who carry the royal invitation are the ministers of the Word, sent forth to say, “All things are ready. Come to the wedding.” Here there is only one Servant in view, the blessed Holy Spirit, and He does what man cannot do: He compels men to come in.
Why was I made to hear Thy voice
And enter while there’s room,
While thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?
’Twas the same love that spread the feast
That gently forced me in,
Else I had still refused to taste,
And perished in my sin.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 210.