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RSVP to Heaven (7 of 11)
Series: Parables Series: Surprising Lessons on the God-Life
Introduction: You have all received an invitation with an RSVP attached. As you may know that's a French expression--Respondez sil vous plais. While I did study a couple years of French in High School, I have probably forgotten more than I ever knew. I know a little French about like I know a little Hebrew and a little Greek. The little Hebrew runs a tailor shop and the little Greek a restaurant in Chicago. Even if you don't know a little French, you know that the RSVP abbreviation translates as "please respond." Whoever sent the invitation wants to know if we are coming or not.
Today's parable is the story of invitation and response. Like all of Jesus' parables, there is much more to the tale than meets the eye. It is not just about an ancient banquet and an offended host. But you know that already. The first clue is in verse 15 of our text. Jesus had just reminded his disciples to not be overly concerned about honors and rewards in this life. They will be repaid at the resurrection, he told them. Someone seated nearby overhears and comments, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the Kingdom of God." That statement probably meant about the same thing as one of us saying, "Heaven will be a great place, won't it?" Or, "The blessings of heaven will make all of the struggles of life more than worth it." Jesus responds with this story.
This is the seventh of Jesus' parables that we have been examining. Each story starts with a down to earth situation and uses it to open a window on life from heaven's perspective. Almost always, somewhere along the line, Jesus inserts a twist or surprise to the way one might have expected the story to develop. It's that surprise that reveals the heavenly view that Jesus wants us to see.
Jesus' story unfolds in four obvious steps each underscoring an important truth about our re ...
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