“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.'”
I am reminded of the promises penned by Isaiah:
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. (Isaiah 35:3-6)
Our Savior demonstrated again and again that His ministry was directed toward those who realized they had a desperate need. He specifically said:
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13)
And this presents an important question for each one of us: Do you and I realize that we have a need? Have we come face to face with the reality of our own sinful nature?
The Pharisees did not think that they were sinners so consequently they felt no need for a Savior. When one is filled with self-sufficiency and self-righteousness, the sufficiency and righteousness of a Savior is the furthest thing from their mind. The Laodiceans experienced this very thing:
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Revelation 3:17-18)
The Laodiceans were wealthy with possessions! And yet, clad in expensive, beautiful clothing, dripping in gold, they were oblivious to their need for clothes of righteousness to cover their nakedness and for God’s salve to open their spiritually blind eyes. Ignorant of their own depravity, they needed a wakeup call!
Fortunately we have a Savior that took up all of our iniquities and nailed them to a tree. He heals us by His wounds, His punishment brings us peace. They only thing that will keep us from Him is when we are filled with our own self-sufficiency and self-righteousness.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say about our verses for today:
“The people who originally had been offered a share of the kingdom had rejected it, so now the message was going out to others including Gentiles. The excuses seemed good to those who gave them, but they were inadequate for refusing Jesus’ kingdom offer. Nothing was so important as accepting His offer of the kingdom, for one’s entire destiny rests on his response to that offer.”
-George Matheson, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”
God gives us many wakeup calls and warnings through His Word, through His people, and through the circumstances that He allows in and around our lives orchestrated to turn our hearts back to Him. Patiently, lovingly and mercifully He waits for us to come. I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Revelation:
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:19-20)
Take It to Heart
“God hovers over the entire world, seeking to pluck from sin immortal souls who are in danger of ‘drowning’ in hell. He tosses out a line to all those who are in trouble. Some grab on to God’s line and freely receive the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ … But others ignore the line, or even knock it away, believing they are not really in peril, or that they can make it to safety on their own. Tragically, they are lost not because God has rejected them, but because they have rejected God. Don’t make the wrong choice!” (Billy Graham)