作者：谢德华 By Edward Short
World Christian Broadcasting
When our son married, we invited our friends to the wedding to enjoy the occasion with us. In fact, on many occasions, such as dinners, weddings, company or work unit activities, etc, all of us enjoy attending sumptuous banquets.
Friends invited us to weddings on many occasions while my wife and I lived in Asia. At each dinner the food was delicious and was enjoyed by everyone. I recall during the 1970’s we knew a family surnamed Yu. The Yu’s were not wealthy but it was always their joy to attend a banquet. On one occasion Mr. and Mrs. Yu were invited to the wedding of a good friend but they did not have enough money for the customary red envelope; they really wanted to attend the wedding however. In order not to refuse their friend’s invitation, Mr. and Mrs. Yu fasted for two or three days. They took the money they otherwise would have spent on food and prepared their red envelope.
Perhaps you and I would also take an invitation so seriously. If the mayor were to invite us to dinner, would we go? If the president were to invite us, would we attend? If we lived in ancient times and were to receive an invitation from the emperor, would we accept?
In ancient times, the Jews also enjoyed eating banquets. Jesus once told a parable in which he said, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused'” (Luke 14:15-24). And they would not enter the banquet.
It’s difficult for us to understand why these people would not participate in this man’s wedding feast. In fact, they accepted the invitation when it was first given, but in the end they went back on their word.
In Jesus’ parable, the host represents God; those invited represent the Jews of that day. The Jews were rejecting Jesus, which means they were rejecting the spiritual feast that God prepared for them. They rejected the salvation which God prepared. Through Jesus and all that Jesus spoke and did, God spread a spiritual feast in front of the Jews and invited them to attend, to enjoy eating and drinking, but they would not. Let us not do as they did and refuse God’s invitation and salvation. Conversely, we should happily accept the invitation and enjoy the feast.
We have already noted that if the mayor were to invite us, we would go; if the president were to extend an invitation, we would not reject it. Now the creator of the universe and of all there is, God himself has issued his invitation for us to attend his banquet. Let us not reject it! God’s “letter of invitation” is the Bible, which includes the message of God’s love, the message that Jesus died on the cross for us. God’s “feast” is the salvation which he has prepared for us.
In order to save face and be able to put the appropriate amount of money in a red envelope and thus be able to attend their friend’s wedding banquet, Mr. and Mrs. Yu fasted for two days. God however does not want our red envelope; he simply wants us to attend his feast! And I too hope you will accept his invitation!