What did Jesus have to say about the Church and Disability Ministry (Part 3)

You would think that the church leaders of Jesus’ day would’ve gotten it by now, but they haven’t so Jesus goes into his third lesson.

Starting in verse 16, “Jesus replied, ‘a certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready. But they all alike began to make excuses…”

You may think it was strange that the guy throwing the party both sent invitations and then sent a messenger to his guests. But this was how they did back then. You see they didn’t have google calendar or the ability to text each other. After invitations were sent out the guests who would then send an rsvp letter back to the host letting them know if they were coming. This would let the host know how much food to prepare. Their invitations would have a day but typically not a time attached to it. Once the host had everything ready and the food was ready to be eaten the host would send messengers to go knock on doors letting people know it was time to come to the party. This time consuming process almost always meant that their parties wouldn’t start until the evening meal.

So the people that the host invited and had sent RSVPs back confirming they were coming, but began to make excuses last minute. Jesus tells us of three of these excuses.

The first person said he now couldn’t come to the party because he just bought a field and he had to go see it. Of course this was a really bad excuse. First of all no good or even decent Jewish businessman would buy property sight unseen. Second of all it wouldn’t make sense to travel and go see it at night.

The second person’s excuse wasn’t much better than the first. The second person changed their mind about attending the party saying I just bought ten cows and I want to go and try them out. Just like the first person, no sensible Jewish businessman would buy animals sight unseen. And they definitely would not take them out into the field and work them in the dark.

The third person’s excuse might have been the worst. You see he said he couldn’t come because just got married. The party host would have been a close friend so he would have known his wedding date and wouldn’t have asked him to come at the same time, not to mention that had already RSVPed, and that in Jewish culture people didn’t run off to Vegas and get married on a whim. Weddings in the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day were very elaborate and planned out. And if the guy wasn’t rude why couldn’t he just bring his new bride along with him?

So the host of the party gets all these responses and he is obviously not happy. Let’s see what he says to his servant in verse 21, “’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.’

What’s interesting here is that none of the poor, crippled, blind, and the lame said no. They have the opposite reaction to the invitation to the party. Instead of making excuses as to why they cannot attend, they gladly accept the invitation and the go to the party.

The third thing that Jesus wants us to learn is that… The Church is not complete without people with disabilities. (Point #3)

God makes it clear throughout Scripture that this is true. We see in 1 Corinthians 12:22-23 “Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” God is clearly talking about the marginalized. God is talking about the poor and the disabled.

But remember their “inclusion” into the church and the body of Christ goes far beyond just being present. It includes being embraced and being made a priority. Once this happens then gifts can be shared with the church. 

For too long the church has taken the poor & disabled and only viewed their poorness & their disability as their gift that they have to offer the church. This should not be. If we do this we are objectifying our friends and making them the objects of ministry. Our friends should never be the objects of ministry. They should be our partners in ministry, because they have so much to offer.

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