So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. However, some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.
And many people came together in Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very great assembly. II Chronicles 30:10-13 ESV
[Jesus said:] “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” Luke 14:16b-24 ESV
Jesus told a story about a man who gave a great banquet and invited all his friends and neighbors. But when the time for the banquet came, all his friends gave excuses. One of them wanted to look over a new field he had bought, and another one wanted to test some new oxen he had just bought, and another didn’t want to leave his new wife, not even for a few hours. These were all very silly excuses. Who buys a field or some cows without looking at them first? The third man’s wife would be busy with her own work during the day. These excuses showed that not only did the friends care a lot more about their own affairs then they did about their friend, but also that they didn’t respect him at all. Their excuses were insults to him and meant to ruin his party.
The same thing happened when Hezekiah sent messengers to the northern kingdom to invite any of the people of Israel who were left to come home for the Passover. Most of the people in the north just laughed at the messengers and made fun of them. This was an insult to Hezekiah, and even more, it was an insult to God. God had given his people the Passover as a way to remember how he had saved them from slavery in Egypt so long ago. People who celebrated the Passover were saying that they were happy to be God’s people and thankful for all that he had done to save them. The Passover lamb pointed ahead to the promised Savior. The angel of death would pass over anyone who was covered by the blood of the Savior. Most of the people in the north were saying that they didn’t want to be God’s people and that they didn’t want him to save them.
Jesus is our promised Savior, and the blood he poured out for us on the cross won the forgiveness of our sins. When we have God’s forgiveness, we are free from sin and death. But there are people who don’t want God to save them. They laugh and make fun of people who invite them to come to know God through his Son Jesus. When people do that, they miss out on all the love and happiness that God has to give his people. God sends us his Holy Spirit to help us to believe and trust in him. We are happy to come to our Heavenly Father and enjoy everything he has to offer us, now and forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus, our Savior, and for inviting us to come to you and be your people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.