Thursday, January 5, 2017
In Luke 14: 15-24 Jesus tells about a man who had a banquet but the invited guest had excuses and could not attend. The master sent his servant out to invite people off the street. The hall was still not filled, so the master told the servant to “Go out to the highways and country roads. Make them come. I want my house to be full! I tell you, none of those men whom I invited first will get a taste of my banquet!”
We are introduced to the same story in Matthew 22:1-10. However, a lot of things are added and the purpose is different from the one in Luke. In Matthew, the secondary invited folks, if not properly dressed, are bound and thrown out. The story ends with, “Many are invited, but few are chosen” rather than “none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
In Luke’s account the “excuses” are more detailed than in Matthew. Luke doesn’t mention that this is a wedding party. Matthew does. Luke is more descriptive about who the servant invites. In Luke the guest are compelled to come, but not so in Matthew. In Luke the host is “a certain man” whereas in Matthew he is “a king.” In Matthew, how one is dressed is important, but Luke says nothing about it.
The Holy Spirit inspired both Matthew and Luke. So, why are their stories different? Both are stories or “parables.” Matthew is writing to a different audience than Luke. Matthew fills in some details of Jesus’ story not covered by Luke. Luke is writing to a Gentile readership. Luke picks out a lesson that fits the audience he is writing to whereas Matthew uses what will best fit his readers.
Preachers are often approached after a service and told what the individual got from the sermon. Most preachers are surprised because the point they were making is different from the point that person heard. Sometimes an audience with different needs receives help to deal with that need from a sermon that wasn’t designed by the speaker to address it. Sometimes a person is feeling guilty about a secret sin and imagines the preacher is exposing it, whereas the minister is totally innocent of the charges. It is the power of God’s word (Hebrews 4:12)!
Matthew is not contradicting Luke. Both are giving the essence of Jesus’ story, but dealing with different points from the story which fits their respective readers. In the first century, most people would not have both Matthew’s account and Luke’s. We have the advantage of possessing both so we may gain the lessons delivered to both audiences.
In studying Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, one needs to research the parallels of each to gain all that is being said. Our studies are enriched by this advantageous blessing.