Jean’s Gospel: The Great Banquet

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22 Responses

  1. Josh the Baptist says:

    Interesting to compare this passage with Matthew 22:1-14.

  2. Jean says:

    Hi Josh,

    If I were doing a comparison of the two parables, I would treat them as two different parables, with two different points. I definitely would not try to harmonize them.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    Not something I’d really though about. Was just studying through the Matthew passage and read this. Seems to be a different point of view on the same story, at first glance. All good. I appreciate your point of view.

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I agree with Jean. I am sure that as Jesus traveled from town to town he told several versions of similar stories, parables or whatever to make a point without trying to harmonize them. The sermon on the mount and the sermon on the plains are good examples.

  5. Duane Arnold says:


    Any additional thoughts on “compel people to come in”? Not sure that I see the direct link to the invitation. This is one phrase, by the way, I think Augustine was totally wrong about in his interpretation!

  6. Josh the Baptist says:

    Same title, one year ago next week. Did you mean to do that? 🙂

  7. em... again says:

    many conclusion Jean draws here that i’d say ‘amen,’ but Christ’s body and blood as presented here…?… i can see why some have such an aversion to Christianity…
    that said, since folks who hold this view also strongly believe that one should study and grow as a Christian, i’ll just leave it alone – and leave this comment thread alone
    thank God for His mercy on us all on this pilgrim journey

  8. Tim - Doulos says:

    Interesting timing…I just taught this text last Sunday.

    Duane –
    Regarding “compel,” here’s what I said to our congregation this past Sunday:
    How were the strangers on the highways and hedges to be brought? The servant was told to “compel them to come in.” The word translated “compel” can be misunderstood, either from it being too forceful, or too light-handed. NKJV, ESV, NASB all render it “compel;” NIV, HCSB translate it as “make them.” The NET & NLT renders it “urge,” which seems to fit this particular context far better. One dictionary says of this word, that it means “to cause or compel someone in all the varying degrees from friendly pressure to forceful compulsion.” (TDNT) In other words, it ranges from “please” to the point of a sword. Context is absolutely key. The context here is one of persuasion. (1) In this parable, the host is not a king, but a homeowner. He doesn’t have the authority to send armies out with weapons for forced compulsion. (2) If the homeowner was prone to use force, he would have forced the original invited guests. There was no reason to force strangers into his home, if he didn’t want to use force on his neighbors. Thus, when the servant was told to “compel” the strangers, it meant that he was to go out & strongly urge & persuade people to come.

  9. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I can see why some have such an aversion to Christianity…”

    I think Jesus made it this way… on purpose. Read John 6:51-71. Jesus makes it clear that it is his flesh he is asking people to eat and they refused, they walked away. Why? Because they knew it was not a metaphor.

    The road, the gate, they are narrow for many do not believe the very words of Jesus.

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    #8 Tim

    There is indeed ambiguity in the word… I was reading in Augustine on Church/State relations and was a bit bothered when he used this text as justification for resort to the secular authorities to deal with schismatics! I agree that context is everything. It makes me think, however, that the writer of the Gospel is “showing off” a little bit in using a Greek rhetorical devise of ascending phrases. He starts off with “invite” moves to “bring in” and reaches a crescendo with “compel them”…
    Just a thought.

  11. Jean says:

    Hi Duane and Tim,

    I think that Tim’s conclusion: “strongly urge & persuade” is very close to what I see too. I would reject idea of “force” because the Kingdom of God is not compulsory on anyone. On the other hand, it is forgiveness, life and salvation from condemnation, death and damnation, so there is certainly very high stakes and urgency (who knows when our hour will come?).

    I also see this “compelling” as the work of the Holy Spirit done through preaching, which first convicts the hearer concerning sin and righteousness and judgment, and then consoles the penitent with the Gospel.

  12. Jean says:

    Josh at #6,

    I am writing based on the Historic One Year Lectionary Gospel readings. I am doing this for two reasons. First, this lectionary has its roots beginning in Jerome (A.D. 342–420). This gives me access to a wealth of sermons and gleanings on these texts from many of the important Church Fathers. The second reason is that my congregation worships based on the Historic One Year Lectionary. This allows me to conduct my personal devotions and studies in sync with the church calendar of my personal congregation.

    I knew I had already written on this topic, but decided write a completely independent article. I honestly am not sure which one I like better, but I can see that I am personally in a different place than I was a year ago, as is the world and my friends and family, so the text moved me in a different direction this year. I will admit that I don’t really like to read my previous writing. My first reaction usually is: Oh, no, what did I say?

  13. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m probably the only person that pays much attention to the older articles that are linked before the comments. I’m reading back through those things all the time. I love when one pops up from 2012 or 2013. SO much has changed.

  14. Papias says:


    While I have the utmost respect for Augustine and other Church Fathers, I also would disagree with the usage of the text to allow persecution of schismatics. But they were men of different times.

    Even Calvin had this to say: Compel them to come in. “This expression means, that the master of the house would give orders to make use, as it were, of violence for compelling the attendance of the poor, and to leave out none of the lowest dregs of the people. By these words Christ declares that he would rake together all the offscourings of the world, rather than he would ever admit such ungrateful persons to his table. The allusion appears to be to the manner in which the Gospel invites us; for the grace of God is not merely offered to us, but doctrine is accompanied by exhortations fitted to arouse our minds. This is a display of the astonishing goodness of God, who, after freely inviting us, and perceiving that we give ourselves up to sleep, addresses our slothfulness by earnest entreaties, and not only arouses us by exhortations, but even compels us by threatenings to draw near to him. <b. At the same time, I do not disapprove of the use which Augustine frequently made of this passage against the Donatists , to prove that godly princes may lawfully issue edicts, for compelling obstinate and rebellious persons to worship the true God, and to maintain the unity of the faith; for, though faith is voluntary, yet we see that such methods are useful for subduing the obstinacy of those who will not yield until they are compelled.”

    Again… different times indeed.

  15. Kevin H says:


    @12, I don’t much like reading my past articles either. Too much cringing and thinking did I really write that awkward jumbled mess or, boy, did I miss on conveying what I was really trying to say.

  16. Jean says:


    Thank you very much for the gleaning from Calvin. Different times indeed.

  17. Jean says:


    Yep. I definitely think most of my writing has a shelf life. But, in the moment, it can be very rewarding and illuminating.

  18. Duane Arnold says:


    Yes, different times. I came across this short article that I thought was good in covering the issue with regard to Augustine. When I get home, I also want to take a second look at the Retractions, but I cannot remember any real change of mind…

  19. Papias says:

    Duane, on page 12 if the link:

    “To avoid inauthentic conversions, Augustine opposed forced conversions. Summarizing, he recalls in Retractationes 2. 5 that he confessed the Donatists (in the lost Contra Partem Donati): “In the first of these books, I said: “I am displeased that schismatics are violently coerced to communion by the force of any secular power.” And truly, at this time, such coercion displeased me because I had not yet learned either how much evil their impunity would dare or to what extent the application of discipline could bring about their improvement.”

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    #19 Papias

    Yes, I saw that and looked it up in the Retractions. I think with the Donatists, he was specifically looking at the more “violent” wing of the group and the civil disorder they were causing in the countryside. Still no excuse, in my opinion, but it helped me to understand his thinking a bit more. Between 400 and his death, it seems to me that Augustine became more concerned with civil order, perhaps because of the disorders in Italy that eventually made their way to North Africa. We may be having to examine such things more closely, as the more extreme of Mr. Trump’s supporters now refer to him as the “God-Emperor” (which I at first thought was some sort of sick joke) and are bent on civil disorder. Perhaps we are not in such a different time after all…

  21. The New Victor says:

    I read some of the things on reddit. I think the God-Emporer (an obvious reference to Dune) is meant to be a bit of a counter-meme to mock those who call trump Hitler. It’s kind of like how they have embraced the “Deporables” moniker. Still, we see signs of true believers. There were those on the left who felt that way about Obama. That people in modern times seem to be so quick to embrace a Messiah type political figure is what is scary to me.

  22. em... again says:

    “That people in modern times seem to be so quick to embrace a Messiah type political figure is what is scary to me.” … i think that this has been historically true in troubled times and i am in total agreement that it is scary … very, very scary

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