They Are Without Excuse
We all tend to make excuses.
Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. But God had given them clear instructions. When He reveals His will to us, we have no excuse for disobeying. Jesus said: "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin" (John 15:22).
Ignorance is no excuse.
The eternal power and deity of God are observed by all. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:18-21).
Even those who do not know the Scriptures are without excuse because, all around them, they can see ample evidence of the eternal power and deity of God. This should cause them to seek God. Israel was told that even in captivity they could find God if they diligently sought Him: "But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29). God has promised: "I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me" (Proverbs 8:17). "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). Jesus said: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7,8).
Ignorance is no excuse. The evidence of God's existence is overwhelming, and God has promised that those who truly seek Him will find Him.
Preoccupation is no excuse.
Many people who believe in God are so occupied with their daily activities that they neglect to serve Him.
"A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.' Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper''' (Luke 14:16-24).
The man who gave the great supper represents God. The supper represents the spiritual blessings God has prepared for us. It is an honor when someone invites us to a banquet. What a great honor to be invited to the supper of the Lord.
God gave advance invitations to the people of Israel through the Old Testament prophets and Scriptures. When all was ready, He sent His Son to call His people to the feast. But the religious leaders and scholars of Israel were so preoccupied with worldly pursuits that they did not value spiritual manna. To such people Jesus said: "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him" (Matthew 21:31,32).
Although the guests had been invited beforehand, when the time came, they all began to make excuses! What an insult to the one who had invited them!
Three examples are given of excuses offered. They all indicate preoccupation, self-centeredness and indifference to the invitation.
"The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.'"
When someone makes an important purchase, he is excited about it and wants to examine and admire it. Everything else tends to be neglected for a while.
It is interesting that different verbs are used in the three examples. In this case he says "I must go and see it." In his mind this was absolutely essential even though it prevented him from attending the great feast to which he had been invited. He was self-centered. He just had to go see that new piece of land he had purchased.
This represents people who give priority to their possessions and are so occupied with them that they neglect to serve God. This reminds us of the parable of the sower: "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful" (Matthew 13:22).
"And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.'"
The first man was a proud property owner. This man is a busy businessman. He does not say "I must go," he says, "I am going"! He was already on his way. The first man was preoccupied with his property; this man is preoccupied with his business.
Obviously, both the viewing of the property and the testing of the oxen could have waited until the next day. The great feast simply was not important to these men. Their own affairs were more important than the affairs of God. Material possessions were more important than the blessings of God.
This is also true of many today. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
"Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'"
The first man said, "I must go" do something else. The second man said, "I am going" to do something else. This man says, "I cannot come"! It was simply impossible for him to come, because he had just been married. Once again, it was just an excuse, given because he did not value the invitation.
This represents people who let preoccupation with family prevent them from serving God. Jesus warned: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37). He also promised: "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit everlasting life" (Matthew 19:29).
None of those who had been invited were coming! The master of the house was furious. God will be angry with us if we undervalue the spiritual blessings He offers, if we are preoccupied with worldly affairs, and neglect to come to His feast.
The prior invitation had been given to a select few, the people of Israel. Now the invitation is for all.
Going out "into the streets and lanes of the city" and bringing in "the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind" represents the gospel being preached to the unlearned among the Jews. Jesus prayed, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes" (Matthew 11:25).
Going "out into the highways and hedges" represents the gospel call to the Gentiles. When all believers among the people of Israel have accepted Christ, there is still room in the banquet hall of God. The Gentiles are also invited to the feast of God.
Jesus told the Jewish leaders who rejected Him: "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it" (Matthew 21:43). After commending the faith of a Roman centurion, Jesus said: "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'' (Matthew 8:11,12).
Paul wrote: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16). As Paul went from city to city preaching the gospel, he first gave the Jews an opportunity to hear, then he preached to the Gentiles: "When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was constrained by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, 'Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles'" (Acts 18:5,6). "Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, 'It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles'" (Acts 13:46).
We have no excuse.
The invitation to the great spiritual feast prepared by God has gone forth to all men. It echos down through the ages and comes to us. "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
Let us not make excuses, preoccupied with the affairs of this world. Let us accept the invitation, and attend the spiritual feast prepared for us by God.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive