Luke 14:1, 7-14 - A sabbath luncheon and a parable of a wedding feast
On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, `Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, `Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Verse one is placed in this reading, while skipping over the following five verses. It is important to know that context, as it is directly pertinent to the information stated in verse one. The five omitted verses tell that “one of the rulers of the Pharisees” had invited a “certain man with dropsy” – a visible swelling in some part of the body, due to a build-up of fluids in the body – so “they were watching closely” Jesus, to see what he would do to this “known Jew” (the meaning of “certain one”). Upon seeing this “certain man,” Jesus asked the guests at the luncheon (“the lawyers kai Pharisees”), “Is it permitted by law to this to sabbath to cure or not ?” When they “were silent” and did not respond, Jesus then “healed his soul” (of the “certain one”) kai “set him free” from that demon spirit within that caused him to retain fluids. Jesus then asked the group, “Of Who of you with a son or an ox fall into a pit on the sabbath would not immediately pull him out ?” To that question they all had nothing they could say. It is then from that demonstration (which showed how poor the “ruler of the Pharisees,” the “lawyers kai Pharisees” were in claiming to serve Yahweh, when none did anything of value any day of the week … much less on the sabbath.
Without knowing the details of these five verses, which make is clear that all the “rulers” of the Temple in Jerusalem and the “Pharisees” who owed their wealth and position to making a profit off knowing nothing of value about the Law (as “lawyers”) says Jesus was then moved to tell a parable about that total incompetence in leadership for the Jews. This means what seems to be Jesus invited to dine where a table would be where seats of position were arranged made him watch the mad scramble to seat close to the head of the table and tell a story about waiting to sit, letting the host seat the guests. That has absolutely nothing to do with the deeper meaning that is in this parable, because everything was set to the environment of the present, but metaphor for being seated at Yahweh’s ‘table’ in the afterlife. Everyone who claimed to know the Law were speechless as to what Law says not to save your son, or even a possession like an ox, if it fell into a pit. While they knew nothing of value about the truth of Scripture, they all positioned themselves as if distinguished guests of Yahweh. Jesus pointed out they were the lowest of all invitees (Jews) and they should admit that lowliness, rather than have Yahweh Judge them as heretics defiling His Holy name.
When verse seven says Jesus then told a “parable,” the Greek word “parabolēn” comes from a root that is properly understood to be: “a teaching aid cast alongside the truth being taught. This casts additional light by using an arresting or familiar analogy, (which is often fictitious or metaphorical, but not necessarily).” (HELPS Word-studies) This means Jesus telling a story about a spiritual gathering, not a physical one, like that Jesus was attending. The spiritual aspect of this “parable” must be remembered to be a “teaching aid cast alongside of the truth being taught.” Jesus was not teaching how to line up at a luncheon and let the one inviting guests seat them one at a time, according to favorability. Jesus was teaching that everyone in that ruler of the Pharisees’ house acted like they were Yahweh’s favored guests in Jerusalem, when not one of them could heal a man with an illness, by being an outlet for Yahweh on earth.
In verse eight, Jesus spoke the equivalent to the Greek word “gamous,” which infers a “wedding feast.” This means the “parable” is not about the rich and powerful gathering to eat lunch on a sabbath, but about the table that is the earth plane being where Yahweh invites His chosen ones to partake of spiritual food (manna from heaven). This then says all those invited (the Jews were the remnant of the chosen ones brought to the Promised Land from Egypt, by Moses) were all bridesmaids awaiting the official union of their souls with the bridegroom – Yahweh’s Spirit. Those who would sit closest to the head of the table would be the Saints, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus – all the Saints who would officiate the union of wife-souls to Yahweh’s Spirit, with those bridesmaids still awaiting the time for divine marriage considered the least of those invited. This then says the ruler of the Pharisees and his lawyers were more like those bridesmaids whose lamps ran out of oil (the light of truth), at the time when the bridegroom came. They were deemed foolish and never joined with Yahweh as one. They become reflective of the goats that Yahweh and the souls of Jesus would say, “I do not know you,” as they will not be the sheep who sacrificed their worldly positions for the promise of eternal life in the spiritual realm, with Yahweh.
The ruler of the Pharisees and his invited guests (who watched Jesus closely) were those who would show up late at the wedding feast (another parable told by Jesus), not dressed for marriage to Yahweh. They would be kicked out of the wedding feast, in the way that Jesus said the one inviting guests (a proposal of divine marriage) would send out messengers announcing everyone is welcome; but the ones who show up for free food, with no intent of sacrificing their souls in marriage to Yahweh, would not be dressed for such a special occasion. The ruler of the Pharisees and his lawyer friends all had no intentions for marrying Yahweh and sacrificing their worldly gains. Thus, they would be cast out of any promise of eternal life.
As for the “ruler of the Pharisees” (who was just one of many), it makes sense that he would be Nicodemus. The “certain one” who suffered from dropsy would then most likely be Joseph of Arimathea, who when healed had his soul touched by Jesus, making him become wholly supportive of Jesus as the Son of Yahweh. Nicodemus and Joseph would have been secret disciples of Jesus, who were sent out as a pair with the other sixty-nine pairs. Most likely they did not risk being seen defending Jesus in any way, so they did not go tell anyone “the kingdom of God has come near.” The symbolism of a build up of fluids in Joseph means he felt the emotional ebb and flow of Jesus possessed by the Spirit of Yahweh, but he retained that within himself, afraid to let his faith be shown. When Jesus touched Joseph with his soul, freeing Joseph to fully express his love of God and his support of Jesus, not only did his dropsy go away, but he began to serve Yahweh as an extension of Jesus.