15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
The parable of the Great Banquet is one of the parables that have lead scholars and theologians to believe in replacement theology. If one were to read only this parable and not the rest of the Bible then one could probably make such a claim without dissent. In the parable, God (a certain man) prepared a great feast in which he invited the chosen guests (the Jews) yet they would not come to the banquet and had many excuses. Because of their refusal to come, the man who held the banquet opened it up to all who were willing to come and declared that the original guests (the Jews) would not get a taste of the banquet. This parable is really a commentary on the ministry on Jesus to the Jews and his being rejected. It coincides with the parable of the Wicked Tenants and the parable of the Wedding Banquet.
The salvation offered by Jesus was routinely rejected by the Pharisees and many of the leading Jews. Today we think of Christianity as a gentile religion but Jesus came first for the Jews. We gentiles have be grafted into the kingdom of God through Jesus and we will one day share in a great banquet in heaven. We will have eternal life and there will be no more pain and suffering. Paul describes the situation like this;
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! (Romans 11:11-12)
God is still working out the salvation of as many as He can. Of course it is up to us to make the decision to follow Him and turn from our sins. Do not be as the original banquet guests were and refuse to come. Greet God’s invitation with joy.