Green denies that the parable of the banquet in Luke 14:16ff is about the Messianic banquet. It suggests that God at one time did NOT want the poor to His banquet, but included them as a kind of afterthought; this not only is unflattering to God, but goes contrary to Luke’s theology, which sees in Jesus’ open invitation to the table a fulfillment of promises made to Abraham. He also denies that the story allegorizes God’s turn from Jews to Gentiles.

I don’t find these objections persuasive. Surely the allegory ought not be pressed to suggest that God came upon the idea of including the poor and crippled as a “second best” response to the original invitation. But the prophetic literature of Israel is full of this kind of thing: Yahweh stretches out His arms to a disobedient people, who refuse; so Yahweh turns to Gentiles. That’s precisely what’s happening here, and the parable functions perfectly as an allegory of Israel’s history and of Jesus’ recapitulation of that history.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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