The Perean Ministry ~ Part 4
In our last post, we followed Yeshua as He left Yerushalayim to go to Perea. In this post, we continue to examine His Perean Ministry as He Continues to Teach in Parables.
The Parable of the Great Banquet
12 Yeshua also said to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives or rich neighbors; for they may well invite you in return, and that will be your repayment. 13 Instead, when you have a party, invite poor people, disfigured people, the crippled, the blind!
Invite poor people, disfigured people, the crippled, and the blind! The people Yeshua mentions would have been social outcasts. To their conditions, Jewish people often ascribed some sort of sinful behavior (Yochanan 9:2). Yeshua’s ministry is to these people (see Luke 4:18–19).
14 How blessed you will be that they have nothing with which to repay you! For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
The resurrection of the righteous is clearly distinguished from that of the unrighteous, both in the Tanakh (Daniel 12:2) and in the Brit Hadashah (Luke 16:26; Revelation 20:4–6, 12, 15).
15 On hearing this, one of the people at the table with Yeshua said to him, “How blessed are those who eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” 16 But He replied, “Once a man gave a banquet and invited many people. 17 When the time came for the banquet, he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready!’ 18 But they responded with a chorus of excuses. The first said to him, ‘I’ve just bought a field, and I have to go out and see it. Please accept my apologies.’ 19 Another said, ‘I’ve just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to test them out. Please accept my apologies.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have just gotten married, so I can’t come.’ 21 The slave came and reported these things to his master. “Then the owner of the house, in a rage, told his slave, ‘Quick, go out into the streets and alleys of the city; and bring in the poor, the disfigured, the blind, and the crippled!’ 22 The slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ 23 The master said to the slave, ‘Go out to the country roads and boundary walls and insistently persuade people to come in so that my house will be full.
Insistently persuade people to come in. KJV reads, “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in.” The Greek word translated as “compel” or“insistently persuade” is “anangkason,” which has a range of meanings from physically forcing to verbally convincing; throughout this spectrum of significations is a tone of intensity and urgency.
In times past, this verse was used to justify forcing Jews to be baptized against their will. Yet nowhere in the Bible does God suggest that He wants people to be forced to accept His love and kindness. From the outset, in the Garden of Eden, where Adam could freely choose to obey God, there was only one message. It is a message of persuasion: “Turn from sin to God and trust in the Good News” (Mark 1:15). It is impossible to force people to repent or believe, for these things are matters of the heart. Thus “forced conversion” is a contradiction since true “conversion” means inwardly turning from sin to God through Yeshua, not outwardly transferring from one religious’ institution to another. Likewise, attempting to force “conversion” is not obeying God; quite the contrary, the coercion, and cruelty involved constitute gross disobedience. But “insistent persuasion” that respects the hearer’s dignity is commanded and can produce good results. 
24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet!’ 
In our next post, Yeshua Continues to Speak in Parables in Perea.