When I first read of this, Jesus' command to His disciples [implied], I worried that it sounded like Jesus was saying to force people to receive the gospel. But I don't think God is like that. What's the solution?
Luke 14:12 - 24
ESV - 12 He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.
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In my opinion, when Jesus spoke of "compelling" those in the second group to come in, He was not speaking of the use of brute force, but of overcoming protestations of unworthiness arising from humility. Those in the second group would not treat the master's invitation as something unworthy of their time (as those in the first group did), but instead might humbly consider themselves as not of sufficent status to be invited to so great an occasion. When Jesus spoke of compelling them, he was referring to overcoming such hesitancy through demonstrations of love and welcome. It reminds me of Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 5:14 about how the love of Christ compels His followers to minister to others and to evangelize them.
Luke 14:23 "And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.'" Traditionally “force” or “compel,” but ἀναγκάζω 2 this is a weakened nuance: “strongly urge/invite.” The meaning in this context is more like “persuade.” bible.org D.L. Moody said in what was his last sermon in his life, and on this verse: "Compel them to come in."—Luke 14:23 "I feel in such a haste to go out and obey this commandment this morning, by compelling those to come in who are now tarrying in the highways and hedges, that I cannot wait for an introduction, but must at once set about my business." He started his last crusade in Kansas City in November, 1899. On November 16, he preached his last sermon on Excuses (Luke 14:16-24) and hundreds were won to Christ that night. He was very ill afterward, the illness thought to be fatty degeneration of the heart. Arriving home in Northfield November 19 for rest, he climbed the stairs to his bedroom--never to leave it again. He died about seven a.m. December 22, with a note of victory. He is reported to have said such things as the following at his death: "I see earth receding; heaven is approaching (or opening). God is calling me. This is my triumph. This is my coronation day. It is glorious. God is calling and I must go. Mama, you have been a good wife...no pain...no valley...it's bliss." Dwight Lyman (D.L.) Moody 1837-1899 American evangelist Biography
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