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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Luke 14

Verses 1-35

Luke 14:3 . Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day. When customs are good, let us keep them; but when they are burthensome and inconsistent, the Saviour refused submission to the traditions of men. Yet he condescended to assign reasons, for we should use great forbearance with misguided men On another occasion he said, My Father works, in the shining of the sun, and I work. Ye also circumcise a son on the sabbath; and if it be lawful for you to wound, why not for me to heal? You help a beast out of a pit, why may I not help this man?

Luke 14:16 . A certain man made a great supper and bade many. This parable is to be understood in unison with the invitations of Isaiah 55:1, and with the parable of the marriage feast, Matthew 22:0. The gospel supper is ready in plenitude of grace and glory, and the gates of righteousness are open.

Luke 14:18 . They all began to make excuse. These excuses are of three classes, all under the cover of lawful things, which comprise the three sins against which an apostle has raised his voice. 1 John 2:16. “The lust of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life.” They form a climax of insults to the Majesty of heaven. The first said, he had bought a piece of ground, a tun or estate as in the Gothic, and must go and see it. The second, that, being plowing time, he must attend the training of his oxen. The third, being recently married, must receive and return the accustomed visits. And is an estate then more than heaven. Are the labours of husbandry more than the cares of the soul. Is the marriage feast to supersede the gospel supper, the bread of eternal life!

Luke 14:23 . Go out into the highways and hedges. St. Paul gives us a comment here. He said to the unbelieving jews, “seeing ye judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the gentiles.” Acts 13:46.

Compel them to come in. The word αναγκαζειν to compel, is used in Matthew 14:22, and Mark 6:45, where Jesus constrained his disciples to get into the ship. So Lydia constrained Paul and Barnabas to dwell in her house. In like manner the Shunamite constrained Elisha to eat bread. The word comprises all the force of entreaty and persuasion, and ought to read here constrain, as in other places. Travellers state that it is customary with people in the east to eat under trees, and lodge under hedges, when they are not able to pay for better accommodations.

Luke 14:26 . And hate not his father and mother. When our Saviour sent the twelve to preach, he said, And “loveth” father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37.

Luke 14:28 . And counteth the cost. Men who are rash in religion often fall in the hour of temptation. We should well weigh the pleasures and the punishments of sin; we should next investigate religion in all its beauty, in its crosses, and in its vast rewards. We should consider the sanctity it requires, and the duties it imposes. We should then ask, if we break with the world, and close with Christ, whether he be able to save us. Whether he will stand by us in the day of trial, and whether he has always supported his servants in the crisis of danger. After thus counting the cost, as Caleb did, Numbers 13:30, we should at once nobly close with God, and break with every sin. So our Saviour has required us to do, and so St. Paul exhorts the Hebrews to do, with an astonishing force and cloud of argument. Mark 8:36. Hebrews 12:1-12.


While our Saviour was in Perea, eastward beyond Jordan, one of the chief pharisees, probably one of the sanhedrim, who were all accounted noble, invited him to dine after the worship of the synagogue was over. At which time, for the Saviour’s presence drew the crowd and made it a good tide, the pharisee’s house, as appears from the parable below, was crowded with guests. But the enmity of the sect accompanied the feast.

Among the throng about the house or the door, was a man afflicted with the dropsy, imploring a cure. On the other hand, the high sectarians watched him with an evil eye. Jesus therefore put the question frankly. Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? Their better nature said yea, but their creed said no. Therefore the lawyers were silent. Like their fathers on mount Carmel, they answered not a word. The Saviour therefore took and healed the man, amidst a cloud of envy and applause.

Among the friends that crowded this great man’s house, the Saviour had noticed a decided preference of the highest seats. He therefore took occasion to say, and no doubt with all the grace that the case would admit, that it was better to wait in a lower situation till the master of the house had called them to take their seats. Honour conferred is laudable, but honour assumed is followed with contempt.

The Redeemer was a courtier at the rich man’s table, but a courtier of independent character. He addressed them with a parable of the gospel supper, painted with just and impartial characters. The oracle of truth could not flatter the pride and vanity of men. He left not the parable unfinished, for the close had a strong bearing on the moral state of the guests, and on their religious connections. The good and rich man in the parable declared that none of the men who were bidden, and who had contumeliously despised the favour of their superior, should taste of his supper.

To the multitude, the poor that followed him, he was as ingenuous as to the rich. He required self-denial and sacrifice as the first step of his followers, that they should make a proper estimate of the things of time in contrast with those of eternity. That they should persevere in religion, because, if the salt of piety have once lost its savour, it is good for nothing but the dunghill.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 14". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.