14:1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee [literally “ruler of the Pharisees”; Jesus had previously been a dinner guest of Simon, another Pharisee (Lk. 7:36)], he was being carefully watched [the religious leaders often looked for an opportunity to find fault with Jesus].
14:2 There in front of him was a man [may have come on his own; Pharisees may have invited him as a possible way of trapping Jesus; may have been a friend or a relative of the “prominent Pharisee”] suffering from dropsy [also called edema (excessive water in the flesh)].
14:3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not [their oral traditions (not the written law) said that healing on the Sabbath was prohibited (with the possible exception of life-threatening situations)]?”
14:4 But they remained silent [if they answered “yes” they would be seen as violating their own traditions; if they answered “no” they would be seen as heartless and uncompassionate]. So taking hold of [Jesus healed the man with a touch] the man, he healed him [Jesus was more concerned about the welfare of the man than about the oral traditions of the Pharisees] and sent him away [this may indicate that the man was not a guest but had come in anticipation of being healed by Jesus].
14:5 Then he asked [Jesus question designed to show the religious leaders that they worked on the Sabbath when it served their personal interests or purposes] them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?”
14:6 And they had nothing to say [they could not explain why they would “work” on the Sabbath to serve their own interests but not to help a fellowman in need; the religious leaders had a distorted sense of values].
14:7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor [literally the first or the chief couches or the seats nearest the host; the seats closest to the host were the most desired] at the table, he told them this parable:
14:8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor [indication of pride and presumption], for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.
14:9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place [probably the only place left after everyone else was already seated].
14:10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place [shows a person has not overestimated his or her own importance], so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests.
14:11 [a paradox…] For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled [the way down is up], and he who humbles himself will be exalted [the way up is down].”
14:12 Then Jesus said to his host [the “prominent Pharisee” (14:1) who had invited Jesus to be his guest], “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors [those with whom the host associated; his own class of people]; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid [people often do things in the hope that they might benefit or be rewarded in some way].
14:13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind [those with whom the host did not naturally associate; those without position or who, because of their physical condition, would be unable to scramble for the choice seats; some of these guests would have required assistance to get to the table],
14:14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous [those who have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation; cf. Jn. 5:29].”
14:15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God [the messianic banquet which the Jews anticipated when the Messiah came to rule].”
14:16 Jesus replied [Jesus told another parable]: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet [such a banquet would have taken place at night] and invited many guests [had already sent out initial invitation so that he could know how many to plan for].
14:17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited [the second invitation issued to let guests know that banquet was ready], ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
14:18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it [since the great banquet was most likely at night, it makes this excuse all the more ridiculous]. Please excuse me.’
14:19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out [once again, since the great banquet was most likely at night, it makes this excuse rather ridiculous]. Please excuse me.’
14:20 “Still another [previously invited like the others] said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
14:21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry [since the guests had offered no real reasons for refusing his gracious invitation] 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 [these were the most unlikely to ever receive an invitation to “a great banquet”].’
14:22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
14:23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads [rural roads] and country lanes [hedges that served as fences to divide fields] and make them come in, so that my house will be full.
14:24 I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:
14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate [hyperbole (an exaggeration to make a point); does not mean to actually hate, but that love for Christ is so great that all other loves look like hate by comparison] his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
14:27 And anyone who does not carry his cross [the cross was an instrument of death in Jesus’ day; the cross as a symbol of service was unknown in Jesus’ day (it only meant death)] and follow me cannot be my disciple.
14:28 [Jesus used two parables to illustrate the importance of counting the cost of what it meant to follow him…]  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower [towers often erected in vineyards to guard them against anyone or anything that might cause damage]. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?
14:29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,
14:30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
14:31  “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
14:32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
14:33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything [total commitment] he has cannot be my disciple.
14:34 “Salt [a seasoning; preservative: prevents and retards decay, combats deterioration; believers are to combat moral and spiritual decay, but can only do so if they retain their virtue] is good, but if it loses its saltiness [tasteless, insipid, inability to fulfill its purpose], how can it be made salty again?
14:35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out [discarded on the streets to be “trampled by men” (Matt. 5:13)]. “He who has ears to hear [exercise spiritual discernment], let him hear [listen and apply the teaching].”