Translation Chapter 14

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)again heals on the Sabbath

14 One Sabbath[1]‘Īsā went to the home of a leading Pharisee for a meal. The Pharisees were watching him closely. 2 A man appeared in front of him who was suffering from oedema[2].3 ‘Īsā asked the experts in sharī’ah (revealed to Prophet Mūsā) and the Pharisees, ‘Is it permitted to heal people on the Sabbath or not?’

4 But they kept quiet. So ‘Īsā took hold of the man and healed him, and then sent him on his way.

5 Then ‘Īsā said to them, ‘If your child or ox falls into a well on the Sabbath day, which of you would not immediately pull it out?’

6 But they were unable to give any answer.

Taking the place of honour

7 ‘Īsā noticed how the guests were choosing the places of honour, so he gave them this advice. 8 ‘When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t take the place of honour. Someone more distinguished than you may have been invited, 9 and the host who invited you both would come and say to you, “Give up your place for this person.” Then, covered in shame, you would have to take the least important place.

10 ‘Instead, when you’re invited, go and take the least important place, so that when your host comes, he’ll say to you, “Friend, move up to a better place.” Then you will be honoured in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’  

Whom you should invite

12 Then ‘Īsā said to his host, ‘When you prepare a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends or your brothers and sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbours. If you do, they might invite you back and then you’d be repaid. 13 Instead, when you prepare a feast, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you’ll be blessed, because they can’t repay you, for you’ll be repaid at the qiyāmat[3]of the righteous.’

The Parable of the great banquet

15 When he heard this, one of the other guests said to ‘Īsā, ‘Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of Allah[4].’

16 ‘Īsā said to him, ‘There was a man who prepared a great banquet and invited many people to it. 17 At the hour of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, “Come, because everything is now ready.”

18 ‘But they all alike began to make excuses. The first person said to him, “I’ve bought a field, and I must go out to see it. Please excuse me.”

19 ‘Another said, “I’ve bought five yoke of oxen and I’m going to try them out. Please excuse me.”

20 ‘Someone else said, “I’ve just got married, so I won’t be able to come.”

21 ‘The servant returned and reported all this to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and told his servant, “Go out at once into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring back the poor, the disabled, the blind and the lame.”

22 ‘The servant said, “Sir, your order has been carried out, and there is still room for more.”

23 ‘The master replied to the servant, “Go out into the country roads and along the hedgerows, and urge them to come in so that my house may be full.”

24 ‘But I tell all of you; none of those who were invited will taste my banquet.’[5]

The cost of being a disciple of al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)

25 Great crowds were walking along with ‘Īsā. He turned and said to them, 26‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate their own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters[6], and even their own life, that person cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry their cross[7]and come after me cannot be my disciple.

28 ‘If one of you wants to build a tower, won’t you first sit down and calculate the cost to see whether you’ve got enough to finish it? 29 Otherwise you won’t be able to complete the building after having laid the foundation. Everybody who sees it will laugh at you. 30 They will say, “This person started to build and was not able to complete it.”

31 ‘Or if a king is on his way to fight a battle against another king, won’t he first sit down and work out whether he is strong enough with ten thousand soldiers to face the king who is coming against him with twenty thousand? 32And if he’s not strong enough, he will send an envoy to ask for peace while the other king is still a long way off. 33 In the same way, anyone of you who does not give up all that you have, cannot be my disciple.

34 ‘Salt is good. But if it loses its saltiness[8], how can it become salty again? 35 It’s no use for the soil or the manure heap - it will be thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear!’

 

[1]The Sabbath was the seventh day of the week (Saturday) and was the day Allah had commanded the Ban-i Isrā’īl to set aside as a day of rest and worship. See Taurāt, Exodus 20:8-11, Leviticus 23:3,

There are six days in which to do work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day for holy assembly. You must not do any work.

[2]Oedema is an abnormal swelling due to excess fluid under the skin.

[3]Or ‘resurrection’.

[4]See the note at 13:29 and the quotation there from the Book of the ProphetIsaiah 25:6-8. See also Appendix D, ‘The Kingdom of Allah’.

[5]V24 could be part of the master’s speech in the parable, or Sayyidnā ‘Īsā’s comment and application after the end of the parable.

[6]Al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)is not teaching that we literally have to hate the members of our family. He taught that people should, ‘honour your father and mother’ (18:20) and ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Injīl, Mark 12:31) – which includes family members. What he is teaching here is that we must love ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)so much that our love, even for our family members and our own lives, will be like hatred in comparison. And if ever we have to choose between following our family and following ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu), we must choose to follow al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu).

[7]The cross was the Roman instrument of torturing and putting to death ordinary criminals. The criminal’s feet were attached, often by nails to the upright beam, while nails held the wrists to the cross beam. It was the custom for condemned criminals to carry their cross to the place of execution. When ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)speaks of his disciples taking up their cross, he is nottalking about the custom some Christians have adopted of wearing an ornamental cross. Rather he means that his disciples must die to themselves and their own desires and wishes every day.

[8]The verb, ‘loses its saltiness’ usually has the meaning, ‘to become foolish’. It seems that al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)is saying that those who do not count the cost of being his disciples and then give up are fools and as useless as salt that has lost its saltiness.