A Sunday School Lesson: The Three Excuses – Part 2

By Sidney Terhune - Religion Columnist

Take your Bible KJV and turn to Luke 14:19: “And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke (pairs) of oxen and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.’”

Well, this man had proven them before he bought them. He had looked them over and was satisfied that the oxen were good. When he had paid for them, he brought them home. Now that he was going to use the oxen, he first had to dedicate them. In the statement, I go to prove them, “prove” does not mean try out. It means dedicate. In keeping with his religious practice, he was going to take the oxen to the ground where he would use them. There he would build an altar of brick and, along with those who accompanied him, have a prayer meeting. He would pray that God would bless the oxen and keep them from every disease so that together they could work and glorify God.

At this particular time, however, there was a supper to which he had been invited. He did not attend because he chose to go to the ground and seek the Kingdom of God first by dedicating the oxen. He had the same background as the first man (Verse 18) and declined the supper invitation for all the same reasons.

The significance of the whole account (Luke 14:15-24) is in its spiritual application. In reality, it has nothing to do with eating food and drinking liquid. It is Christ talking, and the invitation is to salvation. It is to eat of the Bread of Heaven, and drink of the Water of Life.

Three men would give excuses based on their religious culture. They were religious but not spiritual. They had a form of godliness without power. They had eyes and ears, but they could neither see nor hear. Being bound in dead Orthodoxy, they were contentious about the letter of the law, but they were strangers to the Spirit of the law. They were not born of the Holy Spirit.

Christ wants us to see via this parable that a man is not saved by observing religious principles. He is not saved by religious formalities and exercises. He is saved by breaking bread, as it were, with the Saviour. Salvation comes from a person—Christ Jesus, the Lord. [Hint: Generally when a Bible mentions “Jesus Christ,” it refers to Jesus between his birth up to and including his crucifixion. After God resurrects Jesus, he is referred to as “Christ Jesus.” Salvation comes by way of Christ Jesus—not Jesus Christ. (Rom 10:9).]

The subject of PART THREE will be the “married” excuse. Take your Bible NIV and turn to Luke 14:20, “Still another said I just got married, so I can’t come.” Stay tuned. Amen.

Sidney Terhune

P. O. Box 6 Wash. Ct. Hs., OH

By Sidney Terhune

Religion Columnist