Come to the Feast (Amos 9)
“The Party is Over!”
It can mean, “Its 2:00am and I've got to go to work in six hours. Besides, everyone is leaving and my wife is probably still up, you are out of eats and drinks.” Or it can mean, “It’s all over, the Fat Lady has sung, the curtain has gone down, and Mighty Casey has struck out!”
This second sense of “The Party is Over!” coincides with the context of Amos 9:11-15. God’s judgment of the temple. The prophet’s fifth and final vision. Amos 9:1: “I saw the LORD standing beside the altar and he said, ‘Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake.’” Make no mistake about it. The party is over!
And yet, after God’s judgment, He says, “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old” (v11). Judgment will give way to mercy. Death will give way to resurrection. God promises to raise up the fallen tabernacle of David!
Today we celebrate that He has done just that! There is nothing dead about Jesus. John's Gospel tells us that. • 1:4 – “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” • 6:35 – “I am the Bread of Life.” John 6:66 – “You have the words of eternal life.” • 10:10 – “I have come that they may have life.” • 11:25 – “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” • 14:6 – “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.”
Climactically Paul throws a triumphant fist up in the air and shouts, “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54).
Far from being over, this party has just begun. And make no mistake about this either, Jesus of Nazareth is the life of this party. He’s not some fable or fairy tale we’ve made up inside our head. He’s God the Son. He’s risen from the dead!
But every party brings questions. The first and most important question: who is invited?
Amos stresses that all are invited.
John Carlson is a Lutheran pastor in Minnesota. A few years ago he noticed that the Senior Prom was only the posh, preppy, powerful, polished, and popular kids. So he came up with the idea of holding a celebration for kids who couldn’t get a date because they weren’t all state and felt second rate! This prom was for them. Now Timex gives out watches to the kids who attend, other companies have joined in, and now it's more popular than the real prom! Carlson calls it the Reject Prom.
Been rejected lately? Told you don’t belong? Feeling second rate? Do you know about partner rejection? Peer rejection? Parental rejection? Parishioner rejection? Do you know about deep running personal-rejection? All are invited.
The next question, what about my appearance? Answer, come as you are. But, you say, “My face bears the marks of worry. My shoulders are stooped from burdens. My lips are dirty from slander. My heart is hardened toward my spouse and children. My fingers are stuck accusing my brother. My arteries are clogged with bitterness and resentment. I can't come as I am. I'm a spiritual mess!”
So am I. So was Israel. Israel of Amos’ day was clothed with this same disgrace of sin. But God said, “I will restore the fortunes of My [exiled, unworthy] people” (v14).
What we have lost in sin, God restores in resurrection. This is come as you are! Luke 15:22: “Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet let's have a feast and celebrate!” The Father provides the proper attire for prodigals. Easter baptismal robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb. Come just as you are.
Third, what about party gifts?? No Gifts, please. For this celebration we can bring nothing. He does it all! Luke 14:17 – “At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited,’ Come, for everything is now ready.’” (9:13). Abundance is yours!
No gifts because your God puts everything on the table. These gifts were purchased at the cost of spitting, mocking, whipping, nailing, bleeding, sweating, and dying. And now Jesus lives to give the gifts on this table. And what awesome gifts! True body and true blood through which we receive washing, cleansing, healing, and life forever!
It’s common to say at the end of a party something like, “All good things must come to an end.”
Not so with this party!
Amos maintains that this feast will never end: “They shall never again be uprooted “ (9:15).
“'All things are ready,' come to the feast! Come, for the door is open wide … Come, feast upon the love of God and drink everlasting life” (“All Things are Ready” 2, 4). Amen.