Disability and the marginalisation of God in the Parable of the Snubbed Host (Luke 14.15-24)

James Metzger


The parable, rendered by the interpretive tradition in glowing terms, is often enlisted to underwrite theologies of liberation and radical inclusion grounded in God’s indiscriminate love as well as social programs that advance the interests of the poor and disabled. It is argued here, however, that for disabled people the story may offer little if any ‘good news’ at all. Although it appears that the Lukan Jesus wishes to communicate God’s preferential option for the poor and disabled, the parable fails rhetorically to achieve this objective, undermining in part his project of bringing ‘good news’ to Roman Palestine’s ‘poor ... captives ... blind ... [and] oppressed’ while disclosing a latent frustration of his own with the deity. While the parable may fail to convince that God is favorably disposed toward the disabled, Jesus’ own attitude is much more ambivalent, one that couples paternalism and an ideology of similitude with profound empathy for disabled persons in pain.


Luke 14:15-24

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391