Sunday, March 6
Luke 14 — Healing, Humility, Feasting & Cost
1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.
5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, 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 the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed are those who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
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. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry 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.’
22 “ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ “
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even life itself—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 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. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Points of Interest:
- (v.5) “will you not immediately pull it out”—Jesus is saying, “I just figured you’d think it was a great idea to help this person on the Sabbath, since you helped your ox out of trouble last Sabbath.” If they, strict as they are about the Sabbath, wouldn’t leave their child—or even their ox—in a well for an extra day, then why should God leave his children in the clutches of Satan, or disease, or sin one day longer than necessary? Jesus continues to reinforce the fact that the Sabbath is not a day to do nothing, but rather a day for God’s kingdom, which involves healing and rescuing people.
- (v.7) “noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table”—apparently, there’s something of an undignified scramble for the best seats. Similar to so many other instances already in our study, Jesus doesn’t criticize their desire for honor, but their methods of obtaining it. First of all, it’s not really honor if you seize it, rather than having it given to you. Secondly, by trying to seize honor for yourself, you leave open the strong possibility of receiving humiliation instead, if your own sense of your honor is higher than your host’s.
- (v.33) “those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples”—following Jesus is a life-altering decision. It makes life better, but it has a definite affect on your entire life. Following Jesus can’t just be a side project or something you get to when you have the time.
- (v.34) “if it loses its saltiness”—salt has a distinctive flavor, and that’s what makes it useful. Likewise, following Jesus should make an actual difference in your life. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Taking it home:
- For you: Would you like to be more respected or honored? Don’t be afraid to be honest; Jesus doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with wanting honor. According to Him, the best way to get it is to find someone more unnoticed than you and honor them. Who could you show some honor to today?
- For your Six: In this passage, we get the picture that God is throwing a huge party. He’s inviting everyone He can. All He wants is for that party to be full. Pray that your Six would hear of God’s invitation, say yes, and step into the party He has for them.
- For our church/ILTJ: Pray that we would be good salt, bringing some of the distinctive—and pleasant—flavor of the kingdom of God into our church. Ask God to give us wisdom about the next step ahead for us as we are being God’s salt in our city.
- To Talk About: Letting others go first or have the best of something can be really hard. It seems our natural instinct is to want to be first in line, have the largest piece of cake, sit in the front seat of the car, be the favorite, etc. Jesus challenges us that really the place of greatest honor is when we step back and let others go first or have the biggest piece of cake.
- To Do: Who is someone you can honor this week by simply letting them go first in line at school or the grocery store? Maybe noticing someone who needs help around you and offering that person something of yours? Being ok with going last or sitting in the back seat? All without complaining or drawing attention to yourself? Ask God to show you opportunities to honor others this week in ways that may even surprise them and you.