John T. Willis

Monday, January 07, 2013

God's Meals are Indispensable--Luke 14:1-24

As Jesus traveled from Galilee Jerusalem, he came to an unnamed house of an unnamed LEADER of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the Sabbath. This led to three incidents, each dealing with the importance of a meal. This is recorded in Luke 14:1-24. Throughout scripture, meals are extremely important. One can immediately think of: Abraham's meal with the three unidentified men who declared that Abraham and Sarah will have a son in their old age (Genesis 18:1-15), the Passover meal when the Israelites abandoned Egypt to escape from heavy bondage for 450 years (Exodus 12:1-28, 41-51), manna and quail for 40 years in the wilderness (Numbers 11), the sacrificial meals at Shiloh once each year (1 Samuel 1), Elijah staying for three years with the poor widow at Zarephath in the land of Phoenicia (1 Kings 17:8-16), the Lord's Supper instituted shortly before the crucifixion (Luke 22:14-23), and the Christian love feasts (1 Corinthians 11:16-34; Jude 12). Meals, banquets, feasts lie at the heart of spiritual fellowship between God and human beings and beings and between individuals in various situations. Luke 14:1-24 falls into three paragraphs. I. Jesus heals a man with dropsy on the Sabbath. Luke 14:1-6. a. The Bible reports several events in which someone invites Jesus into that person's house to have a meal. Some who invited Jesus into their house were Pharisees. See Luke 5:29; 7:36; 10:38-42; 11:37. As Jesus was eating at this Pharisee's house, the Pharisees "were watching Jesus closely" to see whether he would keep the Sabbath or not. [See Luke 11:53-54]. 14:1. b. In the Pharisee's house, suddenly a man who had dropsy appeared before Jesus. Dropsy is edema, an abnormal accumulation of serous fluids in connective tissues or cavities of the body accompanied by swelling, distention, or defective circulation. 14:2. c. Knowing the thoughts of the lawyers and Pharisees [see John 2:24-25], Jesus asked them to state whether it is lawful to cure people on the Sabbath or not. This question amounts to asking: Should one help or harm another person on the Sabbath? 14:3. d. The lawyers and Pharisees refused to respond, indicating that they knew that God wants all people to help people every day of the week, including the Sabbath. So, Jesus actively helped a person by healing the man with dropsy. 14:4. e. Jesus confronts the lawyers and Pharisees with the question: Would you help a child or an ox that had fallen into a well on the Sabbath? It is obvious that anyone would help this child or this animal. The Pharisees and lawyers could not reply, because they knew very well that healing a person on the Sabbath was a good thing. [NOTE: This is just another example in the Bible that God looks with disfavor on one assuming the position of a LEADER. God wants all his people to be disciples, followers, learners. God our Father through Jesus Christ is our ONLY LEADER, our ONLY HEAD, our ONLY KING]. 14:5-6. II. Humility is the First Letter in the Christian Alphabet. Luke 14:7-14. a. Still sitting at the table of the unnamed Pharisee in Luke 14:1, Jesus addressed the guests at this table who chose the places of honor by declaring a parable. Luke emphasizes the danger when people seek to be treated with honor rather than attempting to help the poor and needy. See Luke 11:43; 20:46. 14:7. b. Jesus teaches his true followers [disciples, servants] to voluntarily and gladly take "the lowest place," and to resist the strong temptation to "sit down at the place of honor." God our Father through Jesus Christ is the only one who can and should and must make the choice of who may sit at HIS table. His message lies at the heart of godly living: "All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." In The Gospel according to Luke X-XXIV, The Anchor Bible 28A [1985], page 1045, writes: "Real honor will come not from one's self-seeking choices, but from what is bestowed on one by another. Honor before one's peers comes not from what one does on one's own behalf, but depends on the estimate others have of one. . . . The attitude of Christian disciples should be humility, not status-seeking." 14:8-11. c. Jesus then turned to the unnamed Pharisee who invited Jesus into his house for this meal, and said: When you give a luncheon [a midday meal], a dinner, or a banquet, do not invite your friends or relatives or rich neighbors in order that they may be invited that you will come into their homes. Rather, invite to your meals the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, because they are not able to repay you; but you will receive a much greater reward from God "at the resurrection of the righteous." God loves all people and in particular in concerned about the welfare of the neglected, the needy, the widow, the orphan, the alien. See Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 16:11-14; 26:11-13. 14:12-14. III. Jesus' Parable of the Great Dinner. Luke 14:15-24. a. When Jesus has finished his teaching in Luke 14:7-14, one of the dinner guests at the house of the unnamed Pharisee who invited Jesus to the meal, one of the dinner guests said: "Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God." Luke 13:29 already alluded to the kingdom banquet. 14:15. b. Jesus responded to proclaiming a parable. Someone gave a dinner and invited many people. When the meal was prepared, this individual sent one of his servants to tell all those invited that it was time for them to arrive. This calls to mind Esther's invitation to ask people to come to her banquet in Esther 5:8; 6:14. 14:16-17. c. When the slave appeared to invite the guests, many made excuses because they did not want to come. (1) The first excuse was that this person had just bought a piece of land and was going to try it out. (2) The second excuse was that this person had just bought five yoke of oxen and was going to them them out. (3) The third excuse was that he could not come to the banquet because he had just gotten married. [On the third excuse, see Deuteronomy 20:7; 24:5]. 14:18-20. d. The slave returned to his master and gave this report. The master became very angry, and immediately told the servant to go into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. The slave did this, and told the master that there was still room for the banquet. The master immediately told his servant to go to the roads and lanes and compel anyone to come until his house is filled. Then he declared that those who refused this invitation will never taste his dinner. 14:21-24. e. The host in this parable is God our Father through Jesus Christ. The banquet is the gospel which God our Father has given throughout history and especially in Jesus Christ our Lord. The poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame, and anyone else who will gladly come to this banquet are the true followers of God in contrast to those who assume they are the righteous, those who assume they are above all other people. What an important message all of us need every day. PLEASE contemplate on this great text in Luke 14. Share YOUR misgivings and understandings and failures and wishes and dreams with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


Post a Comment

<< Home