Thursday, February 28, 2013

Luke 14 - Sabbath Healing, All Invited to God's Feast, and the Cost of Discipleship

LINK: Luke 14

BACKGROUND

155. Jesus heals a man with swollen limbs: Luke 14:1-6

The man had dropsy, a medical condition that we now call edema which is a buildup of fluid in the tissues.  Many commentators believe that the Pharisees asked this man to the dinner in order to trap him because a person could be arrested for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus did heal the man because it was appropriate to do so regardless of what day it was.

156. Jesus teaches about seeking honor: Luke 14:7-14

Jesus taught that we should not seek honor of any kind. The Son of man came to serve and give his life for the ransom of many (Mark 10:45), and we should do the same.  He also taught that we should not be exclusive and that God opens His kingdom to everyone. I am sure that was shocking for the Pharisees to hear!

157. Jesus tells the parable of the great festival: Luke 14:15-24

Many of the people at the home of the Pharisee probably thought they were a shoe-in for presence in God's kingdom, but Jesus was explaining in this parable that many of the people would not be there and that Gentiles and outcasts would take their places!  

It was customary to send two invitations to an event. One was to announce it, and the other was to tell the guests that everything was ready. God's first invitation came with Moses and the prophets. The Pharisees accepted this invitation. The second came with his Son telling them that the kingdom of God was at hand, but they rejected Him. The master in the parable sent his servant out to invite the needy to the banquet, so God sent His only Son for the whole world of needy people, including the Gentiles!

158. Jesus teaches about the cost of being a disciple: Luke 14:25-35

Jesus taught that discipleship is costly. He was not saying that one must literally "hate" his or her family because this would violate the Law (and He came to fulfill it). He meant that loyalty to Him was more important than loyalty to family or even to their own life!

Jesus exhorted that one must "carry his cross." This has an interesting background:

When the Roman Empire crucified a criminal or captive, the victim was often forced to carry his cross part of the way to the crucifixion site. Carrying his cross through the heart of the city was supposed to be a tacit admission that the Roman Empire was correct in the sentence of death imposed on him, an admission that Rome was right and he was wrong. So when Jesus enjoined His followers to carry their crosses and follow Him, He was referring to a public display before others that Jesus was right and that the disciples were following Him even to their deaths. This is exactly what the religious leaders refused to do. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, p. 243)

He concluded with three word pictures about building a tower, going to war, and salt that illustrate discipleship includes planning and sacrifice in order to have true impact and value. 

REFLECTION

I never hated my family, but I did not grow up in a Christ-centered home. Sometimes following Christ was tough at family gatherings when the alcohol flowed and the dirty jokes ensued. I did not always like it.

One Christmas, after a dirty joke was told at the meal. I excused myself and went to cry in my grandmother's bathroom. My mother followed. My mom was the only one who was sympathetic to my desire to follow God with all my heart. I cried and poured my heart out to her out about how I did not fit in my family anymore. 

She looked at me and said, "Carol, don't you think God put you in this family for a reason?" 

Over the course of the next few years, my mom, dad, and one of my brothers came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and started walking with Him. I did not testify to them perfectly, but I did love Jesus more than them, and it made all the difference. 

APPLICATION

Have you counted the cost of following Jesus?

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for giving us life through our parents. I pray for anyone reading this to continue to persevere in prayer for their unbelieving family members and to continue to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. In His name I pray, Amen.



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