About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 14:1-14   ch. 15:15-25     ch. 15:26-34

Jesus At A Pharisees House (ch. 14:1 - 14)

Chapter 14 begins with yet another meal that Jesus ate at a Phariseeís house, and yes, it was on the Sabbath. Jesus seemed to have gotten many free meals from the sect of the Pharisees. Once again, I need to note that Jesus was not inhibited by the Pharisees, and neither did He not want to visit with them. His time spent with these men actually enhanced Godís judgement against them.

In verse 1 we see the real reason why Jesus was invited to this manís home. Luke says that "He was being carefully watched". The Pharisees had a never ending desire to trap Jesus in the things He said and did.

There was a man with a certain illness called "dropsy". Was this man placed here to tempt Jesus? Possibly, although when the Pharisees got together for such meals, visitors could and would often drop by and watch. These visitors probably made the Pharisees feel important.

Jesus decided to take the initiative Himself on the subject of healing on the Sabbath. He did not wait until the subject came up, or at least it appears this way. Jesus asked, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not"?

The Pharisees "remained silent" according to Luke. Why were they silent? Maybe because they have had this discussion before and was humiliated by Jesus. Or maybe, they just wanted to wait and see if Jesus was going to heal the man and catch Him on some technicality.

So in the midst of the silent Pharisees and teachers of the Law, Jesus "healed the man and sent him away".

In verse 5 Jesus answered His own question concerning healing on the Sabbath. He used similar reasoning to the last time this situation came up. He asked the men in the room if they had an ox that fell into a hole, would they not help the ox out, even if it was on a Sabbath day?

Either the Pharisees and the teachers had no response or else Jesus didnít give them a chance to respond. They were once again silent.

Luke tells us that once Jesus noted the guests who sat at the table to eat, He told yet another story. Jesus tells the story of a guest being invited to a dinner. The guest takes the best seat at the table, thinking that he was the most important guest. Yet someone else more important comes to the dinner and the host has to tell the person in the most important seat to move to another seat, thus humiliating him in front of everyone.

Jesus said that when being invited to dinner, take the lowest seat. If by chance you are the most important guest, then the host will elevate you to a better seat which will in turn make you look good in front of everyone. What Jesus is saying sounds very logical, but when human nature is involved logic sometimes falls by the wayside. The men at that table all felt very important and most likely could have even jostled for the best seat in the house.

Jesus concluded in verse 11, "for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted". The posture of man should be one of humility. In fact Jesus is the prime example of this. If we humble ourselves, God at some point will exalt us. It may or may not be in this life time. Just when the exaltation takes place is in Godís hands. We are not to worry about that. Our job is to go about serving Jesus with humility. Sad to say that does not happen as often as it should in our world, and in our churches. Our church structure even fights against humility. From the elevation of the pulpit, special garments of pastors, to lofty titles, it all supports a system of exaltation and pride.

Jesus had just spoken to the guests at this dinner table. Now in verse 12 to the end of this section he speaks to the host of the dinner, the Pharisee. After noting that the Pharisee had only invited important guests, he suggested to him that he should begin to inviteS poor people, and those who had no ability to repay him. The guests that were at this particular table all had the financial ability to repay this Pharisee.

Poor people could not repay this host, but Jesus said that God could repay him at the resurrection. This tells us something concerning the timing of Godís exaltation to the people who humble themselves. He may just exalt these people at the resurrection of the dead. Therefore we should not even worry about being exalted in this life. If our goal to serve is to be exalted in this life time, then we will not be exalted in the resurrection of the dead.

The Parable Of The Great Banquet (ch. 14:15 - 25)

After hearing what Jesus had just said, one man in the audience said, "blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the Kingdom of God"" It is thus clear that some understood, at least to a degree what Jesus was speaking about concerning the things of the Kingdom.

In verse 16 Jesus replied with another story. The story goes like this. A man invited guests to his great feast. When the feast was ready, he sent messengers out to the invited guests saying that the meal was ready. But most of the guests could not come. One had just bought a field and had to tend to his purchase. Another had just bought some oxen and had to look after them. And another said that he just got married and could not attend the meal.

The messenger returned to his master with the news that no one could come to the feast. Upon hearing this news the master was very angry and ordered the messenger to go out into the streets and find whoever he could to come, even if they were poor, lame and blind. So the messenger did as he was told.

Although he found some to come to the meal, he told his master that there was still room for more people. So the master told the servant to leave the city and go into the country side and find people to come to his meal.

The master said in verse 24, "not one of those men who I invited will get a taste of my banquet".

As in many of the parables that Jesus told, He gave no explanation to their meaning, this one included. It is pretty evident though what Jesus was talking about. The invited guests were the Jews. The people on the street who were poor, lame and blind, as well as those in the countryside are Gentiles. The Gentiles are described as poor, lame and blind because they had no knowledge of God as the Jews did.

It is then clear that the Jews in Jesus day would not partake of the great feast in the future Kingdom of God. This is a generalized statement because we do know that some Jews did accept Jesus and His teaching. Yet in a general sense, the Jews in that day would be judged for their rejection of Jesus. Also, as earlier stated, the killing of all the prophets of old would fall on the shoulders of that generation of Jews. That generation would not eat of the great feast to come.

The Cost Of Being A Disciple (ch. 14:25 - 34)

In verse 25 Luke notes that large crowds were following Jesus. It appears that as time went on, and as Jesus got closer to Jerusalem, the crowds got larger. Seeing these crowds, and also knowing that they may have been following Him but werenít really true disciples, Jesus had to address the issue of what a real disciple is.

In verse 26 Jesus said some very strong, and even hard words to figure out. He told the crowds that if any of them wanted to "come to Him", that is follow Him, then theyíd have to "hate" their father, mother, wife, brother, and sister. Many have tried to suggest that Jesus did not really mean to hate your family. The question then should be asked, "why did He use the word hate". The word is not "dislike", but "hate".

When we look at the rest of the Bible we understand that we are to love our family. Paul said that if we didnít look after them, weíd be worse than unbelievers. It is thus clear that Jesus is not telling us to hate in the sense of being nasty and rejecting our family members.

Yet at the same time we need to put things into a Godly perspective. Even Jesus, earlier in Luke when asked about his family said, "my mother and brother are those who hear me and do what I say". Jesus loved His mother, that I am sure of, yet at the same time there was a measure of separation. His mother could not come between Him fulfilling His task from His Heavenly Father.

The same is true for us. We love our family, yet we are also part of another family that is just as real as our physical family, and that family has a Father in Heaven. No member of our physical family should get in the way of us serving Jesus. With this in mind, part of our job of serving Jesus is loving our family, yet at times, Jesus will take pre-eminence over our family.

What Jesus was telling these people was that if you really want to follow me, there might be a problem with you and your family. The rest of your family might not agree with your choice to follow me, and that will bring division among you. Jesus had already mentioned this earlier in Luke. If your father hates you for following me, then you will follow me anyway. There is a cost to be paid for following Jesus. This is what "hate""mean" in this context.

It is not only his family that the disciple should hate, but he should also hate "his own life". You do not consider your life worthwhile in itself. Your life only has worth when it is associated with Jesus.

One last point concerning the word "hate". I think Jesus is somewhat upset with the crowd. Jesus did get upset, and it seems even more so in this last year of ministry. It is from this emotion that He uses such strong language. Maybe on a different occasion, to different people, He would have expressed Himself in a less dramatic way.

Jesus went on to say that anyone who is not willing to take up his cross is not worthy of being a disciple. The cross is in reference to the suffering that Jesus would go through while hanging on the cross. Death came to Him while on the cross. We all have our cross to carry and to bare. This means that whatever that cross is, it will produce death in us. It will produce death to our selfish and natural tendencies. At the same time as Jesus died, He was also resurrected. Our cross will produce death to self, but will also produce a new life of the Spirit.

We donít hear much today about the cross. We hear more about prosperity, and how we can succeed in life. But Jesus makes it plain. A disciple of His will be faced with his own cross. At that moment in time the person will make a decision to endure the cross or lay it aside. If you lay the cross aside, you fail in your attempt to follow Jesus.

The cross of Jesus means that on a daily basis we will be faced with this question. "In this particular circumstance, will I follow my own self interests, or will I follow the interest of Jesus"? A true disciple will lay aside his own ego, his own will, his own desire, and do what is Biblically correct.

To me, when Jesus uses the term "carry your cross", He must have known ahead of time that He would literally carry the cross in which He died on through the streets of Jerusalem. Many might wonder how much Jesus knew concerning His future and His death. I believe He knew a lot, even that He would carry His cross.

On the other hand, Romans killed people on the cross all the time, and seeing someone carrying that cross might be somewhat common place. So when Jesus used this term, the crowd might have understood the meaning of His words.

In verse 28 to 30 Jesus gave an analogy of what He was talking about. He told the story of a man building a tower. The man would first have to sit down and count the cost of the tower. Will he have enough funds to finish the job? If he runs out of money half way through the project, he would be ridiculed and seen as a failure.

In verses 31 and 32 Jesus gave another analogy of what He is talking about. He spoke of a king going to war against another king. The king would have to sit down and see if he has enough man power to fight the battle. If he doesnít then he will attempt to settle the dispute by peaceful means.

Jesus is telling the crowd that if in normal circumstances people sit down and count the cost, how much more should you count the cost about following Him. In reality there was a big cost involved. Many of those who became disciples followed in Jesusí footsteps and were murdered for their association with Him.

In verse 33 Jesus said that "in the same way anyone who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple". Does this mean that we sell everything we have and have nothing? I donít think so. It means that we should give up the right to all we have. It means we should not be so emotionally attached to everything we have, because this attachment in many cases gets in the way to serving Jesus. There is nothing wrong with having things, but there is something wrong when those things hinder us from properly serving Jesus as we should

Modern Evangelicalism has made it very easy for people to become Christians, just repeat a simply prayer, just raise your hand while everyone has their eyes closed. Yet if Jesus were here today at the front of a church sanctuary would he make emotional pleads to get people saved. Would He play "Just As I Am" a number of times to create an atmosphere. According to this passage, Jesus made it very hard to become one of his disciples.

Jesus ends His comments by saying once salt loses its saltiness it is good for nothing except the garbage bag. What He is saying is that we must count the cost of being a disciple. We should do so because if we quit half way through, we are worthy of the Kingdom of God. 

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