Luke 14

Luke 14 records yet another run in with the religious leaders on another Sabbath.  Seems that these things are happening on the Sabbath a lot.  A man with dropsy needs to be healed, and Jesus asks the leaders what to do.  Of course they “could not reply to these things”, or probably more likely, they would not reply since they were once again cornered by the truth.  Jesus is masterful at using the power of questioning to get His point across.  So often He turns the tables and helps people figure out the right answer by asking a question or two.  We can learn much from that example.  He then goes on to give a couple parables about being invited to a meal.  Here is Jesus’ hospitality guidance: “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Bottom line is we are to live with humility and not put ourselves higher than we deserve.  If there is any exultation to happen, it should be done by the host.  Of course He is teaching the religious rulers how they should act in regard to God, the church and their lives in general.  They had a habit of believing the world revolved around them and that they were the center of the known universe.  They weren’t, nor are we.  We need to listen carefully to His teaching on that.

He goes on to give another story where a great banquet has been prepared and the guests invited.  But no one is showing up – they all have excuses.  Ever experienced that before – the excuse users – who have an excuse for every occasion.  In this case:

–       “I have bought a field

–       I have bought five yoke of oxen

–       I have married a wife

OK – maybe that third one is close to a valid excuse.  No, not really.  What do all these have in common?  They start with “I”.  The focus is on self and not on the banquet host.  The excuses, while they may be valid, are self-centered and frankly are convenience.  Isn’t that true with most of the excuses we come up with.  They are convenient ways for us to get out of doing something or other.  I can’t because……you know the drill.  You probably have used it today.  Jesus hits it head on with these words: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple…. any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple”.  Any questions?  He is pretty clear that we had better learn to take our focus off self if we intend to follow Him.  Those two things can’t exist together.  It is either Jesus or me.  Me better lose out every time.  The world tells us all the time that life is all about us.  Scripture is very clear that life is not about you, or me.  It is about Jesus and we need to live that way!

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