Archive for July 15th, 2017

Luke 14

Luke 14 has Jesus again dining at the house of one of the Pharisees.  And they were all watching Him carefully to see how they might trip Him up.  Jesus heals a man with dropsy on that Sabbath day, and of course is accused of violating the law.  But Jesus schools them on what is important, and how they ought to live – not focused on themselves – but on loving those in their patch.  He also teaches on humility: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted”.  Scripture teaches much about pride and humility.  It is a quality that God desires each of us to have.

Jesus then gets personal with His host, and tells a parable about hospitality.  Jesus saw that His host chose his guests from a sense of exclusion and pride, rather than a general love for people around him.  We should not associate only with people who have the ability to do something for us.  That isn’t the basis for how we should interact.  Jesus teaches that we need to be centered on others and using what we have to bless those around us.  In His parable, the man invites a select few but “they all alike began to make excuses”:

  • I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused
  • I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused
  • I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come

The master is frustrated.  Excuses are made for convenience.  The offer was great, but the invited would not accept the invitation.

So the master instructs his servants to “Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame”.  Jesus is beginning to make His point – that those who will be included in heaven’s banquet won’t be the people that the Pharisees think deserve to be invited, but redeemed sinners with the normal problems of life. Jesus points out God’s heart for man as the parable continues.  “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled”.  God desires His house to be full.  From an evangelistic perspective, Jesus is telling us to go where the people are and share the gospel story boldly.  People need to understand the invitation, but also the reality of failing to respond.

As Jesus wraps up His teaching in the chapter, He gets laser focused on what it means to be a disciple – a Christ Follower.  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 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”.  Following Jesus is about much more than saying yes to His offer of salvation through grace.

Jesus uses some strong illustrations here to drive home the point that being a Christ Follower or disciple is not simply responding to an invitation:

  1. It is focused on relationship.  Jesus must be first.  Other relationships must be of lower priority than the one with our Lord.
  2. It focused on being willing to die for Him. Carrying a cross always led to death on a cross. No one carried a cross for fun.
  3. It focused on giving up our rights and stuff.  There is a cost to following Christ.

Jesus made it clear that only cross-bearers can be His disciples. We sometimes may understate the demands of Jesus when we present the gospel. We can give people the impression that coming to Jesus is only to believe in His grace instead of a yielded life.  That’s the Lordship of Christ – that we are to be disciples or Christ Followers where He is first, and only, and all things are His.  Are you truly living as a follower of Jesus?

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