|Luke 14:1-24||Read Online|
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
There’s nothing worse than a hypocrite trying to judge others.
Jesus was surrounded by teachers of Law who invited him to a Sabbath feast. The meal took place at the house of a prominent teacher, whom I’m sure was proud to have Jesus at his house. It’s easier to watch those you’re trying to tear down up close and personal.
I can almost see the fake smiles and gestures.
There are two critical components to this story. First, it takes place on the Sabbath, a sacred day for Jesus’ audience. It’s a day meant to honor God, but it had been twisted to honor Law. An idol was made of the Law and propped up by the Pharisees—the teachers of the Old Testament Law. Jesus was readying Himself to tear it down.
Second, Jesus was being closely observed. Everyone was watching. The vultures were looming. It’s in this context that Jesus both demonstrated and illustrated the power of being considerate, compassionate, and gracious of others.
Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath while the vultures circled. In Jewish custom, healing was considered work, which was a clear violation of keeping the Sabbath holy. No holy man works on the Sabbath.
But Jesus made the point that to be considerate and kind is closer to the heart of God than the idol the Law had become. He emphasized the same point twice in subsequent passages.
This isn’t a lesson about dinner etiquette. It’s not a lecture on social justice. This is a confrontation on a lack of graciousness, compassion, and consideration to others. At its root, this is about love. It is about laying down our pre-eminence for others. It’s about dying to self.
Jesus was snubbed by the very people who invited Him to dine with them. He didn’t just see a lack of manners—He confronted a lack of love. How irritating is it when those who hate try to judge others on how to love?
You can almost see them lean in when Jesus spoke. He almost said, “Watch closely. Listen closely. Not just on any day. On THIS day.”
Jesus pointed out the Pharisees’ motive—they’re more than happy to work if it impacts their legacy (child) or income (oxen). Hypocrites.
He illustrated that the Pharisees claimed holiness couldn’t even get basic priorities straight. They jockeyed for position while the guest of honor wasn’t honored. They did Sabbath things without honoring the God of the Sabbath.
Jesus said it’s better to invite others who can appreciate this moment than let a day like the Sabbath, an opportunity at a banquet, or a conversation with the guest of honor go to waste.
I wonder—how often we go through the motions without keeping the intent of the Sabbath? How often do we mentally make restaurant reservations when the Word of God is presented? How often do we judge the dress or music or words without hearing the message?
- How can you apply this passage in your own life?
- What are ways you can honor the Sabbath?
- What does it mean to practically love others? What does it mean to you when you’re invited?
- Name one person you can reach out to that benefit from the love of God this Sunday.