Welcome! Thank you for joining me. Today is the 14th day of December and for the 24 days of advent, we’ll be reflecting on the gospel according to Luke together. We’ll be reading a chapter a day and reflecting on what we read. Here are the links to the past 13 days worth of blog posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
Let’s now read Luke 14. I’m using Bible Gateway’s Good News Translation, but you can follow along using any translation you like.
Jesus Heals a Sick Man
One Sabbath Jesus went to eat a meal at the home of one of the leading Pharisees; and people were watching Jesus closely. A man whose legs and arms were swollen came to Jesus, and Jesus spoke up and asked the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, “Does our Law allow healing on the Sabbath or not?” But they would not say a thing. Jesus took the man, healed him, and sent him away. Then he said to them, “If any one of you had a child or an ox that happened to fall in a well on a Sabbath, would you not pull it out at once on the Sabbath itself?” But they were not able to answer him about this.
Humility and Hospitality
Jesus noticed how some of the guests were choosing the best places, so he told this parable to all of them: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place. It could happen that someone more important than you has been invited, and your host, who invited both of you, would have to come and say to you, ‘Let him have this place.’ Then you would be embarrassed and have to sit in the lowest place. Instead, when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that your host will come to you and say, ‘Come on up, my friend, to a better place.’ This will bring you honor in the presence of all the other guests. For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.” Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors—for they will invite you back, and in this way you will be paid for what you did. When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; and you will be blessed, because they are not able to pay you back. God will repay you on the day the good people rise from death.”
The Parable of the Great Feast
When one of the guests sitting at the table heard this, he said to Jesus, “How happy are those who will sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God!” Jesus said to him, “There was once a man who was giving a great feast to which he invited many people. When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell his guests, ‘Come, everything is ready!’ But they all began, one after another, to make excuses. The first one told the servant, ‘I have bought a field and must go and look at it; please accept my apologies.’ Another one said, ‘I have bought five pairs of oxen and am on my way to try them out; please accept my apologies.’ Another one said, ‘I have just gotten married, and for that reason I cannot come.’ The servant went back and told all this to his master. The master was furious and said to his servant, ‘Hurry out to the streets and alleys of the town, and bring back the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ Soon the servant said, ‘Your order has been carried out, sir, but there is room for more.’ So the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the country roads and lanes and make people come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you all that none of those who were invited will taste my dinner!’”
The Cost of Being a Disciple
Once when large crowds of people were going along with Jesus, he turned and said to them, “Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well. Those who do not carry their own cross and come after me cannot be my disciples. If one of you is planning to build a tower, you sit down first and figure out what it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job. If you don’t, you will not be able to finish the tower after laying the foundation; and all who see what happened will make fun of you. ‘You began to build but can’t finish the job!’ they will say. If a king goes out with ten thousand men to fight another king who comes against him with twenty thousand men, he will sit down first and decide if he is strong enough to face that other king. If he isn’t, he will send messengers to meet the other king to ask for terms of peace while he is still a long way off. In the same way,” concluded Jesus, “none of you can be my disciple unless you give up everything you have.
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It is no good for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown away. Listen, then, if you have ears!”
What struck you in this chapter? I’d love to hear from you.
I noticed that the ‘cost of being a disciple’ is mentioned again. So, although important I won’t repeat myself as I’ve already written about this in a previous blog post. As I was reading this chapter I was interested in the Hospitality and Humility section. I was interested because we don’t very often invite people we dislike to our parties, do we? Not personal parties anyway. Church parties might be different, and I suppose should be. I’m not suggesting for a moment that the marginalized are unlikable. The chapter is encouraging the reader to make efforts to invite even those who can’t pay you back or return the favour. The same applies, I believe, to communion. We can’t pay Jesus back for what He did on the cross. He offers us eternal life for free. He invites us all to His table because He knows that the rich and poor, leaders and oppressed, are equally unable to return the cost of the banquet. As communion is a small token of the feasts and banquets and parties in heaven, we need to share it with others. We should be extending grace to others when having communion, or parties, etc.
Oh, and remember, you can’t have humility without first being humbled. Praise God when He humbles you.