Summary: Jesus eats with religious people
34. Who is Jesus?
May 01st, 2010
Dinner with Jesus
We are back in our series through Luke looking at the life and mission of Jesus. Last week we had a great Easter service, record attendance. Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the Gospels we are going to see more religious people. Jesus comes to earth to carry out the mission of God. He comes to heal, to restore, to perform miracles, and to prepare us for the coming of the kingdom of God. Every step of the way the religious people oppose Him. All throughout the Gospel of Luke we see that Jesus doing the work of God and the religious people fighting against Him. These guys never seem to learn. It all starts when Jesus is invited to the house of Pharisee for dinner.
Luke 14:1. This is the last of three times we see Jesus having a meal with a Pharisee. The first two meals Jesus has just laid these guys out shaming them for the hypocrisy and lack of compassion. We define insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results, so these guys are insane. They keep trying to corner Jesus. They keep trying to catch Him doing something wrong and every time they try it blows up in their face. You would think: intelligent, well educated people would learn to stop picking fights with Jesus when they lose every time.
This is cool though: even though they don’t get along Jesus still spent time with the Pharisees. He doesn’t just hang around the people He likes. Jesus willingly ministers and teaches hostile, frustrating people. He still treats them with love, granted tough love but love. Being like Jesus means that just because someone is an antagonist in your life doesn’t mean you treat them like an enemy. Jesus loves everyone, religious people included. So should we.
Lk 14:1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away. Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” Lk 14:6 And they had nothing to say.
The Pharisees who are the ultra conservative religious party invite Jesus over for a meal. These guys are looking for a fight and just waiting for Jesus to give them the opportunity. They are like a pack of hyenas trying to catch the lion off guard so they can attack. It’s Sabbath. The Jews have had this battle with Jesus so many times already. It is painful. These religious people are like the social awkward guy who philosophy with girls if you cant sweep them off their feet just wear them down. If you ask enough they will yes just to get you to leave them alone. Here there are, they wont change the subject, they wont change their minds, and they cant focus on anything else. So they set up to fight Jesus over the Sabbath again. That is the religious strategy. Just fight until you wear the other person down, and they will surrender.
While on His way to the Pharisee’s house Jesus comes across a man with dropsy. Dropsy is a condition where a person’s body or body parts swell up due to an excessive accumulation of fluid. So this guy is bloated up like the Stay Puft marshmallow man. Today we refer to this condition as an edema. Dropsy is not a disease, it is a symptom of various other diseases and usually indicates a heart, kidney, or liver problem. This swelling can be very painful and can make moving or working difficult, depending on what problem causes the edema it can be fatal.
Instead of just healing the guy then battling with the religious leaders, Jesus puts them on the spot. He poses the question is it lawful to heal, to do good on the Sabbath? They were looking to trap Jesus but Jesus ends up trapping them. They want Jesus to heal on the Sabbath so they can accuse Him of breaking their law. So they cant say it is lawful to heal. But at the same time they cant say it is unlawful as that doesn’t make any sense. How can it be unlawful to do good? Plus calling healing unlawful would reveal the truth: their law is not about doing good but about power and control. So Jesus tosses the obvious contradiction in their laws right in their faces and they remain silent.