Summary: Jesus teaches a lesson on the Christian Virtue of Genuine Christ like Humility. He tells us that A. We can possess a life of humility. B. First we have to see ourselves realistically C. We have to see ourselves in Him - In Christ.
Scripture: Luke 14:1-14 (cf. verses 7-11)
Theme: Table Talks about Humility
Title: Eating Humble Pie and loving it!
Proposition: Jesus teaches a lesson on Humility. He tells us that 1. We can possess a life of humility. 2. First we have to see ourselves realistically 3. We have to see ourselves in Him - In Christ.
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sins of the world.
You can learn a lot listening to people while you share a meal with them. In fact, it can prove to be a life transforming experience. In Luke chapters 14 -16 we discover Jesus sharing space with various types of people. He is welcomed by Pharisees and scribes, tax collectors and sinners. He is surrounded by his disciples and large crowds of people. Most of his encounters in these chapters revolve around meals, banquets and social gatherings.
In our passage this morning Jesus had been invited to the home of a wealthy Pharisee ruler for a Sabbath meal. Normally, such an invitation was an act to forward your relationship with that person. It was a way to deepen communication and personal connection. However, in this case, it appears to be more of an act of treachery and malice. The real reason our Pharisee ruler invited Jesus to his house was to ambush him. He and his friends thought they had laid a perfect trap for Jesus. They were hoping to get Jesus into a situation where he would either condemn himself or at the very least discredit himself and/or his ministry.
At a proper moment during the meal a man with dropsy appeared. His appearance was intentional and strategic. Jesus' host counted on Jesus reaching out to the man and healing him. According to Jewish tradition the mere act of healing someone was work and therefore generally forbidden on the Sabbath1. Everyone present would witness Jesus breaking the Sabbath. It was a perfect set-up. From there this Pharisee and his friends could then begin to condemn Jesus and heighten up their smear campaign against his ministry.
There was only one hitch in their plan. Jesus knew what they were planning. In a battle of wits these men had no chance against the Son of God. Jesus simply shifts the focus and begins to deal with an imagined situation. "Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on the Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out? No one would have said that saving a life would be disobeying the Sabbath. Anyone in their right mind knew that a life superseded tradition or ritual. In fact, to save a life was to honor the Sabbath. Was this poor man who could not work, could not attend Temple, was he less valuable than an animal or a son?
Now of course, the dropsy of the man could have waited a few hours until the Sabbath was officially over ( 6 PM). It was probably around 2 pm which meant in a mere four hours the Sabbath would be over. Jesus could have simply told the man to come back and that time and he would be healed. No one would have raised a fuss and the meal would have gone on without a hitch.
However, that is not how Jesus viewed such situations. To Jesus, people are always more important that rituals and traditions. Especially, if those traditions and rituals are manmade and not God given. Expressing the love of God is always more important than observing religious ritual. Four more hours of this man suffering was four hours to long. Jesus was always picking people over tradition and ritual. So, too should we this morning.
It's the next part that I would like for us to focus our attention on this morning, in particular verses 7 - 11. Taking hold of the opportunity Jesus begins to serve his own banquet. Following the man's healing, Jesus begin to pass out plate after plate of humble pie. Jesus was not interested in some kind of counter attack on his host or his guests. Jesus was merely trying to teach them how to live as God's righteous and holy people.
The Pharisees and the lawyers had not been the only ones watching what was going on during the meal. Jesus had watched as they had displayed some rather unsightly social manners. All the scrambling to get the best seats had not gone unnoticed. He seizes upon their lack of dinning etiquette to teach everyone an amazing lesson on humility and sacrificial service.
What made those men scramble the way they did? What made them do everything in their power to get at the choice seats? What drove them to want the exalted positions?