Chap.14 begins with a dinner invitation that turns out not to be a very relaxing time vs.1-6
dropsy is not a very attractive disease -- various parts of the body puffed up with a lot of extra fluid -- the type of person not likely to be offered a seat at this exclusive country club but Jesus doesn't shy away from him, He heals him and mercifully excuses him from the pointed lessons he is about to direct to the Pharisees What hypocrisy on the part of the Pharisees in their elaborate legal
1) no problem enjoying a good meal on the sabbath, but no compassion for those who are hurting
2) no problem looking after their own interests (a son or even an ox in trouble), but nitpicky rules against helping others
Once again Jesus has turned the tables on a situation that was stacked against Him in order to get people's attention for the spiritual lesson He came to bring
3 FEAST STORIES THAT EXPOSE HOW THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS ARE BLIND TO THE TRUE NATURE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
the first 2 answer very similar questions:
I. HOW DO YOU GET AHEAD IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD? GET TO BE #1? (:7-11) HUMILITY (NOT SELFISH AMBITION) LEADS TO A POSITION OF HONOR IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Directed to the guests
Lesson (:11) "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted"
II. HOW DO YOU GET REWARD IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD? (very similar) (:12-14) HOSPITALITY TO THE HELPLESS (NOT SELFISHLY TRADING FAVORS WITH THE WORTHY) LEADS TO REWARD IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Directed to the host
not speaking against good fellowship with family and friends, but warning that we had better not be patting ourselves on the back about how charitable we are if our charity stops with the worthy. Not just talking about tossing some coins in the plate and hoping that some poor needy souls benefit from some of it; Talking about personally getting our hands dirty getting involved in knowing and helping such people (could be people who are poor and crippled and lame and blind physically or spiritually)
III. HOW DO YOU MISS OUT ON THE KINGDOM OF GOD? ON THE BLESSINGS OF GOD? (:15-24) HYPOCRISY LEADS TO EXCLUSION FROM THE KINGDOM OF GOD
(or for us who are saved: from enjoying the blessings God has for us right now)
PARTICIPATION IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD (ENJOYMENT OF GOD'S BLESSINGS) IS LIMITED NOT BY THE EXTENT OF GOD'S GRACIOUS INVITATION BUT BY THE LACK OF DESIRE ON THE PART OF THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS
the self-righteous claim to be devoted to God's kingdom, but they are blind as to its true nature and they desire many other things far more
In one sense we are the crown of God's creation -- a little lower than angels on the scale of beings right now, but destined for great things; in another sense when we look at our own resources apart from God we are little better than defenseless worms. Praise the Lord that the King of Kings is merciful to help worms like us.
The first point Christ makes in this parable is:
A. ADMIRATION OF GOD'S STANDARDS DOES NOT MEAN DEEP DESIRE FOR THOSE STANDARDS
The Pharisee who leaned back on his couch while listening to the wonderful stories told by Jesus, and cried out "Amen, Preach it brother!" certainly thought that he had a desire for God's standards -- He was interested in humility; he agreed with what Christ had to say about charity; Those were some beautiful stories. He can't wait for the kingdom when he will have all day to sit around and drink in such truth.
"Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God" Such platitudes sound good and they fall easily from our lips as well -- "Great message" "I really enjoyed what you had to say" --but in this case the problem was a serious one --
1) THE PROBLEM OF PRESUMPTION
Maybe you've heard the story of the husband and wife who were discussing the possibility of taking a trip to the Holy Land: Husband: "Wouldn't it be fantastic to go to the Holy Land and stand
and shout the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai?" The Wife answered wisely: "Wouldn't it be better if we stayed home, kept our mouths shut, and just obeyed them?"
It's easy for us to speak with admiration about spiritual truths; but often we are presumptuous in thinking that we are applying those same truths. We fail to own up to our failures -- we don't want to admit to ourselves and others how bad off we really are We fail to give God's grace and mercy its proper place We fail to understand God's program for our temporary walk by faith That's why we cry out to God: "That's not fair" "I deserve better than this" "How can you do this to me?" When the issue is salvation, spiritual presumption is a deadly disease. You need to be sure that you're not going to miss out on that pie in the sky when you die