Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: Jesus Goes After the Heart Attitudes
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
Jesus Goes After the Heart Attitudes
After healing the man with dropsy, Jesus turns his attention to the guests and then the host of the dinner party and continues to ruthlessly go after the heart. But the Pharisees don’t want that. They would rather work for God and ignore the condition of their hearts. But Christ is always attacking right actions with wrong heart as evil and God finds no pleasure in it. In Isaiah, God commands Israel to fast and then tells them he hates their fast and their worship because their hearts are not right. Right actions without the right heart, a transformed heart, lacks joy and worship is empty yet we were created for ever increasing joy and worship.
1. We Love the Praise of Others (vs. 7-11)
Jesus turns to the guests and tells them a parable. A parable is a story that communicates a spiritual truth. At dinner parties in the ANE there would be a U shaped table which everyone sat around with the host in the middle. The closer you were to the host the more important you were seen to be. Conversely the farther away you were the less important you were. The most significant spot was to the left of the host; the second was to his right. Jesus notices that people are jockeying with each other for the best seats around the table. They are writing their names on cups and placing them in the best spots, they are setting personal items on the chairs, licking the silverware to secure their spot, and if you got up someone stole your spot. Not only do they lack compassion (remember the issue over healing on the Sabbath) but when they walk into a room they look around and think everyone is there to make much of them. But Jesus does not care about seats or about manipulating us to be lowly so we might be exalted. He cares about the issues of their heart - they are looking for the praise of others. Jesus is saying do you recognize this dark place in your heart. Do you recognize that you love the praise of others more than you love God? They are full of pride, convinced that everyone at the party is subservient to them, and exist to sing their praises. If anyone deserves to be praised and honored and served then it is me yet you brought me here to trap me and humiliate me. I should be invited to sit at the place of honor yet you despise me. When we have no sense of our own identity in Christ then we are always going to look for external props to make us feel better about ourselves. God your Father chose you before the foundation of the world, he drew you to himself, he took out the heart of stone and gave you a heart of flesh, he made you his child, he sealed you with the Holy Spirit, and he promises never to leave you nor forsake you. When you can rest in that you will not need the praise of others, you will be able to endure difficulties and suffering because you know in your heart that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ.
2. We Love Others who Make Much of Us (vs. 12- 24)