Summary: Jesus through his actions, the story he tells and the application that he makes exposes the character flaws of those in attendance.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 38
“When Jesus Comes To Dinner”
Have you ever been in a home of a fellow Christian and seen the plaque hanging on the wall saying, “Jesus is the head of this home, the silent listener to every conversation, the unseen guest at every meal?” I wonder if we have ever stopped to consider that having Jesus as the honored guest at our meal just might be more than we expected? In the story that we are going to examine this morning Jesus is the invited guest to a formal dinner party in the home of an unnamed Pharisee.
It was the Sabbath day and perhaps Jesus had been the special guest preacher in the local synagogue. One of the prominent members a Pharisee invited Jesus home to Sabbath dinner.
Jesus attended the meal but instead of polite conversation that might have been expected, the attendants may have wished they had brought more Tums. Jesus through his actions, the story he tells and the application that he makes exposes the character flaws of those in attendance.
The guests present, most of whom seem to be Pharisees, we would today classify as “good, church going folks,” they undoubtedly thought of themselves as “spiritual and moral folks” but Jesus is just about to expose to everyone the three major flaws that characterize their lives.
[Basic outline drawn from Larry Sarver sermon. “Guess Who Is Coming To Dinner.” Luke 14:1-14 www.sermoncentral.]
1. They Lived Lives Characterized by Judgmentalism (vv. 1-6)
When I use the word “Judgmentalism” I mean the act of judging another wrongly or self-righteously. Condemning another without due cause, in an unloving manner or when similar circumstances or situations exist in one’s own life.
We read in verse one, “Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. (2) And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy.
Jesus was not offered hospitality because his company was desired; but so that He might be watched by critical, cynical eyes for verse one says, “… they watched him closely.” It seems very convenient if not a little suspicious that the stage was so careful set; Jesus is invited to a meal on the Sabbath, in the home of a prominent religious leader, were Jesus could be careful watched. At this same meal there just happened to be a man suffering from a painful ailment and seated right in front of Jesus. A careful trap had been set for Jesus, baited with misery that Jesus would find irresistible to relieve. They thought that they had Jesus trapped.
The condition here called “dropsy” (also called edema) was a painful disease in which because of kidney trouble, a heart ailment, or liver disease, the tissues fill with water.
It should be noted that Jesus had already violated their manmade Sabbath traditions on seven other occasions (casting out a demon, Luke 4:32-37; healing a fever, 4:38-39;allowing his disciples to pluck grain, 6:1-5; healing a lame man, John 5:1-9; healing a man’s paralyzed hand, 6:6-10; delivered a crippled woman afflicted by a demon, 13:10-17 and healing a man born blind, John 9)
In meeting their challenge head on, Jesus exposes their judgmental attitudes through the use of two questions. Two questions that we need to ask ourselves before we pass judgment on others.
• The first question is found in verse
three where Jesus asked the Pharisees what their convictions were concerning the Sabbath day; "... Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
The question “Is it lawful for you to heal on the Sabbath Day?” is mute because they couldn’t heal anybody on anyday. Technically the Jesus is really asking, “Do you have a genuine biblical basis for your judgment?” Today the application would be, when you make a judgment concerning what music that others listen to, how they spend their money, what Bible translation do they use etc.; Do we really have a biblical basic for our judgment?
The Pharisee did not know how to respond in verse four, “But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go.” When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man, healed him and sent him away.
• The second question Jesus asks is in
verse five where he asks, "Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?"
No matter what they taught and demanded of others they made exceptions for themselves. Jesus explained that they did work on the Sabbath when it served their purposes.
Even their own Sabbath regulations permitted them to rescue their animals so to forbid the deliverance of humans would mean that they treated animals better than people.