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Summary: Jesus changed people everywhere He went. He always reached out to those on the outside and loved them.

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WHO IS FIRST, THE PERSON OR THE SYSTEM?

Text : Luke 13: 10-17

“A daughter complained to her father about how hard things were for her. "As soon as I solve one problem," she said, "another one comes up. I’m tired of struggling."

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen where he filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots; in the second, eggs; and in the last, ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After a while, he went over and turned off the burners. He fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He poured the coffee into a bowl. Turning to her he asked, "Darling, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled, as she tasted its rich flavor.

She asked, "What does it mean, Father?" He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. By being in the boiling water, they changed the water.

He asked his daughter, "When adversity knocks on your door, which are you?"” David P. Barrett. ed. More Perfect Illustrations For Every Topic And Occasion. Eric Reed. “Adversity And The Lesson Of The Coffee Bean”. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2003, p. 8). The woman who had been bent over for eighteen years had experienced eighteen years of adversity.

Perhaps the woman who had been bent over for eighteen years in Luke 13:7-10 started out with the sternness of a carrot, only to find that she had been softened by time with the fading hope of a solution to her problem. Better still, perhaps she was like the uncooked egg representing a character quality that resembles meekness only to end up over the course of those eighteen years in her heart like the character of the boiled egg---hardened. In any event, she needed someone to come along and help her fix her problem---someone who would change the atmosphere much like coffee changed the water. Jesus changed people everywhere He went. He always reached out to those on the outside and loved them.

STANDING ON THE OUTSIDE?

We are the keepers of our brothers and sisters. We are the keepers of our brothers and sisters. We are accountable for how we treat those whom we come in contact with. By our actions we can bring changes for better or worse. Are we like the carrot or an egg? By our actions we can change the hearts of the hard-hearted and make them soft or the soft-hearted or just the opposite, we can make the meek hardened in heart and attitude. Like Jesus we need to change the atmosphere around us by being the salt of the earth and the light of the world so that those standing on the outside can find a haven---a refuge. Until Jesus healed this woman, she was a refugee in need of refuge.

We need to remember the Golden Rule. Now we all know what the Golden Rule is. The chances are that we have heard it all of our lives. “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12 RSV). “And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31 RSV). When the synagogue ruler challenged Jesus, Jesus exposed the hypocritical attitude and revealed how animals were receiving better treatment than this lady who had been bent over for eighteen years. Consider Luke 13:14-16: “But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day." Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" (RSV). Humans were created to be over the animals---to have dominion over them (Genesis 1:26) and yet Jesus points out what is wrong with the picture and those who were wrong were ashamed.

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