Healing of a Man on the Sabbath
14 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Parable of the Great Banquet
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
The Cost of Discipleship
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Salt Without Taste Is Worthless
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Luke 14 Commentary
by Hank Workman
There are prophecies in the Old Testament of a feast that will come at the end of the age – the Messiah’s Banquet. I have always loved Isaiah’s words which speak to it:
“On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines.”Isaiah 25:6
In Revelation 19 an angel declares the blessing for those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb. This proclamation comes at the fall of the enemy and as a multitude in heaven are proclaiming honor and glory to Lamb who has overcome the enemy.
Both of these pictures are beautiful. So we have the Old Testament prophecies of this Banquet coming and Revelation prophecy of it being fulfilled. In the middle, Jesus tells a parable that has always resonated so deeply in me. Part of what has always grabbed my heart is the picture of this feast, this banquet of God. But as Jesus’ words show almost like a ‘behind the scenes’ of things as the invitation went out – not all make it in attendance. So, it’s a sobering yet beautiful picture of invitations going out everywhere for the feast of God.
“A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; 17 and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ 19 Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ 20 Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’
21 And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”Luke 14:16-24
In a day when timepieces were not around when someone threw a large banquet it was given through word of mouth months before. The time of the dinner though was never declared until the exact day of. So as a one invited, whatever a calendar looked like for yourself, you would know when this event was coming but had no idea of the time. You had to be ready to go.
The day arrived and as the messenger went out to declare it was the time, the excuses began to come. The 3 excuses Jesus tells within the parable reveal things or people are more important than coming. And although the Master is angry at this lack of interest what I love the most is he tells his servant to go and bring the ones who would have been overlooked. Beautifully, the servant had already asked these to come and they were actually there! I love that!
In Jesus’ audience, these were the men and women who had been overlooked, marginalized and rejected by society and the religious sector at large. With there still being seats – the servant is sent back out to go everywhere imaginable – the highways and byways – and compel them to come to the feast.
Let’s draw some lines here as we close out these thoughts. Israel’s history – God’s first invitation for the banquet came through Moses and the prophets. The second invitation came through Jesus. The religious leaders accepted the first invitation; even though a date had not been given they knew the banquet was coming of the Messiah. They believed God called them to be his people but insulted God as they rejected His Son. And so as the master sent his servant to fetch the needy to His banquet – and they had come – his message went out far beyond Israel to the world.
The beautiful picture here is the invitation has been sent – the Kingdom of God is at work – will we accept the invite or make excuses?
Luke 14 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
In Luke 14, Jesus visits a house of a chief Pharisee on the Sabbath. The text tells us that there is bread served. This could have meant there was actual bread there to be eaten but it probably was much more as this phrase often was used to describe a feast in Jewish culture. The Sabbath would have been a day designed to nourish both the body and the soul so the best would have been put back for this day. It was normal to have a feast on the Sabbath with all the food being cooked the day before.
The feast, however, was not the focal point for the Pharisees. They wanted to observe Jesus. In fact, Luke tells us that they “watched him closely.” Reading into this statement, it’s not far-fetched to think that this was a set-up from the beginning. The Pharisees despised being in the presence of Jesus and were watching Him closely hoping to catch Him in violation of their ridiculous laws. Consider that these were men who supposedly represented God and his kingdom and are inviting God’s Son to their table for the sole purpose of leading Him into a trap.
“The phrase used for carefully watched means to watch surreptitiously and ominously (ēsan paratēroumenoi; Riesenfeld  p. 147), rather as an undercover agent would today. The suspicion is deep, the mood somber.”IVP New Testament Commentary
“How base must that man be, who professes Christianity, and yet makes his own table a snare for his friend!”Adam Clarke
There was a man suffering from dropsy which was a condition that caused fluid retention in the body and was often associated with kidney or liver problems as well as cancer. Was this man a guest of the Pharisees as well? Most likely not. It would have contradicted their very nature to entertain someone with dropsy (considered a marker of sin) at a table where adherence to cleanliness and ceremonials laws were of top priority.
Regardless of how the man got there, I love what Jesus does next. He asks them a question before He reacts to the situation. This, in turn, unravels the Pharisees’ trap.
And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away.Luke 14:3-4 NASB
If the Pharisees answered no, Jesus would prove them wrong, but if they answered yes, they would go against their own teaching! So, like they did many times when Jesus turned the tables on them, they remained silent. Spiritual pride had absolutely sealed their minds to any kind of logical reasoning, and this leads to the point and application of this story.
We see here how religious pride can deaden someone’s heart to be able to see clearly. First, they didn’t recognize Jesus at all. They had no desire to consider His teaching or see things from His perspective. They went into the event with their minds set on exposing Him, negligent to the reality that quite literally stood before them.
Second, they completely ignored the miraculous healing that took place before their very eyes! To witness the power of God heal someone before your eyes and feel no sense of gladness or rejoicing in your heart for that individual is heartbreaking. Their hearts were more concerned with whether or not it was lawful for that day!
How do you respond to people who think differently than you? Do you believe God is for them anyway? Is it hard for you to be friendly to people who seem to constantly break the rules and do the wrong things? Jesus was trying to show the Pharisees that they needed more compassion. Where do you need more compassion these days?