Guess Who Came To Dinner?

Photo by Nadia Valko on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke 14.

Dr. Luke Tells Us About Dr. Jesus

Luke is an interesting Gospel. Luke himself was a physician who followed Jesus, our Great Physician.

Though there is some dispute, most commentaries recognize Luke as a Gentile, and not a Jew. Paul called Luke “the Beloved Physician” (Colossians 4:14), and was a “fellow laborer” (Philemon 24). Luke joined Paul in Troas, Asia Minor, during the Apostle’s second missionary journey (Acts 16:6-11). Luke was with the Apostle Paul as he neared execution in Rome. The Apostle wrote:

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me….

Luke wrote about ¼ of the New Testament (Luke and Acts). Luke recorded events that the other Apostles shared with him.

As we come to Luke 14, we see Jesus at a meal that is mentioned nowhere else in the Scripture. What is interesting about the meal in that Jesus has been invited to the home of a chief Pharisee. The Pharisees hated Jesus. Why was Jesus at this meal? He wasn’t here because He crashed it, but because the Pharisees invited Him in order to find fault. Let’s read:

Luke 14:1-4 And it came to pass, as {Jesus} went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4 And they held their peace. …

As Jesus prepared to eat, the Bible says they watched him. Jesus has walked into a trap. The Pharisees invited Jesus to eat, but they also invited a man with dropsy to the same meal. In the earlier part of His ministry, Jesus entered the synagogue,

Mark 3:1-2 …. and thee was a man which had a withered hand. 2 And “they watched him”, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day …

They watched Jesus. In the earlier healing on the Sabbath in the synagogue, Jesus asked the man with the withered hand to “Rise up, and stand forth in the midst {of the Pharisees}” (Luke 6:8). Jesus challenged the Pharisees, saying:

Luke 6:9 … I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

The Pharisees, though they watched Jesus, refused to answer. This is because they missed the point.

The Entirety Of The Law Is LOVE

The problem with being a Pharisee or a Lawyer (forgive me, Jerry), is that you begin to think God is impressed with how well you follow rules. How well you follow rules does not impress God. Your heart impresses God. The Lord God told the Prophet Samuel one day:

1 Samuel 16:7 … the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

God looks on the heart. Do we love God? Do we love others around us. If as the Scripture says,

1 John 4:8, 16 … God is love …

then God expects to find love in our hearts when He looks at them. Why do we do the things we do? Why did the Pharisees invite Jesus to dinner? So they could hurt Him. So they could find fault. So they could trap Him. Not because they loved Him. Our Lord Jesus said:

Matthew 22:37-40 {the Great Commandment in the Law – the Main Point – is} Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Of the 783,137 words in the King James text of Scripture, all of these verses, commands, statutes, rules, orders, and observations can be distilled down into this: “Love God with all you have, and love whoever is near you the way you want to be loved”. That’s it! The Bible calls this “the Royal Law” (see James 2:8). Why? Because it is the Law by which God lives, and the Law that He expects His people to live by. The Apostle Paul put it this way:

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

When Jesus came to the synagogue that day, no one paid the slightest bit of attention to the man with the withered hand. Everyone was checking their dress code, and checking whether they looked good enough for service. But Jesus walks in and sees someone in distress. A man with a withered hand.

The broken man has a choice.
He can heed Jesus, or heed the crowd.

Jesus then commanded the man with the withered hand to “Stretch forth thy hand.” (Luke 6:10). The man that was disabled had to respond to Jesus, to do as Jesus commanded, if he was going to be healed. He could have refused to comply. He could have went along with the crowd. But instead the man with the withered hand listened to Jesus. He reached out to the Master – and was healed.

Now fast forward to this “special” meal that Jesus has been invited to. Here is a man with dropsy, invited to dine with Jesus and the Pharisees and Lawyers. Dr. Bob Utley notes in his Bible Commentary:

Dropsy was a retention of fluid that resulted in swelling (the term is from the root for “water”). It usually was the result of other physical problems. It is only mentioned here in the New Testament, which is appropriate for a physician (see Colossians 4:14), although it is used by non-physicians in Greek literature. The rabbis said this disease was caused by serious sin, which may add to the drama of the moment.”

This man was miserable. Jesus asks, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?”. If all the Law is fulfilled by “Love God with your all, and love the one near you the way you want to be loved”, then the answer is simple. YES! YES, it is fine to do good to others on the Sabbath.

But the Pharisees cannot answer. They refuse to answer. The them, God is all about rules and sacrifices and rituals. They do not remember when God chastised Israel, saying:

Matthew 15:8 … this people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me (see also Isaiah 29:13)

The Bible tells us that Jesus “took the man with dropsy, and healed him, and let him go. This man’s heart, his broken heart, reached out to Jesus – and the Lord healed him. The Messiah has the right, the obligation to do good on the Sabbath day.

Matthew 12:8 the Son of man {the Messiah} is Lord even of the sabbath day. (see also Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5)

The Man that these Pharisees have invited to eat with them is not just a Rabbi, He is God the Son. God is love. God hurts when we hurt. People are more important than animals. Jesus asked them:

Luke 14:5 … Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

The human master of an animal would not leave that creature suffering all night long in a cold, miserable pit just because it was the Sabbath. How much less would God, Who is love, leave a person with a withered hand or the dropsy in the pit of suffering, just because it was the Sabbath? Of course, the Pharisees refuse to answer. They just sat watching Jesus, gathering anger and evidence that they would later use to demand Jesus be executed. But as they sat watching Jesus, Jesus sat watching them.

Jesus Is Watching The Watchers

Imagine this. Jesus is a Guest in a Chief Pharisees home. He was invited to trap Him, to betray Him. Yet Jesus does not do the politically correct. He loves, as God must love. Yet Jesus doesn’t turn a blind eye to what they are doing. We read:

Luke 14:7 … And {Jesus} put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms …

Word Study The phrase “the chief rooms” is the Greek πρωτοκλισία prōtoklisía, {pronounced pro-tok-lis-ee’-ah}, which means “the best reclining places”. When the Jews held dinner parties, they arranged their guests according to rank and prestige. The most important people had the best “rooms” or places to recline at while eating. The least important people had the least important “rooms” or places to recline at. Jesus had been invited to this Chief Pharisee’s home, but I can guarantee you that Jesus did not have the best seat in the house. No, He was placed in the lowest seat. Jesus marked how they chose out the chief rooms, the best seats. Jesus told His hosts:

Luke 14:8-11 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

I can imagine these Pharisees and Lawyers squirming in their seats right now. Jesus loved people, all types of people. There is no one that Jesus does not love. But He loves us enough to tell us the truth. Though Jesus Himself is …

Revelation 19:13, 15 …King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Jesus Christ is the Child the Prophet Isaiah foresaw, the …

Isaiah 9:6-7 … Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace

Oh, how Jesus should have been placed in the chief seat. It is Jesus Who is …

Ephesians 1:20-21 … {seated at God the Father’s own} right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Jesus is not there at the Head, as He should be. He is disallowed. The Pharisees and Scribes were the builders of Israel. When they saw Jesus, they saw Him as unfit to be a part of that people. Jesus is the stone which the builders disallowed and rejected, He has become the Head of the Corner (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17). The Pharisees were more concerned about their own prestige than they were the work of God. Jesus warned them about this prideful attitude. Pride destroys the work of God. Over and over the Scripture declares:

Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Isaiah 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Isaiah 2:17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

It is pride that locks people out of Heaven.
God will not dwell with the prideful!

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

God dwells with the humble but broken person. He cannot work with the prideful. God cannot lift up someone who thinks they are better than others. Our actions show the intents of our hearts. We are nothing, but Christ is everything. We are but dust, but Jesus the Creator Who can bless us, if we but surrender ourselves unto Him.

Having chastised the Pharisees for their pride at this meal, He now chastises them for their choice of guests. Those who were at this dinner party were the rich and famous, the movers and the shakers. They were well off. There were two at that party – Jesus and the man now healed of Dropsy – who did not fit the mold of the rest. Those others who had received their invitations, received them because they WERE important, and WOULD reciprocate to those who invited them. The Pharisees and Lawyers thought that their knowledge of the Law and their earth prestige would impress Heaven. This is not true.

Jesus told the Pharisees and Lawyers, “If you want to impress Heaven, your guest list is all wrong!”

Luke 14:12-14 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. 13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

Do good to others, regardless as to whether they do good to you or not. If you want to impress God, love like God loves. God does good to those who cannot pay Him back. Salvation is a free gift from God because it is impossible for us to repay it. Salvation comes about because God the Father sent His Son into this world to give his life for us.

There is no way to Heaven but by Jesus. The Bible declares:

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

It is only Jesus Who saves His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). It is “only Jesus” that we must believe on if we will have everlasting life (John 3:36). It is “only Jesus” that is the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes unto the Father but by Him (John 14:6). The Bible is without debate on this point:

1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

Only Jesus. Only Jesus can save a soul. God offers Jesus to whosoever will. At this point, one of the Pharisees speaks up.

Won’t It Be Wonderful When We Get To Heaven!

Luke 14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with {Jesus} heard these things, he said unto {Jesus}, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

When the Pharisee said this, I suspect that all who were there thought they would be so blessed because they “kept the Law of God from my youth up” (Luke 18:21). They think to themselves, “I can pass the test with flying colors!” But Jesus knows their hearts – so He speaks another parable to explain HOW you get into the Kingdom of Heaven so that you can break bread there.

Luke 14:16-17 … A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

In this parable the certain man is God the Father. The servant is God the Son. When it was supper time, the meal was ready, the certain man (the Father) sent His servant (the Son) out to those who should have been ready – the Pharisees and Lawyers. These people have studied the Law. They knew what the prophetic signs were for the Coming Messiah. They had seen the miracles that Jesus as Messiah did. They had heard John the Baptist, the Messiah’s Herald, declare that Jesus is indeed the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29, 36). Our Lord Jesus came to Israel first, because He promised Israel first (Romans 1:16; 2:9; 2:10). Israel had the promise of God,

John 1:11-13 {Jesus} came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53:1-9 is Jesus Christ. This Servant of God – God the Son – is sitting at the Chief Priest’s home. He invites all who will to come to the Kingdom of God.

Come; for all things are now ready”. But do they come? No. Jesus said:

Luke 14:18 … And they all with one consent began to make excuse.

They began to find reasons why they could not come to the feast.

Luke 14:18 The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

What a weak excuse this is. Who buys land without first inspecting it? What this person is saying is, “My life is more important than YOU are, God. I hear your invitation, but I just can’t make it. My land is more important.”

Luke 14:19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

Again, this is a very poor excuse. As the Pastor of Riverview, I often see people come up into our parking lot, test driving a new or a new/used car. I see them out there with the hood up. When I go out they tell me, “Preacher, we’re just checking out our truck before we buy it”. That’s fine, that’s fine. People always check out a vehicle before they buy it. Do you really think this person didn’t test drive these five yoke of oxen before he purchased them? No, not at all. What a lame excuse. This person just had no love for the host.

Luke 14:20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

Why can’t you bring your wife with you? So many people say, “Well, I can’t come and love the Lord because of my wife, or my children, or …” Just fill in the blanks. The feast is ready. The One Who has the Key to Heaven bids you come. But you have other things much more important to do!

Luke 14:21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

The Pharisees and the Lawyers would not come, but then Jesus reached out to the broken. He reached out to the poor, those ravaged by this world. He reached out to the maimed, the crippled, the spiritually blind. It is as the Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: 29 that no flesh should glory in his presence.

The Son of God reached out – not to the best and the brightest – but to the broken. The broken came to the feast. They secured Jesus Christ as Lord and savior in their hearts.

Luke 14:22-23 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

What is necessary to come to the Kingdom of God? What will cause the blessings of God to fall on you, both now and into eternity? It is your willingness to answer the call of Christ Jesus. Will you surrender your lives to Him? Will you put Him first, and Heaven first – or will you cling to the temporary pleasures of this earth.

Jesus leaves the Chief Pharisees home, and GREAT MULTITUDES FOLLOW HIM. We read:

Luke 14:25-33 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Beloved, Christ bids us all to Heaven, to the Kingdom Banquet. He has paid the price. He has secured the invitation for us. Will you come to Him? To be saved is to turn toward Jesus and lay your life down at His feet. As Dr. Bob Utley said:

The gospel is absolutely free, but it costs everything that we are and have (cf. Matthew 13:44-46).”

Dr. Thomas Constable states in his commentary:

Salvation guarantees heaven, but it also calls for complete commitment to Jesus, not to secure heaven but to express gratitude for heaven.”

God gives Himself for us when we give ourselves to Him. This is what salvation is. And this is what God calls whosoever will to. Oh Beloved, if you do not know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, today would be a wonderful; day to give your lives to Him. There is no life better than the life hid by God in Christ. I pray that God the Holy Spirit would lead you to Him this very day. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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