November 1 - Luke 14:1-14

Friday, November 1, 2013

Luke 14:1-14 – At a Pharisee’s House

Once more, Jesus is invited to eat with one of the Pharisees. This man is a ruler of the Pharisees, probably a member of the Sanhedrin and this offers an opportunity for more discussion. Rather than a comfortable social setting, Jesus enters the den of lions. Luke reminds us that they watched him carefully, waiting to pounce on any theological flaw in his teaching.

There, in front of Jesus, is a man who suffers from dropsy. Was he planted there by the Pharisees, knowing that Jesus would not be able to resist helping the poor man? Possibly. Once again, this happens on the Sabbath and once again, the question came up as to whether or not it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath.

This question has shown up on three other occasions – Luke 6:1-5, 6:11; 13:10-17. It is a popular point of contention between Jesus and the Pharisees.

Jesus wasn't finished with the dinner guests after he confronted them about their treatment of men versus animals. They had nothing to say and he moved on to another issue which presented itself.

At dinner, guests reclined on couches. The head couch held the host and other important guests, then, extending out from it were places of honor. If a very important guest came late to the dinner, someone would be displaced in order to make room. Jesus addressed these guests and while his instructions might have even made sense in the reality of the moment, he was addressing greater things. Those Pharisees who felt they were religiously very important refused to humble themselves in the kingdom of God. When the day came for them to stand before God they would be humiliated and asked to leave their supposed place of honor. God will humble the mighty.

After addressing the guests, Jesus turns to the host. The translation might be better read as: Stop continually inviting those who are friends or relatives or rich neighbors. Jesus doesn’t expect people to never invite their friends and relatives or even their neighbors to dinner, but for many there is an expectation of being repaid. Caring for the needy, though will not bring material reward on earth, but at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:14b), repayment will be made in full.