Luke 14:1-24

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Luke, New Testament

This was a formal occasion.
People were there by invitation only.
Verse 7 tells us that this was the case.

1 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.

The man with dropsy was there by invitation, but not b/c they wanted his company, or had any special love for him.
The man with dropsy was being used as a trap.
The Pharisees were against healing on the Sabbath, and they wanted to bait Jesus into healing this man on the Sabbath.
Such was the degenerate state they had fallen in to.

3 And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
The text does not tell us that Jesus was asked anything.
What then was He answering?
He was answering their obvious set-up.
He was answering their evil intentions.
He was answering their evil thoughts, and the objections He knew they would raise if He healed this man.
The scene was obviously a set-up.
Their Pharisees’ intentions were clear.

The issue of healing on the Sabbath Day had been an ongoing accusation against Jesus.
We read about it in Chapter 13:10-17.
The Pharisees had taken the Jewish Sabbath too far.
God had intended it for their benefit, but they had made it into a burden.

Jesus constantly challenged them on their traditions.
Many of their traditions were un-biblical.
They held their traditions in higher esteem than the word of God.
The intention of God was to bless the people.
The Pharisees took God’s commands, added unscriptural excesses, and turned God’s commandments into burdens.

Jesus was an invited guest, but b/c they wanted to have something against Him.
The man with dropsy was an invited guest, but b/c they wanted to use him.
The rest of them were there to accuse Jesus.
Jesus takes the initiative in challenging and correcting their wrong thinking and their evil hearts.

“Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
Jesus wasn’t asking for their approval.
He was trying to get them to think truthfully about their foolishness of their tradition.
Their tradition actually kept blessings from the people.
Their traditions kept people from receiving God’s blessings.

4 But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go.
But they kept silent. Probably one of the smartest things they had done in a long time.
Why did they keep silent?
B/c they knew they were wrong.
Did that change them?
They loved their traditions more than the word of God, and more than the ways of God.

Matt 15:3 (NKJV) 3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
Matt 15:6 (NKJV)then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
Mark 7:8 (NKJV) 8 “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men–the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
Mark 7:9 (NKJV) 9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Mark 7:13 (NKJV) 13 “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Col 2:8 (NKJV) 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

And He took him and healed him, and let him go.
Jesus did what He always did.
He cared for, and ministered to people who needed it.
He didn’t care that He went against the traditions of the day.
The traditions were wrong.
Jesus was right

5 Then He answered them, saying, “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?”
6 And they could not answer Him regarding these things.
Jesus continues to reason with them.
Though these men are wrong, and their hearts are wrong, Jesus still loves them.
He tries to correct them.
But He must expose their wrong thinking.
It isn’t unloving to expose wrong thinking.
In fact, it is a very loving thing to do.
Prov 27:6 (NKJV) 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Jesus is about to show them that they are wrong.
He will try to stir up their minds by way of a parable, by using an illustration.

“Which of you, having a donkey or an ox- Some older manuscripts say,
”A son or an ox.”
Jesus is asking them if their traditions are still valid when it comes to something dear to their hearts.
Again, they did not answer.
The answer was obvious to them at that moment, but in the long run, they would still hold on to their traditions.

How foolish we are to continue to do the wrong thing, even when God has shown us how we are wrong.

Now we see the afternoon continuing.
This turns out to be quite an afternoon.

7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:
In that day, at such functions, special seating was put in place.
There were tables that seated three each.
Those tables were called tricliniums.

The people were seated 3 on a side, and the middle seat was the place of honor.
If there were three tables, seating three each, then the seats of honor would be seats number 2, 5, and 8.
The host would sit in seat #9, the lowest seat.
The highest seat of honor would be seat #5. The middle seat at the middle table.

Jesus noted how they all positioned themselves for the places of honor.
He criticized them for it.
8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him;
9 “and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.
10 “But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you.
11 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus warns us about the folly of seeking recognition for one’s self.
The man or woman who strives for honor and recognition from their peers, isn’t really deserving of that honor.
The one who deserves that honor won’t seek after it.

The place of honor is for the honorable man.
The man who strives after recognition proves that he is not an honorable man.

12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
The danger in this incident is that of having a wrong motive.
These people were inviting people with the expectation of receiving an invitation back.
They were giving in order to get.
They were serving in order to be served.
Their intentions were not pure, but self-serving.

There is nothing wrong with spending time with special friends.
But even then, we should not bless in order to be blessed.

13 “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
14 “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
Here, Jesus strikes at the heart of the issue.
The wrong of it was that they wanted to be repaid.
They gave to get.
They blessed, and expected a blessing in return.

How much better it is to bless others who cannot bless you back.
Jesus says that then God will reward.

G. Campbell Morgan– Nearly all of the dividends of Christian consecration are postponed. We shall be supplied with all necessary things in this world, but all the great returns will come in the life that lies beyond.
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
This man exclaims the blessedness of that kind of arrangement, of that kind of attitude.
He agrees with Jesus that that kind of life is good, and that the blessings that will be bestowed in God’s kingdom will be worth waiting for.

Jesus answers in a sort of strange way.
He doesn’t disagree with the man, but explains that people are reluctant to enter into the kingdom of God.

Many people love the idea of heaven.
They love the idea of eternal reward.
They would also say with this man,:
“Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

But Jesus teaches that many are not willing to accept God’s invitation into His kingdom.
Many people love the idea of heaven, but they are unwilling to act upon God’s invitation to enter.

This parable teaches that God’s kingdom is conferred upon man by way of invitation.
God calls out to people.
He invites them to respond.
The Kingdom of God is entered into by saying yes to the invitation of God.

If a person is excluded from the Kingdom of God, it is b/c they have refused God’s invitation.
The story shows us why people refuse the Kingdom of God.

16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,
17 “and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’
18 “But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’
19 “And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’

Notice the use of the word excuse and excused.
It does not say that they gave reasons for not accepting the invitation.
They gave excuses.
Usage Notes: is used in the sense of “begging off, asking to be excused or making an excuse,” in Luke 14:18 (twice),19. In the first part of ver. 18 the verb is used in the Middle Voice, “to make excuse” (acting in imagined self-interest); in the latter part and in ver. 19 it is in the Passive Voice, “have me excused.”

Strong’s Greek Number 3868

KJV – refuse 5
– excuse 2
– make excuse 1
– avoid 1
– reject 1
– intreat 1 [Total Count: 11]

1) to ask along side, beg to have near one
1a) to obtain by entreaty
1b) to beg from, to ask for, supplicate
2) to avert by entreaty or seek to avert, to deprecate
2a) to entreat that … not
2b) to refuse, decline
2c) to shun, avoid
2d) to avert displeasure by entreaty
2d1) to beg pardon, crave indulgence, to excuse
2d2) of one excusing himself for not accepting a wedding invitation to a feast

Behind an excuse is lack of desire.-G. Campbell Morgan

Now let us examine the excuses that these people gave.
They are much like the excuse people give today.

The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’
This is a poor excuse.
This man also appears to be a foolish man.
Who would buy a field w/o first having inspected it?
19 “And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’
Again, this appears to be a foolish man.
Who would buy oxen and not know what he had bought.
20 “Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
This man should bring his wife.

The excuses are as follows:
Possessions, the realm of real estate.
Oxen, labor, commerce.
A wife, natural affection.

21 “So that servant came and reported these things to his master. 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 here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’
22 “And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’
23 “Then the master said to 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 to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ “