TODAY’S READING: LUKE 13-15
Jesus provides pertinent answers to pertinent questions (13:1-35); Jesus addresses the guests in a Pharisee’s house on the Sabbath day (14:1-35); Jesus gives three illustrations to reveal God’s heart for the lost (15:1-32).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As we move into chapter 13, Jesus continues His journey toward Jerusalem (see 9:51: 13:22; 17:11; 18:31; 19:11, 28).
As He makes His way, He is faced with four questions that provide a clean breakdown of the chapter. He is asked:
1) A POLITICAL question about JUSTICE (13:1-9).
Jesus knows that anything He says about Pilate will certainly make it to Jerusalem before He gets there. Verses 3 and 4 teach us not to assume that human tragedies are divine punishments.
2) A LEGAL question about the SABBATH (13:10-21).
It could only have been the pride and self-righteousness of the Pharisees that could cause them not to see that Jesus “loosing” this poor woman form Satan’s bond and her suffering on the Sabbath (13:12) was no different from them “loosing” their ox or donkey from the stall to get water on the Sabbath (13:15). Pride and self-righteousness still cause that same blindness and that same hideous judgmental spirit.
3) A THEOLOGICAL question about SALVATION (13:22-30).
Notice that Jesus turned the man’s general question about how many would be saved, to a personal question about whether or not HE would be saved. It is amazing how many ask great spiritual, theological questions that they have no intention of obeying or practicing.
4) A PERSONAL question about DANGER (13:31-35).
Though there is not a specific question asked in these verse, Jesus’ response to the statement in verse 31 is as if asked a question about whether he was concerned about Herod’s desire to kill Him. Jesus responds by saying, in effect, that His life was on God’s timetable, not man’s. (See John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20; 13:1; 17:1) Recognize today (and every day), that your life is on that same time schedule!
In chapter 14, Jesus is invited to come over to one of the chief Pharisee’s house for dinner after church, so to speak. (Many through the years have had the preacher for dinner :>) Jesus recognizes that He is intended to be the main entrée, so rather than be eaten alive, He takes command of the room, and faces all those in attendance with their own personal issues.
In 14:1-6, He begins with the Pharisees, making them face their false spirituality, by healing someone on the Sabbath.
In 14:7-11, Jesus then faces the other guests with their self-promotion, by pointing out that they had all sought to position themselves in the room to make themselves appear important.
In 14:12-14, Jesus faces the host with the fact that the people he had invited were actually invited to fulfill an obligation to them, or to impose a debt on them. Where are those who do not have an ulterior motive behind their generosity? Even when we do something for nothing in return, the ulterior motive can be that we wanted to be viewed as someone who does things for nothing in return. Wow!
In 14:15-24, Jesus is facing the Jews with the fact that they were about to miss the invitation of their Messiah, and that He would then turn to the Gentiles. Notice that the more things change, the more the things remain the same. People miss Jesus for the same exact reasons in the 21st century that they did in the 1st century. They miss Him because they are:
1)Relishing in their riches (14:18).
2)Climbing in their career (14:19).
3)Focused on their family (14:20).
In 14:25-35, Jesus leaves the Pharisee’s house, and then faces the multitudes with the fact that He wasn’t looking for people who wanted to simply add Him on to their already cluttered life, He was looking for those who would see their relationship with Him as the most important relationship of life, and see Him as life itself! Jesus was never interested in self-seeking consumers, but self-denying disciples.
As has been pointed out repeatedly throughout the 365 Days of Pursuit, in contrast to the consumer driven messages that are preached in the Laodicean Church Period, true, biblical, Spirit-anointed preaching is at least two-thirds negative! Facing people’s issues as Jesus has just done in chapters 13 and 14 wouldn’t fly too well today. If someone preached like that today, you might could expect to hear questions and comments like:
•“Why does our message need to be so negative?”
•“People don’t want to come to church and have to feel bad.”
•“I’m afraid to bring visitors to church because the high calling may push them away.”
•“I’m just not being fed.”
•“I’m looking for something that has a better ‘ministry’ to my kids.”
But the good news is, Jesus wasn’t all negative! In chapter 15 He pulls out three illustrations that reveal the heart of God for His lost creation. Jesus shows us that our Heavenly Father is like a tender shepherd (15:1-3), a diligent housewife (15:8-10), and a longing dad (15:11-32). He searches, and seeks, and longs, and sacrifices to see that which was lost returned to its rightful place. Praise the Lord, our rightful place is with Him!