Jesus asked, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not? I love the or not part. Sabbath stuff was a huge issue with these people, yet they remained silent. Why? This man was their friend. This placed an entirely new light on healing on the Sabbath. Homosexuality is different if it’s someone you care about. Divorce is different if… Jesus knew what their law said. Everyone knew, but they remained silent. They couldn’t say it was unlawful in front of their sick dying friend. Do you ever remain silent? I do. They remained silent. 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 14

They Remained Silent (Luke 14:1-14)

By Delbert Young

They Remained Silent – Luke 14:1-14

Scriptures: Luke 14:1, Luke 14:2-4, Luke 14:5-6, Luke 14:7-11, Proverbs 16:18, Luke 14:12-14

Jesus traveled around the area speaking in synagogues, healing, delivering and teaching awaiting the Passover in Jerusalem and his cross only a few weeks away in real time.

Luke 14:1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a PROMINENT PHARISEE, he was being CAREFULLY WATCHED.

Who was watching whom? People do this today. They think their checking out Jesus when Jesus is checking them out. Luke talks about Jesus and his taking advantage of eating invitations a lot. Jesus never turned down a meal and was always an interesting diner guest. Eating together is a wonderful social element. You’d think the Pharisees would learn. “Don’t invite Jesus to eat!”

This wasn’t just any Pharisee taking Jesus home to eat. This was a prominent Pharisee, a dominatePharisee, a trusted teacher and keeper of their Judaism religion and was far more prominent with Pharisees and people than with God. There are religious people and then there are dominate/prominent religious people! Pharisees saw themselves as the protector of the truth, religious, devout, moral, studious, and righteous expression of God. Yet Jesus said they were “blind,” “snakes,” “sons of hell,” and “hypocrites” (Mat 23). I wonder sometimes how prominent we preachers are with God.

Our knowing the Pharisees were out to kill Jesus shows their snake-like deceitful character. They said Jesus was controlled by Beelzebub. Would you invite someone controlled by a demon to your house to eat? Pharisees were deceitful, but can devout religious people today be deceitful and snake-like? What about us? Could we be deceitful?

It’s fascinating a prominent Pharisee would invite Jesus to eat and even more fascinating Jesus would accept. We are told about this meal from 14:1 to 14:24. That’s a long discourse attempting to mix oil and water, or better, gas and fire, but their intent wasn’t to enjoy a meal, toss around, scriptures, and discuss serious questions. They carefully watched Jesus – paratereo {par-at-ay-reh’-o} – to stand beside and watch, to watch assiduously, to watch insidiously, keep scrupulously. We’d say the Pharisees had Jesus under a microscope. It’s like Jesus said okay. Let’s at least get a good meal out of it.

Luke 14:2-4 There IN FRONT OF HIM was a man suffering from DROPSY. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But THEY REMAINED SILENT. So TAKING HOLD OF THE MAN, he healed him and sent him away.

They remained silent. Nothing is said about Jesus not doing the ceremonial washing of hands he intentionally didn’t do at a Pharisees house in Luke 11:38 igniting the six woes he said to them, so maybe he did it. There was something else Jesus was after.

This dropsy would be water retention suggesting congestive heart failure, or kidney failure, or maybe liver disease. He was drowning in his own fluids. Jewish doctrine would say he was unclean and certainly would not be invited by a prominent Pharisee to eat. So this sick person was either a “plant,” or a Pharisee friend. A friend seems more the case, makes more sense, and makes this story even more impacting. To me, it’s very possible the reason they remained silent.

The man with dropsy was right in front of Jesus. Jesus couldn’t help but notice the man’s struggling health, but didn’t immediately move to heal the man. Instead, he asked them all an unusual question, not that he hasn’t said it before, but unusual in that he was in the middle of a bunch of Pharisees and experts. “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” I love the”…, or not” part. It’s as if Jesus said, “We can go either way here. Which do you want?” This Sabbath stuff was a huge issue with these people, yet they remained silent. If this man was a Pharisee and friend, it placed an entirely new light on healing on the Sabbath. It’s different if it’s someone you care about. Jesus knew what “their law” said. Everyone knew, but they remained silent. They couldn’t say it was unlawful in front of their sick dying friend. With permission of sort and no objections, Jesus healed the man. They couldn’t accuse him of breaking their law. He asked first even though they remained silent.

Our fundamentalisms change when it concerns us, a friend, or someone we love. How wrong and unclean something is will change when it’s us. We remain silent when it’s us or someone we care about. We’ll bend the rules. We’ll break the laws when it’s someone we love. We’re not at all judgmental and so much more forgiving when it’s someone we care about. Isn’t this the way we should be with everyone? Is this how Jesus would want us to be? Is it unlawful…, or not?

Jesus did something different than we’ve studied before. Jesus constantly healed people differently. Your healing may come in a strange way. Here it says Jesus “taking hold of the man…” Taking holdis epilambanomai {ep-ee-lam-ban’-om-ahee} – to lay hold of or to seize upon anything with the hands, lay hold of. It’s a strong word. He didn’t simply put his hands on the man. Jesus grabbed the man perhaps hugging him, squeezing him. During this squeeze, the man was given a new heart, new liver, new kidneys, anything else he needed and was instantly healed. The Greek word translated“sent him away” is apoluo {ap-ol-oo’-o} – to set free, to let go, dismiss, (to detain no longer), to acquit one accused of a crime and set him at liberty. It doesn’t necessarily mean Jesus sent him from the meal. The KJV interprets it “let him go.” It seems more of freeing him from his sickness and letting him go after a tight squeeze, but likely the guy wanted to go and tell somebody.

Luke 14:5-6 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not IMMEDIATELY PULL HIM OUT?” AND THEY HAD NOTHING TO SAY.

In more of an explanation for them rather than a condemnation of them, Jesus asked another question receiving the identical response – nothing. They couldn’t argue with it. As we’ve said, wells were everywhere in Israel as water was not so plentiful. People and animals fell into wells constantly. If their own son or animal fell into a well on the Sabbath day they would immediately pull him out. They wouldn’t allow them to drown in the well waiting until the Sabbath passed. This man was drowning in his own fluid because of his illness. What’s the difference? There seems no indignation coming from these Pharisees and experts. No arguing. It doesn’t seem they were upset. Jesus doesn’t seem upset. He wasn’t rebuking anyone. They weren’t rebuking him, so Jesus pushed the envelope to a different emphasis.

Luke 14:7-11 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this PARABLE: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, HUMILIATED, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. FOR EVERYONE WHO EXALTS HIMSELF WILL BE HUMBLED, AND HE WHO HUMBLES HIMSELF WILL BE EXALTED.”

As you know by now a parable (parabole) means laying along side. We lay along side the story and find ourselves in it. Luke called this a parable, but seems more a lesson in etiquette. No. Jesus used it to teach humility, not etiquette. The point is self aggrandizement always brings humiliating results.

Jesus saw the Pharisees jockeying for positions of honor to establish their pecking order. It would be a circular type table with the most important person being somehow central. On his sides would be the next of importance then the next with the least important away from the central.

We get confused about the meaning of humility. We think it’s to degrade and berate ourselves. No. Then we’d struggle with a healthy self-image. You’re not a worm. You’re a child of God. C.S. Lewis said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” That’s pretty good, but doesn’t sum up Jesus’ teaching.

Jesus at one moment talked about a host of an event humbling us. The next moment it’s much deeper and seems he’s talking about God humbling us and that’s the parabole. It’s not simply someone humbling us. It’s God using someone to humble us. If you’re ever humbled, evenhumiliated like this, don’t get upset with the host. Realize, God’s attempting to help you before you ruin yourself. Humiliation can be a good thing when we see God in it and not the devil.

Proverbs 16:18 says Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Years ago, I was invited to a dinner at a country club setting. I was seated at the table of a congressman. He made constant references to his greatness, embarrassed some at the table, and summoned comments from those around the table. I enjoyed being there listening to someone this well known, but I remember thinking, “You certainly love yourself.” It was amazing when a server accidentally dumped a plate of food in his lap. He really showed himself. He was nearly voted out the next election and knowing he would be the next, didn’t run. Beware when you seek affirmation from people. When we make an issue of our greatness, we are about to be humiliated and humbled.Those who applaud you today will vote you out tomorrow.

Do you remember the song and lyrics by Mac Davis “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way…” It’s a dangerous place to be. Though only a song, it was dangerous for Mac.”Winston Churchill was once asked, ‘Doesn’t it thrill you to know that every time you make a speech, the hall is packed to overflowing?’ ‘It’s quite flattering,’ replied Sir Winston. ‘But whenever I feel that way, I always remember that if instead of making a political speech I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.”‘ Isn’t that the truth! I have learned to take flattering compliments as a warning to not get puffed up instead of an accolade of greatness. Those who have applauded me the loudest might hang me today if they could. Don’t seek the praise of people. Seek the smile of God and this includes humility.

Luke 14:12-14 Then Jesus SAID TO HIS HOST, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will BE REPAID. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although THEY CANNOT REPAY YOU, you will BE REPAID at theRESURRECTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS.”

Of course, people today are not like this. Aren’t you happy we are not this way today? I’m so happy people changed and fixed this in the 2,000 years since Jesus said it. (I’m being facetious.) People today are as bad if not worse than then. There’s nothing wrong with having friends over or doing nice things for friends, but when we do something for people who can’t repay us we have an opportunity to receive a reward from God. It’s do we want to be repaid by people, or be blessed by God?

How many of us have ever purposefully done what Jesus taught here? Have you ever intentionally invited people you had no real connection with and probably didn’t enjoy being around, but included them into a gathering you held? What a foreign thought! But, here’s the kicker, ever thought doing, or not doing, this would have something to do with your resurrection?

As I evaluated myself concerning this, I was ashamed and shaken. Ashamed at the few times I did something for people knowing they could never repay me. Shaken at the thought it was connected with my resurrection and the blessings of God in my life. How about you? Usually people leverage what they do for something in return. Then we feel leveraged and feel we must reciprocate. We turn people into projects. How about when we do something for God? Do we expect something from God in return? God becomes a project? Why is it people can’t just do good with no ulterior motive? Therein is the blessing of God now and in the resurrection.

What do I want you to know today? What do I want you to do? (1) Don’t be judgmental of anyone. When you catch yourself judging ask, “How would I feel if this was me or my friend?” You’ll find your judgmental rules will change. (2) Aggrandizement is dangerous. Guard your humility. When you catch yourself aggrandizing yourself, watch out. You’re about to be hung-out and it won’t be people doing it. It’s God helping you. (3) You need to do things for people who cannot repay you. Realize there is a far, far greater payback.

Luke 14:14 Although they cannot repay you, YOU WILL BE REPAID AT THE RESURRECTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS.

This week we will all likely have opportunities to do something for someone they cannot pay back. Don’t miss the opportunity. Make God smile.

Other Related Sermons:

The Resurrection Proofed – Easter sermon video audio notes

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/201236-true-humility-is-not-thinking-less-of-yourself-it-is