Helping the Humble

Posted: June 26, 2017 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 14:1-14, “Helping the Humble”

Common sayings that are never found in the Bible:

  • “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”  It’s a great idea to bathe, but it isn’t a Biblical admonition, nor a sin if you miss a shower or keep a messy room.
  • “Money is the root of all evil.”  This quotation actually falls short.  It is “The love of money” which is the root of all evil. (1 Tim 6:10)  Money is simply a tool.
  • “The lion shall lay down with the lamb.”  The idea is true for the Millennial Kingdom, but the imagery is incorrect.  Scripturally speaking it is the “wolf” that dwells with the lamb. (Isa 11:6, 65:25)
  • “God does not give you more than you can bear.”  Commonly quoted, but blatantly false.  There are many circumstances that we endure that we can’t handle.  We absolutely need the strength of Christ, or we will fail!  The Scripture actually tells us that God will not allow us “to be tempted beyond what you are able.” (1 Cor 10:13)  Big difference!
  • “God helps those who help themselves.”  This last one is worse than all the rest, if for no other reason than it is anti-gospel.  Yes, the Bible does promote the idea of personal responsibility for our actions, but praise God that He most certainly does help those who cannot help themselves…because none of us can help ourselves!  If we could help ourselves in terms of our salvation, there would have been no reason to send Jesus to the cross.  It’s because we were hopeless that we were given the hope of Christ!

With that in mind, think over our text. It begins with Jesus helping a man who was unable to help himself, and ends with Jesus instructing others to do the same.  Jesus personally demonstrates compassion towards the helpless and humble, and we as Jesus’ followers & disciples are supposed to do likewise.

Contextually, Luke has shown increasing conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees (and other religious rulers), the most recent taking place over a different Sabbath day healing, when Jesus loosed a woman from her physical and spiritual bondage.  The leader of the synagogue at the time showed no compassion towards his sister in the faith, which called his own “faith” into question.  Jesus later made it clear that the kingdom would come in unexpected ways, including unexpected people…and some people who thought they would be there will actually be cast out.  It is the last who would be first, and the first who would be last.  Guess which category most likely included the Pharisees and religious elite?  These were the same sorts of people that had always persecuted the prophets of God, just like they were doing with Jesus.  It wasn’t surprising, but it was still sad.  Jesus longed that all would humble themselves under the protection & provision of God, but many still chose to rebel & go their own way.

That brings us to our current text.  Some of the best stories happen over supper, and things were no different in ancient Judea.  People would gather for meals, and there was no telling what might happen.  That was the case on another Sabbath day when Jesus was invited as a guest to the home of a Pharisee.  He wasn’t the only person invited that day, and what followed was surely nothing as the Pharisee had originally intended.  A scandal broke out, which led the way for some parables and teaching.  People had come to the meal with expectations about themselves and their own kingdom worth; Jesus would demonstrate something very different.  He had come for the humble, and those who follow Him needed to have the same mind.

Luke 14:1–14

  • Setting: healing at supper (1-6)

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.

  • Right off the bat, we notice several things that might stand out.  (1) Where it took place: the home of a Pharisee.  In fact, it was more than that – it was “thou house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees.”  This was an elite among religious elite.  We are not told the name of this man, but no doubt he would have been well-known in his community.  (2) Who was there: “they watched Him closely.”  This was no private meeting, such as what took place between Jesus and Nicodemus early on in Jesus’ ministry.  This was a semi-public event.  Yes, it took place in a private home, but this was a dinner party with more than one invitee.  Jesus may have been the guest-of-honor (perhaps?), but others were present as witnesses.  (3) When it took place: “on the Sabbath.”  It was common for people to have large meals on the Sabbath, just as it is commonplace (or used to be) for people to have large Sunday dinners after church.  But the Sabbath day timeframe is contextually important for Luke, as the last time the Sabbath was mentioned, it was regarding another miraculous healing from Jesus.
  • So put it together.  There is a ruler among the Pharisees who invited Jesus to his home, along with several others for a Sabbath day meal & gathering.  They were watching Him with sharp intent & scrutiny for a reason: something was up.  The group had planned something, and they were waiting to see Jesus’ reaction.  This was a trap, plain & simple.  It would have been the perfect setup for the Pharisees, except for one thing: they were dealing with the Son of God.  How can someone sneak up on Someone who knows everything?  They were dealing with the all-knowing, all-wise, omnipotent Son of God.  It is impossible to catch Him in a trap!
  • But try they did, and it was sprung with the arrival of another guest.  Vs. 2…

2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy.

  • Although it’s possible that this man simply showed up, it seems more likely that he had been invited/instructed to come.  After all, Jesus was under close watch by the people who were present, so they were expecting something to happen.  This man was that something.
  • We don’t use the term “dropsy” anymore; the more common term is edema – a swelling of bodily tissue (usually in the legs and feet) brought on by too much fluid.  There are several things that can cause edema, ranging from blood clots in inflamed veins to heart failure, kidney disease, or cirrhosis of the liver, and more.  In some cases, it could be nothing more than water retention, but other cases can be very serious, requiring medical attention.
  • What was it for this man?  We don’t know.  Although Luke was a physician, he wasn’t present at the time, and he may not have been able to give a proper diagnosis even if he had been there.  Jesus, however, was there.  He knew precisely what was going on with the man (in addition to what was going on in the minds of the Pharisees), and Jesus was not content to let this man be treated as bait or a test subject. 

3 And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 4 But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go.

  • Again, Jesus wasn’t fooled.  He knew precisely what was going on.  This was a sting operation set up by the religious lawyers (the scribes).  We don’t have a transcript of every word spoken in the room that day, but one can easily imagine Jesus taking one look at the sick man, looking back at the lawyers & Pharisees & asking this question without any other statement made.  Jesus didn’t need to inquire about the extent of the illness, get any sort of medical background to determine if there was an emergency at hand.  He didn’t even need to say “hello.”  It was obvious this was a set-up, and Jesus wasn’t deterred in the slightest.  He asked the religious lawyers what was authorized on the Sabbath, and went from there.
  • Question: Why did Jesus ask?  Wouldn’t He have already known what was/wasn’t legal to do on the Sabbath?  Of course.  Not only does Jesus have perfect knowledge of the Scripture (which is inspired by God the Holy Spirit), but Jesus has perfect knowledge of the laws and traditions of men.  And the difference between those two things was really the point.  The law of Moses as recorded in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy did not forbid the healing of this man.  Any objections (if they existed) were in the traditions of men that had been added to the Scriptures. 
  • Objection: “But even the Scripture says that no work should be done.  The 4th Commandment is clear that there are six days for labor, but the Sabbath is set apart for rest.  This wasn’t a dire emergency.  Couldn’t Jesus have waited a few more hours before He healed the man?  Even in the miracle, it was still a work of God.”  Go back to the foundational principle.  Why was rest required on the Sabbath?  It was for the Hebrew to affirm his/her trust in God as Provider, Covenant-King, and Creator.  What better trust in God could be demonstrated than receiving a healing from God the Son?  More than that – ultimately the rest of God points to the salvation provided by Jesus & His resurrection.  Jesus performing miraculous healings on the Sabbath is a clear testimony of the rest that only He provides – one blessed by Almighty God.  Even with all that being considered, keep in mind that this was by no means the first time Jesus healed on the Sabbath.  The New Testament records at least 7 Sabbath day healings, not all of them being set up by the Pharisees as traps.  If this was evidence of habitual law-breaking, no one would have followed Jesus…He would have been easily dismissed as a false Christ.  But that wasn’t the case.  Not only is Jesus, as the Messiah, Lord of the Sabbath (Lk 6:5), but could never be credibly accused of violating the Sabbath.  He Himself is the fulfillment of it!
  • It’s no wonder that lawyers and Pharisees “kept silent.”  They had nothing to say because they had no case.  Their entrapment scheme crumbled right before their eyes, and they were left with nothing but silent shame.
    • Have you ever gotten caught in something that you knew was wrong?  You may have wanted to win the argument, but you still knew you were on the losing side.  Such was the case with those lawyers and Pharisees.  We may have been in their shoes, but we can do something different.  Instead of shutting down and going silent, we can confess our sin & shameful attitude to the Lord, asking His forgiveness.  Born-again Christians have no reason to live in guilt & shame…there is cleansing in Christ! 
  • Obviously more needed to be said that day, but Jesus first took care of the most important business: healing the man with edema/dropsy.  Jesus wasn’t going to use him as a pawn in a theological debate (unlike the Pharisees), so He healed the man & sent him on his way.
    • Quick note: Luke barely spends any time on the healing.  It was an amazing miracle, but it was no big deal for Jesus.  He didn’t need light shows, loud music, or other theatrics to work miracles; He just did what needed to be done.  People who make a spectacle out of healings are drawing attention to themselves; not Christ.  If the focus was truly on Jesus, it would be on the proclamation of His gospel.  All the rest is simply the platform that puts Jesus front & center.

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.

  • Depending what Bible translation you have, the examples Jesus uses might say “a son or an ox,” rather than “a donkey or an ox.”  Strictly speaking, the oldest manuscripts have “son,” but there are some very old & important manuscripts that say “donkey.”  The abbreviated words in the Greek in which they were written would look very similar, but the meanings are vastly different!  It’s difficult to say which of the two is original, considering the context – but the overall point is basically the same.  If life is at stake on the Sabbath, then steps are taken to ensure that life is preserved.  Granted, the urgency of the situation drastically changes whether a farmer’s livestock has fallen into a pit, versus his beloved child – but either way, people do what need to be done to save life.
  • A similar point had been made in Ch. 13 in regards to the woman who had been bent over for 18 years.  If animals could be untied in order to be led to water, then why couldn’t a woman be unbound from Satanic and physical attacks?  Life matters to the Lord Almighty – both in quantity and quality.  Would the woman have lived another 18 years?  Perhaps…but now she could live it upright (literally), and praising God.  Likewise with this man.  Could his condition have waited another day?  Certainly.  And if the Pharisees hadn’t drug this man before Jesus at the Sabbath day dinner, it’s quite possible that Jesus would have healed the man after the Sabbath came a close.  The Pharisees and lawyers were the ones who insisted on pushing the point, and Jesus wasn’t about to be intimidated.  Jesus came so that people may have life, and to have it more abundantly. (Jn 10:10)  The opportunity for this had presented itself to this man, and Jesus wasn’t about to deny him that.
    • God cares far more about people than our own theological preferences.  Not that doctrine doesn’t matter to the Lord; it does!  Doctrine matters tremendously!  Jesus made it clear that He came to fulfill the law, and not one jot or tittle (dot or decorative mark) would pass from the law until all was fulfilled. (Mt 5:18)  God values His word so much that He magnifies it according to, or even above His own name. (Ps 138:2)  Yes, doctrine matters to God.  Our own theological lenses through which we interpret His word & doctrine?  Not so much.  When our theology matches with God’s truth, wonderful!  When our theology is infected by our traditions, preferences, point-of-views, etc., then we’re going to have to expect our world to get rocked a bit.  When our theology places legalism above people, we have a problem.  When our religion picks ritual at the expense of relationship, we have a problem.  We can claim to be pious all we want, but when we start looking at people as tools rather than individuals for whom Jesus died, then our piety isn’t worth all that much.
  • The Pharisees and lawyers understood Jesus perfectly, and they fell silent for the second time that day.  They had no answer for Him.  They had presented Him with a trap, and He responded not only with compassion towards the man who needed it most, but with undeniable truth regarding the heart of the law of God.
  • This presented a tremendous teachable moment, and Jesus wasn’t about to pass it up…
  • Parable: humility at supper (7-11)

7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:

  • How many people had been invited to the home of the Pharisee, we’re not told.  Since he was one of the rulers of the Pharisees, it can be reasonably assumed that he had a large enough residence to accommodate many people.  Who these people were, is another question.  Obviously some were Pharisees and lawyers.  But was that all?  It’s impossible to say.  The most important thing is that Jesus knew who they were, and that no matter what position they held in their religious culture, they still had much to learn.  Not only had they invited a sick man to the party for the sole purpose of being used as a trap for Jesus, but once there, they were all looking out for themselves.  Culturally, to seek the best seats & “best places” was to engage in a bit of self-promotion, and the promotion of “self” always gets us into trouble.
    • How much of our culture is consumed with self?  Self-improvement, self-esteem, self-promotion, self-obsession!  We’ve even coined a new word that captures our love for ourselves: “selfies.”  What was rare prior to 2010 with the development of the front-facing camera on the iPhone has become commonplace.  A 2015 study calculated that the average Millennial will take over 25,000 selfies over the course of his/her lifetime. (http://www.ibtimes.com/millennials-selfies-young-adults-will-take-more-25000-pictures-themselves-during-2108417)  That’s a lot of self-focus!
    • What does the Bible say about self?  Not much that’s good!  When it comes to self, we have all sinned & fallen short. (Rom 3:23)  Our hearts lie to us, being deceitful and vain. (Jer 17:9)  Our works lie to us, in that the best we can do regarding righteousness is still like defiled rags in comparison with God. (Isa 64:6)  In ourselves, we have nothing to offer. What makes the change is the love of God!  It is Someone else who changes us: the Lord Jesus. 
  • Instead of looking out for themselves, what should the people have done?  Look out for others.  After all, that’s what Jesus did.  Before entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the same sort of self-interest seen at the Pharisee’s house had arisen among Jesus’ disciples, and James & John wanted to have the best seats – not just for that night’s dinner, but for the entirety of the Millennial Kingdom, requesting to sit next to Jesus.  Jesus’ response put everything in perspective.  Mark 10:42–45, "(42) But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. (43) Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. (44) And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. (45) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”"  We are supposed to seek out someone’s best interest, but it’s not our own; it’s others.  Think of the two greatest commandments: (1) Love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, (2) love your neighbor as yourself.  Both commandments are outward focused.  It was seeking out for himself that caused Satan to fall.  It was seeking out for themselves that caused Adam & Eve to fall.  Egotistical self-interest is a sure road to sin.  Sacrificial service is walking in the footsteps of Christ.
  • As for the people at the dinner party, Jesus tells a parable to illustrate His point…

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.

  • Today, formal dinner parties often have assigned seating, with nameplates marking where people are to sit.  Obviously that wasn’t always the case.  People would arrive, choosing their own seat, with the seats nearest the host being the best ones.  We still see this today at events like formal fundraisers, where a line of tables is at the front of the room, and the most important speakers are placed next to the podium.
  • In the parable, Jesus gives the example of a terrible faux-pas.  You walk in, choose the seat right next to the host (thinking you deserve it), only to have the host come to you & ask you to move for someone else.  You’d go from being at the head of the line, to being at the kiddie-table.  It’d be embarrassing and shameful…and it could have all been averted.  Vs. 10…

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.”

  • Instead of going to the highest place, go to the “lowest.”  At that point, the host will see that you’ve been seated incorrectly, and he/she will raise you to the appropriate spot.  You would have erred on the side of caution, and instead of experiencing embarrassment, you’ll be exalted.
  • Question: Is Jesus really giving etiquette lessons?  Or is He instructing ways for people to manipulate their social statuses?  Of course not.  The way the people at the Pharisee’s house had acted for themselves simply provided a setting for Jesus to give a quick lesson about humility.  They had looked out for their own self-interests, without giving any thought to the welfare of others (i.e. the man with dropsy).  Jesus will address the second part of this in a bit, but the first part is what He addresses through the parable.  The parable isn’t about how to get the best dinner seat; it’s about humility.  It’s not about trying to manipulate yourself into exaltation & social-status; it’s about truly putting yourself aside and trusting God to take control.  Think of it: if you put yourself at the best seat, what is it?  Self-promotion.  If you put yourself down in order to call attention to yourself to get the best seat, what is it?  Self-promotion, though indirectly.  Either way it’s works-based self-focus.  The point of the parable to get your focus off of yourself & your efforts, and wait for exaltation to be done to you. 
  • Although this does sometimes take place among men, ultimately it is done by God.  We lower ourselves, acknowledging our sin; He lifts us up, exalting us in Christ.  We humble ourselves; He lifts us higher.  James 4:10, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."  Our example in this?  None other than the Lord Jesus!  Jesus humbled Himself to the lowest possible position, going from the glories of heaven to coming as a slave in the likeness of men.  He humbled Himself to the point of torturous death on the cross, allowing Himself to be treated like a criminal, and taking on all the sin of all the world.  Yet what was the result?  Philippians 2:9–11, "(9) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, (11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  Exaltation to infinite degree!  No one will ever be exalted higher than Jesus!  Jesus didn’t merely teach the words of this parable; He lived them.
  • So that was part 1 of the problem among the dinner party: getting their focus off themselves.  Part 2 was to get it upon others…
  • Teaching: who to invite to supper (12-14)

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.

  • At this point, Jesus gives less of a parable & more of a straightforward teaching.  This isn’t an imagined dinner in which a person has already chosen where to sit, and dealt with the host.  Instead, this is something that any one of the people in front of Jesus might eventually do.  At some point, each of them would go on to give their own dinner party, and they would make out their own invitation lists.  This was very practical teaching for them.  That said, that wasn’t the only thing Jesus was teaching, nor even the main point.  Again, Jesus isn’t taking on the role of an ancient Martha Stewart in instructing people on social etiquette & party-planning; He’s teaching people about humility & service.  That sort of context is crucially important, as it guides our interpretation.
  • Remember that we want to interpret the Bible literally, but that doesn’t mean we interpret it woodenly.  A proper literal interpretation is to interpret it according to its grammatical, historical, and literary context; not to simply rip the words from the page & rob them of their meaning.  That’s a bit easier to do with obvious metaphors, such as when Jesus says that He is the door of the sheepfold (Jn 10:7,9).  But even here, there is a context in which Jesus speaks, and it becomes really important.  How do we interpret passages that say we shouldn’t invite our friends & family to supper?  Are we literally to forbid them from coming to parties?  Of course not.  The people Jesus mentions are the primary people most of us would invite, and rightly so.  It’s only natural for us to invite people we love & value most.  So how should we interpret Jesus’ words?  As they are: hyperbole.  A hyperbole is an extreme example used to make a point.  “I told you a million times…  I’m so hungry, I’m starving… I’m buried with work to do…”  Likewise here.  “Do not ask your friends,” etc., is the extreme example.  That is the figure of speech.  He sets up one extreme here, in order to make His point stand out.  Who are the friends & family contrasted with?  The humble…

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.”

  • This is especially interesting in light of who Jesus said this to.  Vs. 12: “Then He also said this to him who invited Him…”  The ruler of the Pharisees had invited one man who might have been included in Jesus’ list, but it was apparent that the man with dropsy was only a pawn.  The Pharisee had filled his home with his own friends who were intent on watching Jesus for the slightest mistake, and his only regard for those who were hurting was that of contempt.  For the host, the man with dropsy was an afterthought; Jesus made it clear that his priorities were misplaced.
  • As to the teaching, instead of invited the expected, who should be invited?  The unexpected.  Instead of inviting those who can do something for you in return, invite those who can do nothing.  Seek out the least, the forgotten, the humble.  Seek out those who cannot help themselves, much less you in repayment.  Invite the least, in order that they may be blessed.  After all, that’s what Jesus does with us.  What can we offer Him?  Nothing, except our love & praise.  We certainly can’t give God something He doesn’t already own.  We can’t offer Him a history of our righteous acts, for we have none.  When it comes to eternal things that really matter, we arethe poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.”  And yet Jesus invited us to the marriage supper of the Lamb!  He invited us to the very best place & position of honor – to join Him as His co-heirs for all of eternity.  He reached out to the least, for the least was us.
  • So we are to do likewise.  Instead of self-promotion, we should engage in service.  And even in our service, we’re still to beware of self-promotion and take care to serve those who cannot serve us in return.  Reach out to those who cannot repay.  Give gifts to people who can only receive.  That’s the point that we’re giving like Jesus.  As Christians, we are to be Christ-like.  Jesus gave selflessly to people who didn’t deserve it (us).  Go and do likewise.
    • “But this sounds so radical!”  It is. J  Again, keep in mind that Jesus is still using exaggeration here.  It’s not that every dinner party you throw from now on needs to be filled with total strangers from the hospital ward & the street; that’s not the point.  But we shouldn’t be blind to them, either.  The Pharisee had treated the man with dropsy as a pawn; not a person.  The sick man was a tool to be used against Jesus; not a true guest.  Jesus saw them both as individuals.  The man with dropsy needed healing, so Jesus gave it.  The ruler of the Pharisees needed humbling, so Jesus gave that, too. J  Sometimes we need a bit of radical teaching to help us get our priorities straight.
    • Some of this may be exaggeration, but keep in mind that all exaggeration is based in truth.  What would it look like for you to bless a total stranger who is unable to repay you?  It’d look a lot like Jesus! Maybe you see someone who’s hungry, so you buy him dinner.  Maybe you know of a family who’s struggling, so you bring by some groceries.  Maybe someone on your block has some home repair issues, so you go help them fix it.  Look around.  Maybe you have the chance to be the hands & feet of Jesus to someone.  Go do it.  You’ll find you have no better platform from which to share the gospel.  You will have put actions to your words, and your love will be tangible.  We need more tangible Christians.
  • Keep in mind that although strangers might not be able to repay, God can.  There will be a “resurrection of the just.”  Jesus spent much of Chapter 12 speaking about the future judgment that people will face, and how many folks simply aren’t ready.  Those who reject Jesus as Lord – those who aren’t able to discern the signs of the time & thus repent, putting their faith in Christ will face a final judgment, but that will be different than the one mentioned here.  There are two future resurrections: one for the just & one for the wicked. John 5:28–29, "(28) Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice (29) and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."  The wicked (those who reject Jesus) will be raised at the very end of the Millennial Kingdom to face the final judgment of God at His great white throne. (Rev 20:11-12)  But there is also a resurrection for the just (those who do have faith in Jesus).  It is actually split into two parts: the initial resurrection which takes place at virtually the same moment of the rapture (1 Ths 4:16-17), and what takes place after the Great Tribulation right as the Millennial Kingdom begins. (Rev 20:4-5)  It is with the resurrection of the just that Jesus speaks of the idea of reward.  This is the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10), during which we will be rewarded for the things we did as born-again Christians.  At that point, all of the things we did selflessly for Christ & the glory of God will be “repaid” and rewarded by our Lord & King.
    • The point?  Don’t seek the reward of men; seek the reward of God.  What men give is temporary.  Money is spent, power fades, gifts rot, etc.  Only God gives reward that lasts eternally.  Seek the things of God, and let your contentment be in the reward that He gives you.  The very best reward?  Just as He was to Abraham, those who have saving faith in Christ find Jesus to be our “exceedingly great reward!” (Gen 15:1)

Conclusion:
It was quite a dinner party…and it wasn’t even over!  There was still more teaching to come as people had more to learn.  For now, the lesson was regarding humility.  Faced with a set-up on a Sabbath day, Jesus turned everything around unexpectedly.  He graciously helped the man who could not help himself (on the day that no one expected Jesus to help him).  And Jesus showed how everyone else in the room was supposed to do the same thing.  They were to be humble, and they were to help the humble.

We can get so self-focused & self-obsessed in our culture, and (especially as Christians) we need to beware the danger.  Our Lord didn’t come to exalt Himself; He came to serve us and exalt His Heavenly Father.  In the process, His Father did exalt Him, giving Him the name above every name.  That’s our example – that’s our model.

Some of us have been self-consumed as of late.  We’ve sought out our own interests to the exclusion of others, and we’ve forgotten what it means to serve.  Putting others ahead of ourselves may sound radical, but it’s Biblical.  If more Christians get back to doing what the Bible says to do, we might find that more people are willing to hear what the Bible says for us to tell them about Jesus.  Christians who act like Christ present a powerful testimony.

Others of us need to be reminded of our own humble dependence upon Jesus.  Who are we, but the lame, the poor, the maimed?  Just like the man with dropsy was totally dependent upon Jesus for healing, so are we totally dependent upon Him for salvation.  We cannot help ourselves; it is Jesus who must help us…and that is exactly what He offers to do!

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