UU A letter of invitation to the kingdom of God

Luke 14:1-24
Isaiah 42:5-9
T On the Sabbath

"And it came about when He went into the house of one of the leaders of Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching Him closely. And there, in front of Him was a certain man suffering from dropsy." (1-2)

Luke takes up a state again that Jesus was invited to the meal by a Pharisee. This is the third article in following of 7:37 and of 11:37. Would it be some conscious this time, as for "on the Sabbath"? The article that cured a sick person on the Sabbath is the third time at this time following from 13:10 and 6:6. "Heal on the Sabbath", it is serious law violation and must not permit it, but Pharisees reproduced that spot and would be going to put reprimand to Jesus, and or would want to put a label, "He is a dangerous person". Therefore, they worked out a minute plan, and it seemed that they set this stage. "They were watching Him closely"; it lets us imagine that the main of Pharisees of Perea gathered there, and there have been a sick person of "the dropsy" in the front of Jesus; it lets us suppose that they would call him there expressly. "They were watching Him closely"; it means that all of them expected that Jesus would surely heal him.

Therefore, Jesus asked to Pharisees and the expert of law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?" (3). This remark of Jesus, it is felt like the challenge of Jesus to the people who says "On the Sabbath, must not do any work!". Therefore, they show no reaction in silence there (4). Because the Sabbatarianism was the center of their teaching, don't you feel it, their air sly coolly saying "We never admit it and we ignore it!"? Would have been Jesus disappointed to them whom nothing answered? There is it, "And He took hold of him, and healed him." (4). As a matter of course, the healed person would want to raise sincere thanks and praise to God, but he was brought back to his house of silently. Jesus would not want to roll up this sick person to the hatred of Pharisees. And He said. "Which one of you shall have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?" (5) Pharisees could answer nothing. They saved their antipathy to Jesus inward, and would have withdrawn for the time being.
What would Luke have wanted to talk, from the event of this Sabbath?


U In the framework of the Gospel

The message of Luke seems to become clear in the advice of Jesus said in the seat, He admonished them "Don't sit down at the head of the table when you are invited to the wedding ceremony". At first, it is the first story. "But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you." (10)@And He said also to the master of the house. "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and repayment come to you. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (12-14) This is the 2nd story. It will be comprehension that these two stories are based on a country of God from each concluding remarks, "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted." (11), "You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (14). The kingdom of God does not have the distinction of higher seat, and the farther seat, and there is not the culture of "the gift in return". It is culture of the rich of human being society. The lifestyle of Pharisees, it likes "the best seat" and expects "a gift in return", and it is the far-off distance of the kingdom of God; but, the kingdom of God is a place that people who "sits down on the back seat", and "cannot expect a gift in return" are gathered together, and we must hear that there is it in the most opposite place from a Pharisee-like thought..

I want to think about the thing, "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humble" put in the center of this message, but this is the thing which Jesus talked about many times (18:14, Matthew 23:12); and this "to exalt oneself" is not "simple modesty", but it says that when a person stands before Holy God, he cannot deny "I am the sinner who must die", and he will be forced to deny his existence value thoroughly. However, can we do such self-abnegation? We cannot but say "no". Please hear the testimony of Paul, here. "Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:6-9) Jesus lowered in front of God in place of us.
Luke will want that you will hear this message in the framework of the Gospel.


V A letter of invitation to the kingdom of God

In the Pharisee who attended there, he seems to be the person who stepped into the Gospel, and heard His story (for a Jew, it is the concept of the kingdom of God). He might be stimulated by a thing of "at the resurrection of the righteous", but he said, "Blessed is everyone who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!" (15). And naturally, he seemed to believe that they, Pharisee, would be included to that righteous (except some heartless people). The meal scenery in the kingdom of God is written down in Isaiah or Psalms. "And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine" (Isaiah 25:6) The chosen people Jews do not doubt that they were the only race invited to that meal, at all. Would Jesus have remembered such a scenery? Jesus began to talk with, "A certain man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; ..." (16-24). "And at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited. 'Come; for everything is ready now.'" (17) However, anyone of invited people states various reasons and is not going to come to the dinner. "I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it" "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out" "I have married a wife" There is a story of Jesus which is thought a same thing, in Matthew (22:1-14); there is it "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business,", and they gave priority to their own profit, and did not pay any attention to the One who invited them (in Matthew, he is a King).

This story refers to the banquet of the kingdom of God really. "At the dinner hour he sent his slave", will not it point at Jesus Himself? "It is the time", Jesus has come to us with a letter of invitation of the kingdom of God, now. However, we continue declining uniformly the holy invitation by saying "we are busy" now. The state of these Pharisees really overlaps with modern us. As for the thing that Jesus asked "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?", if we watch this in the frame of Gospel, will it become more clear that this is a letter of invitation of the kingdom of God (it is to believe Jesus Himself) to Pharisees? However, they refused to answer Him. Replacing with such people, God is going to invite "the poor and crippled and blind and lame". What kind of a letter of invitation of the kingdom of God will be sent to modern us? Please find that letter of invitation from the Bible, and I wish that you can meet it and answer it heartily.



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