Luke 14:1 ¶ And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
Luke 14:2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
Luke 14:3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
Luke 14:4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
Luke 14:5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
Luke 14:6 And they could not answer him again to these things.
This chapter opens with Luke relating an incident that is similar to one from the previous chapter in which Jesus heals someone on the Sabbath. This time He sees a man suffering from dropsy, an unnatural buildup of fluid in some part of the body causing swelling, as He is headed into the house of a Pharisee that has invited Him to eat. Evidently, other lawyers and Pharisees were also invited. Aware of the expectation of those around Him, Jesus “answered,” He began to speak in light of their expectation. He poses the question of whether or not it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. They, of course, could not answer Him without indicting themselves, so they stayed silent. Jesus goes on to heal the man and once again draws attention to the truth that they would without hesitation rescue an ass or an ox that had fallen into a pit. The implication—so surely you would help a fellow man. They were left speechless.
Once again, as with the crippled woman from the previous chapter, Jesus is making the point that humans are more important than animals and that the Sabbath was never intended to bring harm to man. It was established for his benefit.
The Sabbath was originally established as a day of rest to benefit man.
Exodus 23:12 “Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.”
The prophet Isaiah reveals a little more of God’s heart concerning the Sabbath.
Isaiah 56:4 “For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant….”
Isaiah 58:13–14 “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
The Sabbath day was set apart as one in which to honor God. It is a day during which one was to deny self and delight to do the things that please God. We know that it pleases God for us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Leviticus 19:18 “…thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”
In no uncertain terms God declares that His purpose for the Sabbath is for men to honor Him as they get physically and spiritually refreshed. He is pleased when we show our love to others by helping those in need spiritually, emotionally and/or physically. Jesus is definitely acting in accordance with God’s wishes through His miracles of healing.
Luke 14:7 ¶ And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
Luke 14:8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
Luke 14:9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
Luke 14:10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
Luke 14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luke now transitions to Jesus telling a parable that appears to connect to the previous incident on the subject of comparative importance. Jesus had observed how the guests at the dinner sought to take the seats regarded as most honored. He uses the example of a wedding feast, and advises that one bidden to such a feast should not choose a seat in the area reserved for those considered most honored. If you do, you might find yourself asked to move to a less honored position to make room for someone the host deems more deserving of the seat. Instead, take a seat in one of the lower areas and allow the host to determine whether you should be seated in the section reserved for guests of honor. If he so chooses, it will actually accord you more honor than having chosen the seat on your own.
Principle: The arrogant will be humbled and the humble will be honored. The reference is to those who are truly humble—not false humility with an ulterior motive. The parables of Jesus were always directed toward using real life situations to teach spiritual truths. Though this truth seems to be in contradiction to the way that the world in which we live operates, the application to our eternal future is sure.
JFB pointed out that Jesus’ teaching mirrored the teaching of Solomon in Proverbs.
Proverbs 25:6–7 “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”
David Guzik pointed out that Jesus provided the ultimate example of the truth of His teaching.
Philippians 2:5–11 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Luke 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
Luke 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
Luke 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
In part two of His teaching, Jesus turns His attention from the guests to the host. He encourages the host to sometimes invite those at the lower levels of society—the poor, the handicapped, the lame and the blind. If you always invite friends, relatives and the influential, your reward will come from reciprocal invitations. If you invite those who cannot reciprocate your invitation, you will receive a greater reward from the Lord—spiritual treasure that will benefit you for eternity.
Again, I think in context the encouragement is to do the right thing from a right heart attitude—not with an ulterior motive.
I think it is important to note that Jesus makes reference to being rewarded at “the resurrection of the just,” those who are in right standing with God. Only those in right standing with God can qualify for such reward.
Luke 14:15 ¶ And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
At least one of those present was making a spiritual connection with what Jesus was teaching. After hearing the parable, he voices how blessed will be those that get to fellowship in the kingdom of God.
The prophet Isaiah gave the clearest Old Testament prophecy concerning the coming kingdom of the Messiah.
Isaiah 9:6–7 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
Luke 14:17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
Luke 14:18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
Luke 14:19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
Luke 14:20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
Luke 14:21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. 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 hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
Luke 14:22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
Luke 14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Luke 14:24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
Instead of giving a hearty “Amen!” to the man’s statement, Jesus poses another parable that was meant to make them examine their hearts in light of their expectations.
Jesus tells the story of “a certain man” who invited many to come to a great supper. When the time came and the meal prepared, he sent his servant out to declare that it was time to come; supper was ready. All of a sudden the people who were invited began making excuses as to why they could not come—excuses related to business and family responsibilities. When the servant reported to his master, it made him very angry. He then sent his servant to go throughout the city and bring in the poor, handicapped, lame and blind. The servant obeyed and reported that there were still plenty of available seats. So, the master sent him out again and told him to go further abroad and implore as many as he could to come fill the house. He was determined that none of those who were originally bidden would ever get to taste his supper.
My application: In context, the people to whom Jesus was speaking should have understood that He was making an application to the Messianic Kingdom. God had issued a personal invitation to the Jewish people to follow Him in obedience and enjoy the blessings of submitting to Him as Lord. The Jewish people, especially their leaders, proved themselves to be far more concerned with the things of this world rather than the things of God. So what does God do? He sends out His servant (the Holy Spirit) to invite the poor and needy, those who were willing to admit their need and respond to His invitation. Still there was room. Finally, the Lord sends the Spirit out to the world, the Gentiles, to urge them to respond to His invitation. The sad conclusion: Those who were originally invited and rejected the invitation would not be permitted in the kingdom.
Obviously, Jesus was not teaching that all Jews would be excluded from the kingdom. He was, however, declaring that there were many who would be expecting to get in the kingdom that would not. Only those who humbled themselves before Him as Lord would get to enter.
This teaching ties in perfectly with Jesus’ teaching in the previous chapter.
Luke 13:28–29 “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 14:25 ¶ And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Luke tells us that at this point in time there were “great multitudes” following Jesus. His actions show that He is not just seeking popularity. He wants the people to know that to follow Him necessitates complete submission to Him as Lord. They must consider serving Him more important than any other earthly relationship or responsibility. Only those who commit to Him completely as Lord can be His disciples.
This is a very hard but important teaching. We know that scripture teaches that to follow Jesus as Lord includes being responsible and taking care of our family…
Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother….”
Isaiah 58:5–7 “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
…but as a wife and Mom, I can sadly relate to loving my family so much that it is easy to use them as an excuse for not serving and/or growing in my relationship to the Lord. He does not want us to neglect our family responsibilities, but He wants us to act in submission to Him in meeting those responsibilities. Too often we are tempted to act in accordance with the world’s expectations rather than according to the expectations of God as declared in His word. Again, I have made many such mistakes—and you can’t ever do it over. You can only choose to do better going forward. I have had to apologize to my kids countless times when I reflect in retrospect for many wrong choices made on their behalf. Graciously, they are often quick to point out what we have all learned through the process and how that is helping them to do better.
The truth of verse 27 is one that we don’t like to think about. Jesus declares that to follow Him will require one to “bear his cross” in service and obedience to Him. Immediately, this brings to mind suffering. When I looked at the Greek, it stood out to me that much of this suffering would come in the form of self-denial. I have found that to be one of the hardest traits to cultivate in my own life. We are surrounded by a culture that promotes a focus on self. We are encouraged to focus on the rights and desires of self regardless of how the resultant actions impact others. Only through complete submission to the Lord and the empowerment of His Spirit can we hope to deny self and follow Him in faith and obedience.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Luke 14:29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Luke 14:30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Luke 14:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
Luke 14:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Jesus now uses two examples to illustrate the truth He is teaching.
If you intend to construct a tower, you will first sit down and determine the total cost—materials, labor, etc.—and whether or not you have the means to carry out your plan. If you begin before making such preparation, you might find out after laying the foundation that you won’t be able to finish it. This will invite the ridicule of others because it will be obvious that you weren’t properly prepared.
When a king is faced with the prospect of war, he always assesses his resources to determine the best plan of action. If it is determined that he does not have enough resources to go to war, he will opt to send an ambassador to negotiate the conditions for peace.
Jesus is saying that following Him requires the same type of consideration. He is saying that to follow Him you must forsake all and submit to Him as Lord of your life. In light of that consideration—Are you still willing?
Luke 14:34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
Luke 14:35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
We know that salt is widely used as a preservative and to enhance the flavor of food. Salt that no longer tastes salty is no longer useful except to be thrown out.
The context seems to call for a comparison of the salt to the person who wants to follow Jesus. Salt is expected to be salty; those who follow Jesus are expected to follow Him as Lord in denial of self. I think the thought here is similar to the message given to the church at Laodicea in Revelation.
Revelation 3:15 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.”
Jesus wants our all!
He urges all with ears to hear and understand. Obviously, all have ears—but not all will hear with understanding. It is the attitude of the heart that affects our hearing, our actions.
Acts 28:27 “For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
2 Chronicles 12:14 “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”
Matthew 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”