Scripture Notes on Luke 14

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.  For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”  When one of those who reclined at table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God!”  But He said to him…” -Luke 14:13-16a

Jesus has a way of making people feel uncomfortable.

Here He is at a banquet, and He proceeds to tell the man who’s throwing the party that what he really should do is host a feast for the less fortunate.  This is awkward not only because that’s obviously not what the man is doing right now, but also because as a leader among the religious group of the Pharisees, this man likely would have thought like many in his day–that the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind were that way because they were sinners.

Helpfully, another dinner guest attempts to change the subject.  “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God,” he says, switching the focus of conversation off of the broken and on to the “good people” who are, conveniently, like most of the guests at the party.

But Jesus switches it back.

Jesus’ next parable emphasizes not only that God’s heart is for the broken and hurting and sinful, but that many of those who think they are “in” but have prioritized other things above the Kingdom are actually not “in” at all.

Why is this good news for you?

It’s good news because when you are broken and hurting and sinful, Jesus’ heart is for you!  It’s also good news because when you are not struggling so much, Jesus’ invitation is for you to be His ambassador to those who are, which means you have a mission and a purpose far greater than yourself!

Here’s the thing though.  Does it make you uncomfortable to be around those less fortunate, less able, less educated, or less moral than you?  Does it make you uneasy to see how much here and elsewhere Jesus emphasizes God’s desire for you to help them?

This is the slavery of self-focused religion, and Jesus wants more for you than that.  He wants to give you the privilege of experiencing the joy of others-centered living, and He knows that works best when you serve those who cannot serve you back.

As you go about your daily life, may you receive the gift of God’s heart for the broken, and may you respond to His calling in practical ways that will lead to their life and yours.  As you do, you’ll discover the hope found in this truth: You can be Jesus to those in need.

-Pastor Phillip